The crisis in Venezuela from 2013 to 2021 has caused the collapse of a nation that was built around oil over the last 100 years. This has created a situation characterized by the emergence of mining-dominated predatory extractivism.
It is impossible to think about extraction without thinking about a vast network of accompanying infrastructure, and thus even greater deforestation and destruction.
The study, “Amazonía en la encrucijada” (“The Amazon at the Crossroads”), by the Amazon Geo-Referenced Socio-Environmental Information Network (RAISG, by its Portuguese acronym) presents an overview of the pressure caused by roads in Brazil, Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, Perú and Venezuela. According to the report, of the 136,000 kilometers of roads mapped in the region, at least 26,000 are in protected natural areas and indigenous territories. For example, in the Brazilian Amazon, the report states that most deforestation occurs in the vicinity of roads.
Fires in the Amazon are occurring more frequently and with greater intensity. But who is really burning the forests?
Venezuela is well known for being one of the main oil exporters in the world, and now also because of the major crisis it is currently facing, which is affecting all areas of social life in the country. Despite extensive international news coverage about what is happening in Venezuela, dominant versions of the story are notably biased, manipulated and incomplete; and they rarely highlight the root causes of the situation (1).
How to make the sustainability of life the center of debate
In 1999, shortly after he was elected, President Hugo Chávez received a letter from WRM (seehttp://www.wrm.org.uy/bulletin/22/Venezuela2.html) in which we expressed our deep concern over the serious impacts on peasant communities in the state of Portuguesa generated by the monoculture tree plantations operated by Smurfit Cartón de Venezuela (a subsidiary of the Smurfit Kappa Group, a leading producer of cardboard for the European market)
The Caura river in Venezuela is the last large affluent of the Orinoco which has not been polluted, carved up, dammed or diverted by mining, roads, logging and large-scale development projects. The upper reaches are home to two ethnic groups, ‘Amazonian Indians’.