Venezuelan Armed Forces Crack Down on Illegal Mining in the Amazonas
Venezuela deployed 5,000 soldiers to the country’s Amazon region this week to address illegal mining and the exploitation of non-renewable resources. The troops successfully dismantled an illegal mine, eight polluting mining ponds, and six camps used by the criminals.
The National Armed Forces of Venezuela conducted their first large-scale military operation in the Venezuelan Amazon, utilizing air, river, and land mobilization. Between February 5 and 7, they dismantled the ponds and camps along the Cunucunuma river in the Duida Marahuaka Park.
The illegal mine was eradicated in the municipality of Atabapo, Amazonas. Soldiers seized seven hydraulic hammers, five power plants, two stone grinders, and other items associated with the illegal activity.
Authorities also located and destroyed a logistical cove on the banks of the Orinoco River, consisting of 20 containers with 4,400 liters of illegal fuel.
"The arbitrary permanence of illegal groups in Venezuelan territory, engaging in environmental depredation, will not be allowed. Its protection is a constitutional duty," stated the Strategic Operational Commander of the Armed Forces.
Illegal mining in the Amazonian tri-border region of Colombia, Peru, Brazil, and Venezuela is a significant problem. Venezuela ranks second among these countries with the most illegal mines, and Yapacana National Park is the largest mining area in the region.
Criminal networks from these countries, including dissidents of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia-People's Army, Colombia's National Liberation Army, and Brazil's First Capital Command (Primeiro Comando da Capital - PCC), operate and intertwine in this illicit market.