For three days, the indigenous community of Kanaimö closed the airport (landing strip) in Canaima National Park, protesting the destruction and havoc that illegal mining is causing at the riverbend of the Carrao River, part of the Canaima lagoon, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

You can find this video on their youtube channel explaining the situation in full detail.

They demand that Maduro, Arreaza and other government officials  show their faces in Canaima,  and take immediate actions to stop and the ongoing destruction that is currently eating up the national park.

Valentina Quintero – Venezuela’s tourism guru – was quick to spread the news on twitter . She has posted some photos so you can see just a taste of what’s going on – large deforested areas and craters, and you can even see some mining rafts. Andrés Izarra also denounced it on his twitter, (but as always, added his own personal dash of Chavismo Impertinence in the comments), saying “it’s the capitalists fault you see.” Bolivar’s Governor (who the Kanaimó community says is knowledgeable of all these happenings) stated that there was, in fact, ongoing ilegal mining activities in the park.

Nonetheless, Defense Minister Padrino López, lost all face contours in a freak accident, this while he assured the country that there was NO illegal mining in Canaima, that it was in fact eradicated last December. Nothing to see here folks. Move along.

Last Wednesday the Kanaimö community reopened the airport, after a meeting with the Minister of Indigenous People, Aloha Núñez, the Minister of Tourism and the chiefs of REDI and ZODI. The talks have brought forth yet again, another call to set working groups with the community  where they will once again discuss possible solutions to the problem.

What is happening in Canaima is essentially what is happening in all of Venezuela. Armed and very powerful groups, violent feudal lords, PRANES who own their territory and do as they please inside it – be it jails, “peace areas” or mining areas – rule the land. The National Guards simply act as gatekeepers to the hell within. They have neither the manpower nor firepower to face them, and most of the time, they partake in the illegal practices. No amount of workgroups, discussions, “rehabilitation” or “comeflorismo revolucionario” will deal with this problem effectively.

I’ve often wondered what will happen to Venezuela after chavismo has passed, How long will it take for the economy to recover, to rebuild and maintain the infraestructure, to bring our universities up to date, to bring down the homocide numbers. 5, 10, 20 years?

Doesn’t seem that long, because getting Canaima back to its pristine state will take much longer than that.

13 thoughts on “Kanaimö

  1. padrino lópez says it’s all a lie, that the indigenous people of the zone live happily thanks to the bobolution, blah, blah, blah, economic war, dolar today, fascism, and all that bullshit…

    Another case of a mafia so powerful it can overthrow the regime by itself if people are too nosy about its activities.


  2. Well done, Audrey. Thank you for putting together the pieces of yet another he-said, she-said deflection circus that hides the destructive profiteering of a heritage area and surroundings. Good links. The video is really well done, well presented. Nice to see work where the issues take center stage, rather than be interrupted by videography with narcissistic, amateur, or melodramatic flourishes. In fact, there is no videography credits. At least, not on the YouTube version presented. Take note, those with lesser chops and without a product who angle for crowdfunding…

    Como dice la joven Rosi Trotta (4:00): “No existe ninguna autoridad que realice las faenas de control y de requisas….” antes de mencionar todas las exigencias de la comunidad …


  3. “I’ve often wondered what will happen to Venezuela after chavismo has passed, How long will it take for the economy to recover, to rebuild and maintain the infraestructure, to bring our universities up to date, to bring down the homocide numbers. 5, 10, 20 years?”

    More than that, I think; at least a couple generations… lamentablemente.


  4. “Las pistas de aterrizaje del Campo Carrao, Peipa y Sarauraipa estan siendo utilizadas para proveer combistible a los mineros desde La Paragua y El Manteco”

    qué desastre


  5. The whole Gran Sabana environment is extremely delicate in some places, especially the soil.

    IF you travel there you will see many tracks across the veldt, made by folks in 4×4’s (I am unfortunately one of the guilty, before we knew any better). Some of those tracks go back to the 50’s and 60’s and were made when the 4×4’s destroyed the native plant life as they ran over it. To this day, many have not filled in with vegetation since the extremely thin topsoil was rubbed away by tires.

    If the mere passing of hooligans in 4×4’s did this, imagine what gold miners and others are doing.


  6. Well, we have an example. How long Colombia took to have their para-military insurgent groups under control?

    Oh, is still ongoing? Well shit.


  7. Today I saw a news story about a Saudi blogger who has been sentenced to 1,000 lashes for criticizing Islam. In an interview, his wife appealed directly to the King for clemency for her husband.

    So, what does this have to do with Venezuela? Note that in Canaima, the people protesting are appealing directly to Maduro to intervene on their behalf. In both cases, they are not appealing to the prosecutor, the judge, an appellate court, a ministry in charge, or relying upon legal means of any sort. They are appealing directly to the ultimate authority.

    Why? Because even indigenous people in Canaima know that this is a dictatorship!


    • Yes and because it has always been like that in Venezuela. Regular people have always called to the President for help.


  8. This is too painful. Crime, shortages, the exodus, the obliteration of the private economy, all these elements will eventually be fixed and it’s likely some of us will live to see it. But the deforestation of Canaima? Obviously this was meant to happen under Chavismo – it was unavoidable- and yes you might think it’s just a few acres of destroyed jungle, but think again. No one inside the government nor the armed forces give a darn; preservation of natural resources is just way beyond the archaic, medieval, cavemen-like interests of the neanderthals ruling the nation.

    I dare imagine the future of Canaima under Maduro and co. I can only think of Haiti and how it’s forests were completely wiped away, to the point were it’s real shocking to see the Haiti- Dominican border from the air, yes, that which you see every time you take a Caracas-Miami flight. If Chavismo domination extends for a few more decades, you’ll see exactly the same thing when flying from Venezuela to Brazil.


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