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US bill seeks to end illegal mining in Latin America

Two influential senators presented this Wednesday in the Congress of USA a bill to strengthen the fight against illegal minery on the continent, with a special emphasis on Venezuela.

the democrat Bob Menendez and the republican marco rubio They introduced this regulation this Wednesday that asks the State Department to develop a strategy to combat the phenomenon that includes cooperation with Latin American governments and more sanctions for individuals related to the Venezuelan gold trade, among other objectives.

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“Illegal mining and gold trafficking in Latin America finances transnational criminal organizations (…), facilitates human rights abuses and maintains brutal dictatorships like Nicolás Maduro’s”, Menendez, chairman of the Senate Foreign Affairs Committee, said in a statement.

The bill, which provides for $10 million in funding to carry out the strategy, directs the State Department to create a multi-year plan, in conjunction with the Treasury Department, to impose sanctions on the Venezuelan government and individuals or companies related to illegal mining and the extraction and trade of gold and encourage other countries in the continent to do the same.

At the same time, it asks the US Executive to block access to US territory and financial markets for people or companies that have enriched themselves with illegal mining.

usa must “hold those involved in this illegal industry to account and prevent (Venezuelan President Nicolás) Maduro and his allies from making any further profits,” noted Senator Rubio.

Latin America has one of the highest levels of gold extraction, according to an Interpol report published in April of this year.

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The increase in the prices of the precious metal in the last year has led to an increase in the interest of criminal organizations in the region in this industry, stressed the report of the International Criminal Police Organization (Interpol).

More than 70% of the gold extracted in several Latin American countries, including Colombia, Ecuador and Peru, comes from illegal mining. In the case of Venezuela, this percentage is 80%, according to a report by the Global Initiative against Transnational Organized Crime.

The US has already imposed a series of sanctions in relation to illegal gold mining in Venezuela, such as against Minerven, a state mining company in 2019.

Source: Elcomercio

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