Venezuelas gold fever fuels gangs and insecurity: ‘There will be anarchy’

Puerto Ordaz has been swept up in a gold rush that powers the city as the armed groups running the mines flourish Puerto Ordaz was once Venezuelas industrial hub, a modernist dream of broad boulevards and ranks of factories and gateway to a belt of rich oilfields that funded government largesse for decades. As the economy has crumbled though, the modern city of steel and aluminium has been swallowed by its past, transformed into little more than an outpost of the gold mines a few hours drive away in the fringes of the Amazon. There, in swampy, malaria-ridden pits controlled by criminal gangs, men labour away much as they would have done centuries ago. The lumps of yellow metal they …