Francisco Dallmeier

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Gold mining at the edge of Canaima National Park in Venezuela. (Michael Robinson Chavez/The Washington Post)

The political and economic ruin of Venezuela, once one of Latin America’s wealthiest countries, is by now a well-known story. Far less understood are the catastrophic impacts of the crisis on the country’s environment. International action is urgently needed — first to stabilize the downfall, and then to rebuild functional environmental institutions. The fifth session of the U.N. Environment Assembly (UNEA-5) in Nairobi could provide a path to reverting Venezuela’s untenable environmental trajectory.

The dismantling of Venezuela’s environmental institutions and the collapse of its oil sector have generated a chain reaction of unsustainable natural resource extraction. Illegal land grabbing, deforestation and an out-of-control gold rush in protected rainforest areas have created a perfect storm combining environmental degradation with a humanitarian crisis.…  Seguir leyendo »