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#515462 - 06/24/16 08:18 PM In Belize, All That Is Gold Does not Glitter
Marty Offline

The looting, desecration and annexation of the Chiquibul Forest in Belize, Central America

by  Tony Rath

Throughout history, conquerers have often celebrated their victory over the vanquished by urinating on a deceased enemy that minutes before was trying to kill them. Illegal Guatemalan gold miners invading the Chiquibul Forest of Belize have taken this insult to another level. They extract gold bearing quartz rock with impunity, while pissing and defecating into the very water that approximately 50% of Belizeans drink.

Belize Water Services Limited pipes this water to your homes; Belizean breweries mix this water in the beer you drink; bottled water companies package and sell liters of this water to you by the thousands. Granted, all this water is first purified before you drink it, but if you saw someone pee and shit in a cup, then wash that cup and serve you a drink in it, how would you feel?

Recently I accompanied rangers from Friends for Conservation and Development (FCD), the non-governmental organization tasked with managing the Chiquibul Forest, into one of the most remote areas of this protected area to document what I thought was small scale gold mining, the type where a couple of poor villagers in ragged clothes crouch by a stream swirling water and gravel in a pan.

What we observed was way beyond anything I imagined. The potential environmental impacts of Guatemalan illegal gold mining in the Ceibo Chico region of the Chiquibul far surpasses the impacts of illegal xate harvesting, illegal logging, wildlife poaching and agricultural encroachments — combined. This story raises troubling questions about where we are as a people and what we value as a nation.

Click here to read the rest of the excellent article and see LOTS more amazing photos


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#515477 - 06/25/16 02:51 AM Re: In Belize, All That Is Gold Does not Glitter [Re: Marty]
ScubaLdy Offline
THANK YOU TONYY! Your photography take my breath away.

TO EVERY ONE ELSE - Please read the entire article and be awestruck by the pictures. Something needs to be done.
_________________________
Harriette
Take only pictures leave only bubbles

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#515484 - 06/25/16 10:25 AM Re: In Belize, All That Is Gold Does not Glitter [Re: Marty]
Marty Offline

Photographer Tony Rath Details Chiquibul Experience in Online Article

Renowned professional photographer Tony Rath recently accompanied Friends of Conservation and Development into the depths of the Chiquibul National Park in Western Belize. His trip into the vast wilderness abutting the Guatemalan frontier is visually documented and stands as moving piece of photojournalism.

Rath’s experiences, having personally witnessed the pillaging of Belize’s natural resources at the hands of Guatemalan poachers, also inform the details of an article that is currently in circulation online. The editorial titled ‘In Belize, All That Is Gold Does Not Glitter’ looks at the looting, desecration and annexation of the Chiquibul Forest.

While it is told from a first-person point of view, the piece raises serious concerns about what we value as Belizeans. Upon reaching the Ceibo Chico Command Post, Rath describes his observation of what is a seemingly lax state of affairs at the remote location. He writes, “No sentries are in sight even though tensions are high with Guatemala and there are known illegals in the area. Soldiers scamper about the command post, half of them in shorts and sandals and unarmed, the others lifting backpacks and weapons racing towards the oncoming tractor like horses returning to a stable after a long ride; they are on their way home after two weeks at the CCCP.” Elsewhere in the article, Rath quotes from a conversation he had with George Paul Boyinton, who has been mining legally in Ceibo Chico for many years. Boyinton says, “The B.D.F. come and go on a regular schedule, and if I know it, the Guatemalans know it. The Guats are very tactical. They know when the soldiers are on patrol, and that the B.D.F. do not patrol at night, so the Guats move the ore bearing quartz rock in 150 lb sacks at night across the border for processing. We often work side by side with the illegals without bothering each other. They are there right now.”

Despite the vivid account of Rath’s experience, there is a disclaimer stating that his views are his own and not that of FCD, the Belize Defense Force or the Government of Belize.

Tony Rath will appear as a guest on Open Your Eyes on Tuesday to discuss the ongoing plunder of the Chiquibul Forest.

Channel 5


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#515488 - 06/25/16 10:47 AM Re: In Belize, All That Is Gold Does not Glitter [Re: Marty]
Katie Valk Offline
Important story and was an extraordinary portion of the country, but took a battering beginning with the Chalillo dam. Still, must do what we can to save what is left. Well worth visiting. Stay at Las Cuevas
_________________________
Belize based travel specialist
www.belize-trips.com
info@belize-trips.com

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