Illegal mining in south central Venezuela is fostering conflict and even some violence among the normally peaceful Piaroa people. A lengthy analysis in the publication Caracas Chronicles on June 4 provides a lot of details about the stresses the Piaroa are trying to cope with. The author, who is not named to protect his or […]

On Friday May 12, at 8:00 o’clock in the evening, Freddy Menare, a prominent Piaroa leader, was assassinated in Puerto Ayacucho, the capital city of Venezuela’s Amazonas state. The as-yet unidentified gunmen shot the 48-year old man in the back while he walked along Orinoco Avenue, a busy commercial street near the indigenous market in […]

El Universal, a major Venezuelan newspaper, published a feature last week on the reasons for the recent disruptions and threats to the Piaroa people south of the Orinoco River. The major reason, according to the paper, is coltan, which is now being mined in the area. “Coltan” is short for columbite-tantalite, a scarce mineral ore […]

Piaroa women, and their colleagues in surrounding communities, are becoming increasingly concerned about the violence that illegal miners and armed rebel gangs bring into their territories. The Organización de Mujeres Indígenas de Autana(OMIDA), a group based in the Amazonas State of Venezuela and composed primarily of Piaroa women, though with the support of females from […]

The Piaroa in Venezuela have been protesting earlier this year about the dangers of mining in their territory, but a different threat to their security has also arisen. A news story early in November and another last week report that the problem of guerilla violence has arisen in the borderlands with Colombia. The Economist reported […]

Women are taking the lead in a struggle by the peaceful Indian Birhor people to prevent huge coal mines from devouring more of their villages. They are joined by women from other neighboring tribal groups—specifically the Gond and the Kanwar societies—in Chhattisgarh state in their vocal opposition to the mining. An environmental hearing scheduled for […]

Reports last week indicated that a Zapotec town has peacefully closed down an unwanted North American mining project. The action contrasts with the violence that has marred relations between some other mines in Mexico’s Oaxaca state and nearby communities. A news story on July 26th said that the Minera Plata Real mining company had operated […]

Back in April, the Piaroa, and other Indian groups of southern Venezuela, issued a statement protesting a recent national mining policy that threatens their forest. News stories in the last few weeks indicated they are getting more insistent—they want to be heard. According to a report early last week, the group Coordinadora de Organizaciones Indígenas […]

The Piaroa, and the other indigenous groups in Venezuela, are speaking out in opposition to a national mining policy which they feel threatens their lives, their environments, and their cultural values. The Venezuelan Association for the Advancement of Science announced on its website last week that the Coordinadora de Organizaciones Indígenas del Estado Amazonas (COIAM), […]