Alejandro Aguilera became the first representative of the Ecological Movement of Venezuela to win a seat in the National Assembly in Venezuela.

Venezuela’s parliamentary election that took place on December 6, 2020, may have been another controversial win for incumbent president Nicolás Maduro, who has been in power since 2013. However difficult the political climate of the country, for the supporters of the Ecological Movement of Venezuela (Movimiento Ecológico de Venezuela), the most recent election results give reason for hope.

https://www.instagram.com/p/CKJT16ohANY/

The National Secretary General for the Ecological Movement of Venezuela, Alejandro Aguilera, won a seat in the National Assembly, becoming the first Green to do so. The former lawyer and engineer expressed in a post on Instagram (translated):

“Last Thursday a new stage in my life formally began; a process of defense of environmental principles began.

I assume this responsibility with humility, with deep commitment, and knowing what my duty is as the first green deputy in the history of # Venezuela🇻🇪

From now on, the country will have someone who will raise their voice in defense of environmental laws, who will denounce ecocides and who will ask the authorities to respond to the environmental deterioration of the country.”

-ALEJANDRO AGUILERA, MOVIMIENTO ECOLOGICO DE VENEZUELA

Atrocities of Mega-Mining under Maduro

Venezuela, historically one of the world’s largest exporters of petroleum, saw plummeting oil prices of the industry under Hugo Chávez (Read BBC article: Venezuela crisis in 300 words).

His successor Maduro insists that the Orinoco Mining Arc (AMO, in Spanish) will revitalize the economy and move away from dependence on crude oil exports. Maduro‘s presidency has been heavily disputed since 2019 and contested by US-backed Juan Guaidó, whom the Greens supported as interim president.

In 2016 Maduro set out, by decree, 12% of Venezuela’s total landmass to be exploited for non-renewable metals and minerals, an area larger than Scotland and Wales combined.

The region, home to indigenous peoples, freshwater resources, vast rainforest reserves, national parks, and some of the most scenic and bio-diverse territories in Venezuela, is instead slated to be mined for non-renewable resources such as gold, diamonds, bauxite, coltan, and other minerals.

Agenda to Stop the Mining Arc

Indigenous groups call the move “unconstitutional” and an “ecogenocide”. The devastating environmental, social, and humanitarian impacts for the nation are clear.

Mining activity in Venezuela’s Mining Arc is known to the UN to be controlled by criminal groups that have been reported to beat, dismember and kill workers. Many of the abused and exploited are children, including victims of human trafficking.

Alejandro Aguilera: “The AN (National Assembly) must restore the rule of law and suspend the Arco Minero”

The Ecological Movement of Venezuela (Movimiento Ecológico de Venezuela, or MOVEV), established in 2008, has gained strength since 2018. One of the top items in the party’s agenda is to stop the illegal decree of the Mining Arc, along with working to evolve environmental legislation in all territories.

Just the beginning for MOVEV

The Movimiento Ecológico states in a social media post celebrating Aguilera’s win:

“From the organization, we are ready to continue working and building for a green and sustainable Venezuela with our leaders” (translated).

“The vision of the Movimiento Ecológico is the evolution of democracy, the space where the best values of society are taken to turn them into a common value which leads us to think globally to impact locally”, says Green Deputy Alejandro Aguilera (translated).

For many ordinary citizens of Venezuela, a change cannot come soon enough.

For more information:

Alejandro Aguilera, Global Greens Profile

U.N. urges Venezuela to dismantle criminal gangs running gold, bauxite mines

Venezuela: UN report highlights criminal control of mining area, and wider justice concerns

Sarah Cui

Sarah Cui is in her fourth year of undergraduate studies in Environment, Resources and Sustainability at the University of Waterloo. Her background is intercultural, having grown up in both Ottawa and northwestern China. Her areas of interest include environmental politics, conservation and food sustainability. In her free time, Sarah enjoys connecting with friends, hiking, identifying plants and learning a new language.

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