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first_imgBy Noelani Kirschner / ShareAmerica / Edited by Diálogo Staff March 27, 2020 A new report from Human Rights Watch (HRW) details the gruesome conditions that gold miners in Venezuela are forced to endure.Twelve percent of Venezuela, a country rich in natural resources such as oil, diamonds and uranium, has gold and mineral deposits.In Venezuela’s southern Bolívar state, pro-Maduro civilian armed groups force miners to work, employing physical abuse and fear tactics to control gold production.The Maduro regime allows the groups using these tactics to oversee gold mining operations. According to the report, witnesses have reported seeing a top government official patrolling mines.HRW spent two years collecting testimonials from Venezuelan gold miners and people living in gold mining towns.According to the report, “many mines in Bolívar are under the tight control of Venezuelan syndicates or Colombian armed groups,” such as the guerrilla organization the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC, in Spanish), and the National Liberation Army (ELN, in Spanish).These armed groups enforce arbitrary “laws” to instill fear and keep order among mining communities. They accuse miners and innocent civilians of theft before publicly cutting off their fingers and hands, and, in extreme cases, executing them, according to witnesses interviewed for the report.There is no enforced judicial system to protect the victims.The gold mines, located in the southern part of the country, operate in close proximity to indigenous communities. As a result, indigenous people are often forced to work in the mines against their will.The working conditions of mines are hazardous. Toxic amounts of mercury are used to clean the gold ore, and there are little to no safety measures taken to prevent workplace injury.The report details how a 16-year-old boy sustained a spinal fracture from a falling log that hit him as he was using a high-pressure hose without any protective gear.Additionally, in testimony before the U.S. Congress on illicit mining in Venezuela, a U.S. State Department official reported that people in mining communities are “exploited in forced labor or sex trafficking, compelled through violence and fear by the group running the mine. There have been reports that in some regions, the average age of sex trafficking victims is 13–14 years old.”The HRW report says miners are forced to give up to 80 percent of their gold to the syndicates, and town residents must pay gold to armed groups to keep their businesses operational.The HRW report underscores the concerns voiced by Interim President and National Assembly leader Juan Guaidó at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. He requested that Venezuela’s allies stop purchasing Venezuelan gold until human rights abuses end.“The first thing to do is to stop the illegal traffic of gold,” Guaidó said, according to Reuters. “It’s blood gold.”last_img read more

first_imgThe Central Statistics Office (CSO) has today revealed figures that show that more people are opting for used cars when searching for a new set of wheels. In the first nine months of 2017, a total of 121,595 new private cars were licensed, a drop of 10.3% compared with the same period last year.In September 2017, the number of new private cars licensed fell by 17.4% compared with September 2016. On a seasonally adjusted basis, new private cars licensed recorded no change in September 2017 compared with August 2017.Brendan Curtin, Statistician commented: “Since 2010, one third (33.9%) of all private cars licensed for the first time were secondhand (imported) vehicles, and of these, three to five-year-old vehicles were the most popular.“In the first nine months of 2017, just one percent were less than one year old, while over five percent were ten years or older (vehicles first registered outside of Ireland before 2008).“Eight out of ten (79.1%) imported private cars were diesel, while electric vehicles made up just half of one percent.” Figures show surge in popularity of used cars was last modified: October 11th, 2017 by Elaine McCalligShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Tags:carsCSOlicensedNewstatisticsusedlast_img read more