Evidence of Indigenous Massacre in Venezuela

80 people feared killed by illegal prospectors

Ryan O'Hanlon

Venezuelan officials are investigating the claim that as many as 80 Yanomami Indians were murdered by illegal Brazilian gold prospectors in July. According to a criminal complaint filed earlier this week by Horonami, the Yanomami rights organization, the prospectors flew in by helicopter and razed the village to the ground. “Survivors of the community who were [off hunting] in the jungle heard gunfire, explosions and even a helicopter in which the miners landed,” said Luis Shatiwe, executive secretary of Horonami. The only known survivors were away from the village at the time. Brazilian prospectors have been illegally encroaching on Yanomami land on both sides of the lightly-guarded Brazil-Venezuela border for decades. Officials say the remoteness of that stretch of jungle—Irotatheri is a 15-day walk from the state capital of Puerto Ayacucho—makes it difficult to rigorously patrol. Indigenous advocacy groups are pointing to the massacre as evidence that the Venezuelan government is not doing enough to protect indigenous peoples.

Via New York Times