After the approval without amendments of the UNESCO resolution on Canaima, where it is requested that Nicolás Maduro’s regime receive the Reactive Monitoring Commission to assess the state of values of this World Heritage Site, the reaction of the representative of the National Assembly of Venezuela in Panama, Fabiola Zavarce,was swift and she immediately commented: “Since 2016 the flow of complaints has increased, but this is an environmental, economic and social problem that has been going on for a longer time and which has intensified in the last five years. We demand that the presence of the United Nations Commission for Education, Science and Culture (UNESCO) be allowed, so that they can assess everything that happens there,” said Zavarce.
Envoy Fabiola Zavarce also indicated that “in the Arco Minero, collective and individual rights of our indigenous people are being violated in a criminal, irrational and atrocious way, only comparable to a hell present on earth. The worst thing that can be done in this situation is to keep quiet. That’s why we want to be the voice of those who do not have a voice, and take this complaint to the last corner of the planet, until we can stop this barbaric destruction and ecocide and that justice is done.”
The subject of the Mining Arc has been a compulsory subject in the multiple activities that Ms. Zavarce has been developing in Panama during all this time on behalf of the interim government: Webinars to discuss the problem in depth and offer information to institutions, diplomatic representatives and field media interviews on this serious problem. Other activities have focused on making visible this drama that affects the ecosystem and the lives of residents and indigenous people in this area located in southern Venezuela.
The news about the request to join this Commission in situ comes after years of complaints about the consequences that illegal mining has brought to the ecosystem of the Canaima National Park and its inhabitants, a problem that has taken on disproportionate dimensions especially since the ‘Arco Minero’ extension decree in 2016.
As early as 2018, the Latin American Mining Conflict Observatory quoted the following: “The Orinoco Arc mining exploration and exploitation projects will be carried out under traditional exploration and exploitation techniques. This implies the deforestation and burning of millions of hectares; the massive use of cyanide and arsenic; the diversion of the natural courses of water; and the removal of immense areas of surface soil that will permanently damage the land as well as the water, the climate and the biodiversity of the entire area.”