Venezuela, Home of Gold and Famine

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by Alex Deluce, Gold Telegraph:

Venezuela has become known for its shortages. Toilet paper is a luxury and bread almost impossible to come by. Amid the misery, however, Venezuela is well-stocked in military might, armed gangs, and, yes, gold. There’s plenty of gold in Venezuela, a country where people are dying daily from hunger and disease. The question is, who is benefitting from this elusive element?

In the city of El Callao, military convoys have become the norm. Soldiers wander the streets with their faced covered and rifles ready. What’s so special about the once prosperous coastal enclave of El Callao? There are massive amounts of gold to be mined in the region. The government calls it the Arco Minero del Orinoco.

The gold is not being mined for the benefit of the Venezuelan people. President Nicolas Maduro has permitted the military access to El Callao and its riches. As any dictator is well aware, having the military on your side during troubled times is essential. Soldiers have been raiding neighborhoods and fighting gang lords to get at the gold. It’s meant to be their reward for keeping the people in check and the unpopular president in power.

These soldiers aren’t merely strutting through the streets. They have confiscated weapons, set fire to vehicles and killed 18 civilians. The army is in control of El Callao. This is where force reigns and civilians cower in fear.

Facing an upcoming election with very little public support, President Maduro has turned the country’s 160,000-strong military force loose to ensure its loyalty. Soldiers are marching through the streets, and they are now supplanting company leaders, who have been imprisoned. Promotion within the army is rampant, with 1,300 generals and admirals overseeing the ranks. No part of the Venezuelan economy is safe from the military, who also control the nation’s food supply.

Facing an upcoming election with very little public support, President Maduro has turned the country’s 160,000-strong military force loose to ensure its loyalty. Soldiers are marching through the streets, and they are now supplanting company leaders, who have been imprisoned. Promotion within the army is rampant, with 1,300 generals and admirals overseeing the ranks. No part of the Venezuelan economy is safe from the military, who also control the nation’s food supply.

With dwindling oil revenue, El Callao’s gold mines have become critical to Maduro. There as much as 8,000 tons of gold within its deposits, Eight thousand tons of gold were mined in 2017. Maduro has plans to raise that number to 24 tons in 2018. With the country’s GDP plummeting 15 percent in 2017 and falling by 50 percent in five years, the gold is desperately needed.

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