Venezuela’s Blood Gold

March 26, 2019 Crime , Opinion , OPINION/NEWS , OTHER , South America

VMT photo



Ricardo Swire



In an environment of rapidly depreciating socio and economic instability Venezuelan “Sindicatos” and “Pranes,” bonded as a single criminal organization, along with Colombian paramilitary guerrilla groups, compete vigorously for southern Venezuela’s valuable mineral resources. Such entities command obedience in the mining towns of more than three hundred thousand miners. Swift decline of Venezuela’s oil production inflated gold mining’s value mostly in Bolivar and Amazonas states.


“Blood Gold” defines precious metal extracted in global areas of conflict used to finance crime, war or promotion of human rights violations. The 2016 Global Initiative Against Transnational Organized Crime report stipulated between eighty and ninety percent of Venezuela’s mineral mining is performed illegally. Between January and mid-September 2017 sixty-one miners, from five towns in Bolivar state, were murdered. In October 2018 sixteen miners killed in Tumeremo or “door to the savannah” in Bolivar state.


In the recent past members of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) and National Liberation Army (ELN) have increased cross-border skirmishes inside Venezuelan mining districts. The ELN controls an east to west corridor that traverses southern Venezuela’s mineral region. As part of its home soil footprint on Thursday January 17th 2019 the ELN activated a car bomb in Bogota’s Police Academy parking lot killing twenty-two people.


As a retaliatory move Colombia’s president withdrew from ELN peace negotiations. The heavily armed paramilitary organization controls the Colombia/Venezuela border zone. Trends showed veiled Venezuelan government support for the ELN’s two thousand membership increased cross-border operations. 2018 data registered rogue Venezuelan government officials who collaborated with criminal characters to export seventy-three point two metric tons of gold. The activity contravened Venezuela’s Assembly National Constitution Article 187.


The country’s Central Bank records noted three particular businesses two based in United Arab Emirates (UAE) and one in Turkey that benefited. A combination of private and Turkish Airlines’ aircraft utilized to shuttle gold from Caracas to Istanbul. UAE company Noor Capital, along with Turkish business Sardes Kiymetli Madenler A.S and Belgium firm Goetz Gold LLC based in UAE, sold seventy-three point two metric tons of the Venezuelan gold.


Noor Capital retailed twenty-seven point three nine six tons of the mineral. Sardes Kiymetli Madenler A.S traded twenty-three point nine four tons. Goetz Gold LLC sold twenty-one point eight six metric tons. Goetz Gold LLC is a renowned player in global mineral smuggling. Its Antwerp Belgium base is known as “global capital of the diamond trade.” The company exports African Gold Refinery (AGR) processed gold, from Uganda and Venezuela, distributed to Europe and America.


The Belgium consortium’s refinery is largest in sub-Saharan Africa. Goetz Gold’s 2018 mineral shipments originated at the Maiquetía Airport, aka Simon Bolivar International Airport, transported by Emirati airline Rotana Jet and Russian airline E-Cargo. Neither company formally operates commercial flights to Venezuela. Turkish Airlines transported twenty-seven gold shipments. Five deliveries each travelled aboard COPA Airlines (Panama), Solar Cargo (Venezuela) Rotana Jet Airlines (UAE) and E-Cargo Airlines (UAE registered). One trip’s carrier was unidentified.





Ricardo Swire - Tuck Magazine

Ricardo Swire

Ricardo Swire is the Principal Consultant at R-L-H Security Consultants & Business Support Services and writes on a number of important issues.

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