Thursday, August 30th 2012 - 03:50 UTC

Venezuela investigating alleged massacre of indigenous people in the Amazon

Venezuela announced it is investigating an alleged massacre of indigenous people in the Amazon rainforest, after a tribal group told the government that a village of 80 natives was attacked in July from a helicopter.

The Yanomami tribe are hunters but are constantly threatened, when not attacked, by gold prospectors and smugglers

In a statement, the government said it had received word of the alleged attack by a group representing the Yanomami tribe, an indigenous people native to southern Venezuela.

The area, along the country's long, remote border with Brazil, has a history of violent clashes between natives, gold prospectors, other would-be developers in the region and smugglers.

A spokeswoman at the Venezuelan public prosecutor's office said the government could not yet confirm the attack or how many people may have been killed.

Fellow Yanomami and an international native rights group, however, said only three people, from the village of 80, are known to be alive.

Luis Shatiwe, a leader of the Yanomami group, told a Venezuelan newspaper that the survivors were hunters who had been out of the village at the time of the alleged attack. The hunters, he added, heard a helicopter and gunfire and said a communal hut in the village was destroyed by fire.

Survival International, a London-based organization that seeks to protect native peoples, said in a statement that another Yanomami told the group that tribes’ people had found bones and charred bodies in the village.

The group and the government both said that word of the alleged massacre is just emerging because of the remote location of the village, a five-hour helicopter flight, or a five-day walk, from Puerto Ayacucho, the capital city of the southern state of Amazonas.

13 comments Feed

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1 BLACK CAT (#) Aug 30th, 2012 - 04:44 am Report abuse
a story about indigenous people were is guzz?
2 cLOHO (#) Aug 30th, 2012 - 07:03 am Report abuse
Apprarently this land was claimed by the european countries Spain and Portugal many hundreds of years ago, so i cant see how these natives have any rights, if and ancient pope decreed the land spanish then the laws of SA its theirs.
3 Idlehands (#) Aug 30th, 2012 - 08:52 am Report abuse
I had a quick Google about this tribe. Anyone remember Cannibal Holocaust? A truly awful film. I was expecting a gore fest and saw a bore fest instead.
4 vestias (#) Aug 30th, 2012 - 10:24 am Report abuse
é triste de ler este artigo o povo indigene tem o seu direito á suas terras a sua cultura eu pesso as autoridades da Venezuela que investigue este massacre sobre este povo e que os culpados sejam punidos pela justiça
5 PirateLove (#) Aug 30th, 2012 - 10:59 am Report abuse
this is appauling, attacking ancient tribes from armed helicopters in venezuela i wonder who has the means and motive no doubt the same people doing the investigation, their only problem they left survivors, i wonder how many times this is happening whole tribes and villages just disappearing? very disturbing!
6 Britworker (#) Aug 30th, 2012 - 12:35 pm Report abuse
As I have said before, if you do not come from an Iberian background in South America you have no human rights, this is just the same as the indigenous people they are shifting out in Brazil to make way for a dam. It's disgusting but it is what South America has always been about.
7 GeoffWard2 (#) Aug 30th, 2012 - 12:51 pm Report abuse
This tribe is the one most known in the UK as it was the tribe featured in primary school teaching packages for a generation of youngsters and their parents. The Yanomami 'snuff(?)' movie 'Cannibal Holocaust' (1980) is, thankfully, much less well known.

Though this alleged real massacre is bad, it is arguably not as bad as the Government/military killings of the tribal settlement of North American Sioux Indians at Wounded Knee in 1890.
Thirty years of slaughter, culminating in Wounded Knee, was a way of 'winning the wilderness' and 'wresting it from the savage'.

The Venezuelan Amazonia massacre is more akin to the Dakota Black Hills gold rush of 1868-76, where Custer and the military, who were unable to stem the 'white tide,' became duty-bound to protect the prospecting hordes and all their excesses.

Dee Brown's book 'Bury my Heart at Wounded Knee' (1970) expresses in great historic detail, the massacres, death marches, and burials of hope of the many nations of North America as the white new invading nations steam-rollered across the Continent.

The historic South American massacres of Cortes, et seq, become, today, only slightly more restrained by modern public opinion,
and have become much more 'efficient', as Cortes' swords and Custer's cavalry and Hotchkiss/Maxims, have become replaced by the modern killing machines - helicopters and the machine gun.

But, everything considered, a massacre is a massacre, whether 'efficient' and government-sponsored or not.
8 hammerhead993 (#) Aug 30th, 2012 - 03:25 pm Report abuse
Read “Last of the Tribe” by Monte Reel. These atrocities have happened across the Americas. They certainly happened in North America....well over a century ago. The problem is that it's still happening in South America. Not just Venezuela, it's happening in Brazil too. In the 21st century.

Nice attempt to re-direct to North America Geoff. You're talking about something that happened in the 19th century. Geoff will say that the “indians” in Brazil don't suffer as they're not real indigenous people because they wear t-shirts and Brazil is a utopia. Don't believe his crap or what Rousseff says. But hey, it's all in the name of “progress” right? That justifies it.
9 GeoffWard2 (#) Aug 30th, 2012 - 06:28 pm Report abuse
Hi hammer,
thanks for the Kindle-link.

Have been reading quite a lot of 'nasty history' recently; just doin' the American (US) Civil War ... 'The West': a great history coffee-table book with a good Civil War section, by Geoff Ward.
Thought I'd give you a break from Brasil .. and give a few historical parallels.

You don't have to like my point of view - or that of your Presidenta - but to stand still is to go backwards if everybody else is quietly progressing.
Credit to Dilma where it's due.
10 Captain Poppy (#) Aug 31st, 2012 - 04:50 pm Report abuse
I think what the USA did to the Indigenous people is appalling in the push west.I can never condone what my country did and I imagine that no can every condone what their countries did during the growth of new nations. But I think that doing something like this in this day and age is mind boogling considering that we all are suppose to be that much more developed. We are suppose to be taking history and learning from it.
11 reality check (#) Sep 01st, 2012 - 10:05 pm Report abuse
Here we go, another massacre of indiginous indians by a SA country and waht will happen? fuck all. Look out for more of the same!
12 British_Kirchnerist (#) Sep 04th, 2012 - 02:45 am Report abuse
At least in Chavez's Venezuela the government will be on the indigenous people's side
13 Captain Poppy (#) Sep 04th, 2012 - 10:19 am Report abuse
YEs in the second scene after they bury those they killed

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