A delegation of Ye’kuana and Sanema Indians have travelled to Venezuela’s capital, Caracas, to express their fears about the devastating effects mining is having on their land.
Survival Internationl, the organisation which campaigns for the rights of tribal peoples, says that gold miners have been invading the Indians’ territories in the rainforests of southern Venezuela for many years, polluting the waterways and destroying the forest.
The Ye’kuana organisation Kuyjani stated, "Land is fundamental for the Ye’kuana and Sanema people; it’s on our land that our culture is born, [where we practise] our own education… our land guarantees our food security, and that of our children and future generations."
The Indians are calling for "the complete and immediate prevention of gold mining, diamond mining, and the mining of any mineral in the Caura River Basin, which is a sanctuary of biodiversity for the Ye’kuana and Sanema indigenous peoples, and for the Venezuelan Nation as a whole." They are demanding that the government recognise their collective land titles, as guaranteed by the constitution.