Photo: AP/Nicola Vigilanti retrieved

The long diplomatic stalemate over the Esequibo between Guyana and Venezuela has been shaken, after the UN Secretary General recommended taking the case to the International Court of Justice and Georgetown seized on that to end the dispute for good.

But what about the situation on the ground? Apparently, things are getting ugly.

This dispatch from The Guardian shows the growing apprehension in the area, because of Venezuelan gangs (referred to as sindicatos) working with gasoline contraband and illegal mining.

And they’re not afraid to use extreme violence to reaffirm their control:

The Venezuelan gangs are already making their influence felt in Guyanese territory.

“…the Venezuelan gangs are already making their influence felt in Guyanese territory. In April, miners in the town of Eterinbang, south of Whitewater, reported that heavily armed sindicatos had set up a base on the Cuyuni river and were attacking boats that refused to give in to their extortion attempts.”

The Guyanese government stops short of pointing at Venezuela, but it acknowledges a lack of cooperation between both countries that has benefited these criminal organizations.

The concerns also extend to another neighboring country: last month, Brazilian Foreign Minister, Aloysio Nunes Ferreira, visited Georgetown to meet Guyana’s president, David Granger, who used the opportunity to discuss the current situation regarding the Bolivarian Republic:

“As you know thousands of (Venezuelan) refugees have gone south into Brazil, many more in Colombia, some have come into Guyana and into Trinidad and Tobago. Therefore, we need to have a common push to deal with this humanitarian crisis.”

Guyana and Brazil agreed to keep working in projects of infrastructure and environment.

As for the chavista side of the story? Total silence in The Guardian’s piece.

But the Co-operative Republic is also increasing its military presence in the Esequibo, as a response to this outburst of lawlessness. Last February, a new patrol base was installed in Whitewater, the Guyana Defense Force (GDF) is strengthening its aerial capacity and reserve numbers have increased in the Guyana People’s Militia (reactivated in 2016).

As for the chavista side of the story? Total silence in The Guardian’s piece.

Meanwhile, the Arco Minero del Orinoco project keeps producing irreparable damage to the region, while its riches are mysteriously taken away.

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15 COMMENTS

  1. “Meanwhile, the Arco Minero del Orinoco project keeps producing irreparable damage to the region, while its riches are mysteriously taken away.”

    A few weeks ago I finally had the opportunity to speak at length with a person who mines gold in the Orinoco. As I suspected, they’re basically involved in surface strip mining, moving large quantities to surface material to a large sluice box setup for washing. Alternately, if the miner has high pressure pumps and water available, he’ll sluice his own material on-site. Either way, the resulting surface area looks horrid afterwards, subject to dramatic erosion during the rainy seasons. It takes a long time build quality topsoil in the tropics, and a very short time to destroy it.

    Also, as suspected, the final step of the process is to use mercury and heat to extract the gold from the impure residues gathered after sluicing. Mercury vapors are highly poisonous (think mad hatters) and the metal itself difficult to contain because of its liquid properties. I know something about the metal because I worked with it for years in the oilfield laboratory environment and was responsible for protecting my employees from its harmful effects.

    • “Meanwhile, the Arco Minero del Orinoco project keeps producing irreparable damage to the region, while its riches are mysteriously taken away.”

      It’s not so mysterious.

    • Except the Mercury part (I think – I’m too lazy to Google it), this is same “technology” used in the 19th century gold rushes in North America (e.g., California, Yukon-Alaska). Just blast the crap out of the land (usually but not always along a river/stream) and then filter the results. Leaves a giant mess. You can still see some of the results from 1949-50 gold mining in Sierra Nevada foothills in California nearly 170 years later.

      But, nature will eventually reclaim the land after these minors are long (long) dead.

  2. Reminds me of strip mining operations that took place in Appalachia before laws were enacted requiring that the coal companies at least attempt to restore the land to original condition. The problem is that it never quite looks the same again. It’s impossible to replace an old growth forested mountain .

  3. CC censured my post. I was the first one to say something about. Great for CC. A bunch of cowards too. They cannot handle the disappointment of being Venezolano in these days.

  4. I must have forgotten to post. I do apologize. What I said: CC should focus on the real issues after August 19 or 20. Ignore the “Essequibo” territory. This has been lost like our dignity. There are material problems coming in a dimension not seen before.

    Thanks again

  5. Can anyone help me: I want to write in these blogs because I have multicultural and business, technology knowledge (as a manager). I speak 4++ languages worked all over America’s and Western and Eastern Europe. As young as 19 my first job took me to Peru and Mexico. But for some reason I cannot get notifications even if I check the the boxes below my name and email. Can someone enlighten me? Thanks in advance. My colors: Red like in Republicans. J’adore Trump and Musk.

  6. If so intelligent why couldn’t you figure out how to click on the “Write for us” tab and follow the instructions. Lazy? Uninspired?
    Having a bad day? Not to worry I have made it VERY simple for you . Anxiously awaiting your first article….yeah, as if.

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  7. At least I don’t do unintelligent personal attacks. What do you have to say for real Mr Kool-Aid (don’t drink it too much) – something intelligent of course?

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