Venezuela Indians to release soldiers held captiveBy CHRISTOPHER TOOTHAKER
The Associated Press | February 11,2013CARACAS, Venezuela — A representative of Venezuela’s Pemon Indians said Sunday that a group of men in a remote village plan to release several dozen soldiers they have been holding captive.
Alexis Romero said he had spoken with Pemon men in the village of Uriman, where members of the community decided they would release the soldiers after they reached an agreement with government representatives and military officers.
Romero said that people in the village, angered by what they perceive as abuses and mistreatment, had taken hostage a group of about 40 soldiers in protest last week.
Government and military officials have not commented on the incident, which has been widely reported in the Venezuelan news media. The Information Ministry did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
“This situation began due to abuses by soldiers,” Romero said in a telephone interview from Santa Elena de Uairen, a town located near Venezuela’s border with Brazil. Romero said some people were upset about soldiers routinely stopping Pemon Indians to search them for gold, often detaining them for several hours.
An estimated 30,000 Pemon inhabit Venezuela’s vast Gran Sabana region in the eastern state of Bolivar, which is covered by rolling grasslands and dotted with plateaus. Some indigenous people rely on small-scale gold mining to make a living.
President Hugo Chavez’s government, meanwhile, has been trying for years to crack down on illegal mining that tears up the forests and pollutes rivers.
Romero said that on Saturday members of the Pemon community met with government officials including Army Gen. Cliver Alcala Cordones and Indigenous Peoples Minister Aloha Nunez.
Romero said that as part of their agreement, government authorities pledged to investigate alleged abuses by soldiers and round up and deport undocumented foreigners, including Brazilians and Colombians, who are involved in illegal mining.
Romero also said the government officials had agreed to permit mining by the Indians.MORE IN Wire NewsWASHINGTON — Nine current students, faculty and staff members can argue against the proposed... Full StoryWASHINGTON — Bleeding from both legs and his arm, Ryan Pitts kept firing at about 200 Taliban... Full StoryAUSTIN, Texas — Gov. Full Story
- Most Popular
- Most Emailed
- TODAY'S WEATHER MINUTE: Rutland Herald content editor Rich Alcott shares local weather information and easily digestible news tidbits: When all the big mammals are rubbed out and a faint geologic memory, rats the size of human beings will stalk the Earth.
- TOMORROW'S HEADLINES TODAY: National survey ranks Vermont kids' well-being in second place, Springfield takes up anti-loitering ordinance, Rutland debate taxis, Fair Haven woman is arrested in Rutland for prostitution.
- TODAY'S WEATHER MINUTE: Rutland Herald content editor Rich Alcott shares local weather and news: Research scientists say schizophrenia and marijuana use linked. Are marijuana smokers schizophrenic or are schizophrenics more disposed toward marijuana use?
- RICHARD'S POOR ALMANACK: On this day in 365 CE, eastern Mediterranean rocked by high magnitude earthquake and tsunami, in 1865, Davis 'Little Dave' Tutt meets Wild Bill Hickock in Springfield, Mo., to settle differences.
- TODAY'S WEATHER MINUTE: Rutland Herald content editor Rich Alcott shares local weather information and easily digestible news tidbits: Pesticides in soil and ground water are killing not only honey bees and other useful insects, but songbirds as well.
- TOMORROW'S HEADLINES TODAY: Judge issues deposition order in for city police corporal's lawsuit against the department, market for marijuana-laced edibles en fuego in at least two states, West Rutland truck fire consumes all driver's earthly possessions.