Statement of the Pemón people rejecting the Venezuelan Mining Corporation’s installation in Canaima

Photo: Omar García, BBC

Communiqué available in its original spanish version at Observatorio de Ecología Política de Venezuela

We, legitimate authorities, in full exercise of our rights as communal captains, consecrated, and in accordance with the customs and traditions recognized in Article 119 of the Constitution of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela and protected in Article 3, paragraph 8, Articles 5, 7, 18, 69, 70, 130, 132 and 133, paragraphs 1 and 2 of the Organic Law on Indigenous Peoples and Communities.

Reaffirming our commitment to protect, defend, and guarantee the individual and collective rights of the members of our communities.

Welcoming the fact that the recognition of the rights of indigenous peoples in the Constitution of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela has served as a platform for promoting legislative development and public policies of great importance for the necessary transformations, for strengthening participatory democracy and pluralism on the road to re-founding the Republic.

Concerned by the fact that during 20 years of transition towards a more just and democratic society, it has not been possible to displace or break with a corrupt and discredited elite, without channels of political communication with the majority of the indigenous population.

Convinced that if we as Pemón people control the events that affect us and our lands, territory and resources, we can maintain and strengthen our institutions, cultures and traditions and promote our development in accordance with our aspirations and needs.

Recalling that free, prior and informed consent is more than just a simple consultation, and that States are obliged to obtain such consent as the objective of the consultation, before undertaking any of the following actions: adoption of legislative or administrative measures that affect indigenous peoples and the initiation of any project that affects their lands or territories and other resources, including mining and other resource use or exploitation.

Therefore, we agree to establish a position of ROTUND REJECTION to the installation and imposition of the Venezuelan Mining Corporation into our territory, because we consider that since its creation as an entity assigned to the Ministry of the Popular Power for Mining and Ecological Development it has NEVER complied neither with the process of prior consultation nor with the mandate to fundamentally emphasize criteria of sovereignty, sustainability, systemic vision, development under ecological principles and, especially, deep respect for indigenous peoples. For these reasons, we hold the Corporación Venezolana de Minería, S. A. directly responsible for:

1- Promoting and formalizing mining activities in protected areas including the Canaima National Park.

2- Implementing public policies that foster disunity among diverse communities, weakening the organizational structures of indigenous peoples.

For these reasons, we demand that all actors and government entities fully comply with the provisions of the Constitution of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela regarding free and informed prior consultation, respecting the criteria of interculturality, good faith and [respect for] ancestral times.

Communiqué issued in the indigenous community of Santo Domingo de Turassen, sector 6 Akurimö, on the thirtieth day of August of the year Two Thousand and Twenty.

The members present signed this document in support of it.

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