The Parkupik Pemon indigenous community released a video message today via its captain, Walter Torres, denouncing threats they claim to have received from Justo Noguera, the PSUV governor of Bolivar state. In the video, Torres says that the Maduro regime is trying to force them off their mineral-rich lands, and place all responsibility on the president if anything happens to them.
Torres’ comments come just two days after eight people were killed in Ikabaru, a Pemon community in Bolivar state, allegedly as part of a turf war over gold mining in the area.
The video was shared by Tamara Suju, a Venezuelan human rights lawyer. Below, the video (which is split in two parts) along with my translation:
Walter Torres: We call on the national and interantional governments, NGOs and indigenous rights’ groups, about the threats that our community of Parkupik, Sector 7 of the Gran Sabana municipality have received. We remind you of the tragic events that have already taken place here, like the one that occurred in the Canaima municipality in December 2018, Cumaratapai in February 2019, and most recently in Ikabaru, where the government entered our indigenous community to kill our brothers.
Today, our indigenous community is threatened by Justo Noguera Pietri, the governor of Bolivar state, whose past actions have forced us to raise the alarm to protect our peoples, who are under attack. This regime [is trying to] take away our lands and resources, in violation of Article 119 and 120 of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, which recognize the existence of communities and the extraction of natural resources without damaging their cultural, social and economic integrity.
Our people are standing up to protect our lands. We are a people who work [tirelessly?] to develop our community by strengthening education, healthcare, values and Bolivarian patriotism.
We publicly denounce the Venezuelan regime, commanded by Nicolas Maduro Moros and governor Justo Noguera Pietri, and hold them responsible for any attack against our indigenous communities. Their only interest…
The second part of the video is below:
… is force us off our lands because of their agreements with other governments. Our people are a hard working, and are an example of overcoming [adversity]. We will not allow more massacres of our Pemon or [unintelligible] brothers. We are wiling to defend our freedom, our god-given territory, and our people!
The indigenous peoples of Bolivar state have long been victimized by criminal organizations (allegedly with the assistance of the Venezuelan government) as they fight for control of mineral resources in the area.
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