• Canaima National Park in Venezuela is the second biggets protected area park in this country
  • Canaima it’s a World Natural Heritage Site declared by UNESCO in 1994.
  • This protected area it’s threatened by illegal mining.

Illegal mining is affecting Canaima National Park in Venezuela, the second largest protected area in the country, and an area of international importance, declared by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site in 1994.

Last October, several journalists and Venezuelan researchers reported an open secret: In Canaima illegal mining was taking place. Such complaints included the Minister of Tourism of the Government of President Maduro, but neither achieved the expected attention from the authorities.

Mining involves the extraction of minerals from the earth. Many of them may have high economic value, such as gold, copper, aluminum, and even diamonds, topaz and rubies.

The practice of mining in national parks is illegal in Venezuela, because the laws of this country and its Bolivarian Constitution expressly prohibited. Mining not only destroys the soil and pollute the water, but also threatens the biodiversity of this internationally important protected area.

The negative consequences of illegal mining on the environment are substantial. Among them is the loss of ecosystems and habitats of animals and plant species as well as soil erosion, water pollution and deforestation. It is also important to note the effects on the health of indigenous people and illegal miners that had contact with the substances used for the extraction of minerals from the soil.

Venezuela’s government has rejected the practice of illegal mining calling it “thousand-headed monster,” but locals say their actions to stop mining are vague or nonexistent, and mining still rampant depredatory according to reports from numerous organizations.

Canaima holds in its territory the Angel Falls, also known by the term Pemon Kerepakupai Shurún vein or Meru. Angel Falls are the highest water falls in the world at 979 meters.

Canaima is sacred land to original indigenous communities and protects the tepuis, natural monuments of international importance, composed of the oldest rocks on the planet, with a singular unique biodiversity in the world.

We need to focus international attention on this issue and pressure the Venezuelan government to take accurate actions to eradicate illegal mining Canaima, because it’s threatening their survival.

Courtesy of the Ministry of Tourism

Courtesy of the Ministry of Tourism

Courtesy of the journalist Valentina Quintero

Courtesy of the journalist Valentina Quintero

Pictures courtesy of: Fotos cortesía de: Valentina Quintero y Ministerio de Turismo de Venezuela