Massacre of Yanomami Feared in Venezuela
Village of 80 people was firebombed from the air, say activists, by illegal gold miners based in neighbouring Brazil

A massacre of up to 80 Yanomami Indians has taken place in the Venezuelan state of Amazonas, according to claims emerging from the region, prompting the government to send in investigators.

Blame is being placed on illegal garimpeiro miners who cross the border from Brazil to prospect for gold and have clashed violently with Amazon tribes before. According to local testimonies an armed group flew over in a helicopter, opening fire with guns and launching explosives into Irotatheri settlement in the High Ocamo area. The village was home to about 80 people and only three had been accounted for as survivors, according to people from a neighbouring village and indigenous rights activists.

The claims were presented to local authorities in Puerto Ayacucho, the capital of Amazonas state on Monday, asking for an immediate investigation of the site where the alleged killing took place, and for the expulsion of the garimpeiros. The event would have taken place during the first two weeks of July but due to the remoteness of the village it is only now been made public.

A spokeswoman at the public prosecutor's office said the government could not yet confirm the attack nor how many people may have been killed.

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 said, heard a helicopter and gunfire and said a communal hut in the village was destroyed by fire.

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

A member of the team that collected the testimony said: "When we heard the first accounts we flew into Parima-B [the closest town] by helicopter with a contingent of military. In Parima we spoke to Yanomami who had walked six days to get to Parima-B to talk to us. In places this remote that is how people communicate." The man asked not to be identified.

Luis Bello, a lawyer in Puerto Ayacucho who defends indigenous rights, said the allegations were the latest in a series of reports of abuse as garimpeiro activities in the region have increased. "Reports of garimpeiros attacking different communities are becoming more and more frequent, and now we also hear of rivers being poisoned with mercury. We've reported to the authorities but we are so far away that is it all easily forgotten," Bello said.

Bello said a combination of high gold prices and pressure from the Brazilian federal police in their own territory had led to the influx of garimpeiros. "They have also become more sophisticated. They used to fly in and land in clandestine strips, now they come in helicopters and use huge extracting machinery that is decimating the jungle," Bello said.

In 1993, 16 Yanomamis were killed by garimpeiros in what became known as the Haximu massacre. But there have been cases that turn out to be fake. Aime Thilet, a member of Wataniba, an NGO that defends indigenous rights, said that when the latest alleged attack was reported "we were in the Alto Siapo, also on the border with Brazil, because we got radio a very detailed and what seemed credible report of another massacre, which turned out to be false".

Livorio Guarulla, the governor of Amazonas state, said remoteness and military restrictions on access to the area made it difficult to investigate the claims quickly. "This happened in July but because it takes close to seven days to get there we don't really know what happened. The shaponos – the collective community dwellings – house more than 100 people, so it could be 70 [casualties] or it could be more or less."

The minister for indigenous affairs has yet to make a statement. (SOURCE)

Responses to "Amazon tribe massacre alleged in Venezuela"

  1. Investigate!!!How can this happen and nobody know noting??This is a massacre well plan.God have mercy in them and the one that did this ,some or later the law of God will catch you .If the law of man doesn't

  2. Anonymous says:

    My thoughts are with the people who lost their lives and for their relatives.

    This massacre is extremely sad as it's highly immoral. Greed is Ugly no matter where it comes from, what face it has, colour skin or accent. The Amanzon tribes are as sacred as are endangered. their importance is paramount as it reminds the rest of us about the interconnection of all the things and the importance of living in harmony with nature. If these tribes disappear for good, the world will lose the last glimpse of heaven on earth. Dear Higher Power please protect them.

  3. Sparty says:

    My idea is to mobilize say a couple of hundred I-phones and ship them there alongside a half-dozen volunteers to give training on how to use them. Having those humans connected to their peers is primordial. Can we, as a connected unity, do that? PLEASE! Thank you, Oneness.

  4. Anonymous says:

    This is tragic indeed. No one knows anything because there is no media attention. There are only two comments now, which means that this isn't getting any attention. The caption says this is 'alleged' and it isn't time stamped. We don't know if this happened yesterday or last week. If we want to bring awareness to situations such as this one we must make it so we can insist that our local media will provide coverage for the story.

  5. Cathy says:


  6. Cathy says:

    SO, sad.

  7. Yes indeed we want to bring awareness to many situations in Amazon Native Nations such as this , We all know that all kind of Madness happens daily in all Native Tribe Nations around the whole world ... you all saw Papua - Australia - South Africa - Amazon Brasil " Xingu " ( Chico Mendes & Dorothy Stang ) and many more innocent People . I guess what we have to do is keep on Posting & Sending all the News we got : Patrick Rene this is a great idea some I-phone and training them it's a way to protect & denounce everything .

  8. So very awful!! Genocide all because of greed. My prayers and tears are flowing for all.

  9. Anonymous says:

    sad no much moore it s awfull

  10. Anonymous says:

    I'm Venezuelan, this brought tears to my eyes. Sadly this been happening for a long time, since I was a little girl I knew what a "garimpeiro" was. The goverment of Brazil and Venezuela are the one to blame. They have done nothig, clearly they don't care!!. Today I'm very sad. I WILL PRAY YOU MY DEAR YANOMAMI.

  11. Anonymous says:

    We studied the Yanomami in my Anthropology class in college. They are wonderful people and were at the time I was in school one of the few peoples untouched and undisturbed by "civilization". If can you do nothing else at least stop buying gold. I won't wear gold or diamonds. All diamonds are blood diamonds and gold is very damaging to the environment where ever it's mined. I know that children like bright shiny things but you all got to grow up sometime. You wear a big gold diamond ring on your finger and you think you are so hot? I think it makes you look like an idiot. You might as well smear some blood across your forehead. It looks the same to me.

  12. Anonymous says:

    This is very depressing, to realize that Genocide is still taking place in 2012!!!
    I pray this madness stops immediately.....It must stop!!!
    The Tribes of the Amazon are caretakers of the Rainforest that supplies life to the Earth. Spread the word, get this story out there people!

    In love & light for the people. WampumDee

  13. Shame to be bourn in Brasil, a place with total lack of moral and responsability, the Garimpeiros survive because they bribe our federal police (Who is the most corrupt of all). Nothing will come out of this unless the media pressure the police, unfortunely the media is owned by the politics who pressure the high rank police to pressure the regular police members to get a weekly bribe from the garimpeiros, every dirt fucker gets a piece of the dirty money that now has blood on it too. Nothing now... unfortunely. Really, REALLY sad when inocent people die and suffer.

  14. Mylabonte says:

    I weep tears to hear of this. Stories like these develop intense emotions in me. Stories like these push me to continue a life of academia to help the Indigenous population of the world. My heart goes out to the Yanomami in hopes justice is served and reconciliation is achieved.

  15. Anonymous says:

    Too many Indigenous tribes are being hurt because of 3rd & 4th World poverty. I am glad that it takes weeks for each tribe to meet, but in the case of Emergency-not so good. if we gave a little more to the the men that mine-offering them Alternative Employment etc...Oh the list is endless and complex... All Indigenous Tribes COULD be protected-->we protect Ancient Buildings *UNESCO* but what about Ancient Cultures! This Beggars Belief !

  16. Anonymous says:

    anonymous, is there any way that we the little people can help? this is so incredibly awfully!

  17. Anonymous says:

    I-Phones? Are you serious?

  18. Anonymous says:

    It's a shame that they couldn't have been helped before this happened.

  19. Anonymous says:

    Horrendous, I hope this is investigated FULLY

  20. Anonymous says:

    @Patrick Rene. Yes, good idea. The only way they can survive is to adapt to the sick western way of living. Let's give them all other stuff as well... metro system, traffic jams, drugs, Jesus, .. all the good things we have..

  21. Jean says:

    The indigenous people of this world are the rainbow of humanity. We who claim to be so civilized must do our part to protect them all. We can go to the moon in rockets but can't protect our earth and its inhabitants. All creatures great and small deserve to live peacefully together with out fear of unnatural destruction. My heart goes out to the Yanomami and others who face this type of genocide. God Bless them and care for their needs.

  22. Anonymous says:

    I only hope that real justice comes to those that did this evil act and be sent to a life term in jail or the death penalty for those innocent lives they slaughtered. This is no different than what Columbus did, but in this case I hope they get deserve.

  23. agee says:

    Shame on the killers and I hope that justice prevails. Governments should act and not be mute spectators and should punish the culprits immediately...But we also know that all this act is Govt sponsored.

  24. Dean says:

    For gold... what the hell is wrong with people?

  25. Anonymous says:

    The garimpeiros (illegal gold miners) from Brazil are a scourge of Amazonia affecting all the countries of the region, including the French d├ępartement (≈ County) of Guyane where, just a few weeks ago, they ambushed and killed two French gendarmes (policemen). Those thugs murder indigenous people with quasi impunity and their activities cause massive mercury pollution of rivers and land. They also operate prostitution and slavery in their jungle hideouts. As I am a Frenchman passionate about biodiversity, the environment and indigenous rights, I am paying special attention to those issues, as they affect Guyane. Since the 1990s, French police and army units have been rather ineffectively patrolling the vast areas of wilderness where the garimpeiros operate. When a garimpeiro camp is located, it and its equipment and stores are destroyed. However, the garimpeiros themselves are seldom caught as they go hide in the jungle. Those who are arrested are deported back to Brazil but they keep coming back. We are far too "civilized"; they should be made outlaws wanted dead, forget about "or alive".

  26. Anonymous says:

    nooooooo!!!!!!!!! why? its not worth it.

  27. Heletuusi says:

    Simply make those garimpeiros pay more and more taxes!!!
    We should try to put a tax based on the amount of gold and destruction made and pay the money back to these people...
    The one that asked to equip them with phones was right too...
    Satellite cells would be great as they could stay tuned quite easily

  28. Anonymous says:

    This is one of those things that make me loose complete hope on humanity, I really try to see things beyond the obvious but its really hard to understand sometime.
    May their souls be reunited with the source.

  29. Anonymous says:


  30. Unknown says:

    I come from a race whose freedom to live independently with self-sufficiency had been destroyed by the British and the Indians invasions. We would have preferred to be left alone as we were without interference of any outside forces but in the process of the invasions, many of my people were murdered, raped, tortured and houses burnt and left to live in hidings in our own mountains. The British left us at the mercy of the Indian goverment who are still torturing and killing our people who are struggling for the right to self-determination. To the outside world, we, our struggle and our cries are still unknown, because the Indian goverment will not allow foreigners and medias to step into our land. We are the 'Nagas' from 'Nagaland', a nation we call ourselves lying between India, Mayanmar and Bangladesh. I believe the Yanomami Indians have the right to exist as human-beings and their existence should not be threatened by any kinds of forces. They should be left alone as they were and the UN and world bodies should take the initiative to take necessary action against anyone that endanger these people. The culprits must be punished for their heinous crime.
    We may think that it would do good to educate the Yanomami people and bring them to the light but in reality, they would prefer to be left alone without interference from anyone and that has to be respected. Their world is much more purer then our chaotic world. May God bless them.

  31. Unknown says:

    my thoughts are not good about this!! but my heart goes out too those who lost everything ( family )all for the sake of a gold coin ! deeply sorry too hear this. may heavenly father be with you in all what you stand in need of amen xxx xx

  32. Anonymous says:

    people flying off the handle please stop with feelings from the heart. The people want to remain WHO/WHERE they are. I believe the ONLY solution is to have overseers/caretakers for tribes like this. You do not need to interfer or change them if they do not want it. That was the problem with my ancestors. Native Americans wanted to remain with their old ways/laws. BUT people HAD to help by forcefully removing them and forcefully removing the children to learn english. Learn something from the past. Learn and grow WITH them from a distance. If they wanted your new ways they would have chose to do so a whole lot before this. Be their caretakers with donations/help but again from a damn distance. Like a beautiful butterfly, you should never touch but observe

  33. Anonymous says:

    It's the tremendously sad consequence of primitive expansionism and greed and unfortunately seems destined to continue while growth economies reflect capitalist values that have no regard for cultural diversity (human or other). Until people de-colonise their minds of hierarchical, linear thought and move to lateral intuitive processes we seem doomed to die as a heartless, ignorant species. Graeme Innes, Australia

  34. Anonymous says:

    Dreadful news. I will charish their photo's above as people I admire and greatly value for their knowledge of the rain forest and peaceful ways. Live on ♥

  35. In America we should have slaughtered the pilgrims when we had the chance.
    And statements made by an Anonymous person don't count, whats the matter, you have a lot to say,If you were real you would be proud to be known for your views.

  36. iphones are the answer??? I'm sorry, but whoever said that needs to be caged with all the rest of the modern day technology pushers. Wake up! Don't you 'get' that iphones and that kind of bull are the very REASON for this kind of thing? Now you're going to try to save them by pushing that down their throat as the answer? The problem is the solution?? Please. Leave them alone. Protect their rights to live uncompromised. When shtf, they'll be the ones we all have to turn to for advice on how to live without all our fictional necessities.

  37. Anonymous says:

    This is bullshit !
    I am brazilian and i can assure you guys that this did not happen.
    If so, several activist organizations would be calling international press to report this worlwide.

  38. Anonymous says:


  39. Anonymous says:

    That kind of thing happens to Yanomami since 70's when brasilian government was constructing the 174 road and after with Balbina hidreletrica.

  40. Anonymous says:

    Sorry, i confuse with the indians waimiri atroari, that suffered with the mining company Tabosa too.

  41. Anonymous says:

    earlier comments say to send cell phones; they don't have towers so the phones would be totally useless. Connie Lee / Red Lake Band of Chippewa Indians/ MN

  42. Janice32 says:

    Please lets do something to help these people.

  43. cathy says:


  44. Anonymous says:

    Yet another attack on the First Nations of the Americas. People keep saying let it go, it was in the past all these atrocities, yet it continues to this very day! Even though we are many nations, we are one people, all of us connected! This act of greed does not only affect the Yanomami people, but all First Nations peoples, on these continents and around the world! These are the courses of actions that cause people to rise up and take arms, and then the uneducated population (which is a very large percentage of the population) become angered at the peoples trying to protect themselves, trying to stand up for themselves, trying to save what little they have left for their own people as the oppressor continues to rape the lands these people have depended upon for thousands of years! Ignorance is no longer an excuse! Where will the gold get them when they have no medicines from the Amazon to make them well. When the cure for cancer has left with the rainforest. All hail the golden idol! Whereas man will overlook this crime in the name of ignorance, progress, etc...Karma, the law of attraction, Great Spirit, call it what you will, may you bring upon these murderers that which they have done to the innocent Yanomami people so that they may know the wrong of their actions through natural law/consequence.

  45. Avtars go out like avtars and return as even more powerful buddahs... Cowards and demons win the battle but not the war and will spend an eternal happening in a state of hell mind as the lovers and awakeners enjoy life source power as a capacity outside of time taking form only to become conscious of source (ourselves)in an eternal dance through infinite planets where our rain forests are created for all for ever... But that does not mean we shall allow the sacred mother earth to be abused by demons. Avatar Meher Rain Forest Friends! We love you and feel you and stand with you!

  46. Anonymous says:

    these people must get their revenge. the garimpeiros misery must be more severe.

  47. Kamil tom says:

    How could Mr. James Cameron know this so exactly and with perfect details in 2009????

  48. This is sick and outragous. How can they be allowed to get away with it?
    I will add this information and link back to this article from my website. More people need to know what is happing in the Amazon.

  49. Anonymous says:


  50. Anonymous says:

    i can`t believe it
    we still live medieval? it is simply a crime! Shame of power!
    i pray for humanity!

  51. Anonymous says:

    This is terrible news.The pleople have the right to live as they wish..They have their own ways and know how to treat the earth..Life is worth more than gold..I hope these murders are brought to justice. Kind regards Mary.

  52. Anonymous says:

    This is history repeating itself and this goes on all the time of social cleansing. How many indigenous tribal villages are left? How many are known? I bet none are protected and there is nothing we can do as we don't see it, and who knows where CIA send their hitmen out too destroy. The cost of living is also driving illegal land evictions for gain by locals desperate for money. The indigenous tribal way of life now mean's nothing. Greed kills, our governments are corrupt and this they believe is their world. God help the tribal folk.

  53. Anonymous says:

    And "god" really exists, right.... Where are the human rights rich idiots to defend them? Where are the hypocrites to have their heads smashed.....

  54. Beth D says:

    If we stopped supporting this corrupt capitalist system perhaps this would be less profitible for these people. My heart is with the village people who have died and the survivors.

  55. Anonymous says:

    SICK, GREEDY individuals-oh this makes me so sick to my stomach. They don't deserve to be in that country or rather on mother earth.....pity them and their families.............sheeeesh!

  56. PCMcGee says:

    To all you bleeding hearts, thanks so much for your tears and/or prayers. Supremely useful, I can't tell you how much worse this would be if they didn't have you praying and/or weeping for them. Let's see if your prayers work and God saves the next batch? Idiots! Get off your knees and out of Wal-mart and make a difference, otherwise shut up, because you are useless piles of putrid dog vomit, and your protestations DO NOT MATCH YOUR ACTIONS, CONSUMERS.

  57. Unknown says:

    Who ever did it! I hope they all are haunted for the rest of their lifes! Its hurts to know people are that damn greedy to kill just to get what the fuck they want. I will cry for these people.

  58. Anonymous says:

    cuidado con el hombre blanco............

  59. Anonymous says:

    Patrick Rene-Yes, Iphones is what they need...there must be an app for saving ancient indigenous ways of life.

  60. Annie Lue says:

    Om mani Pedme Hum... Peace .. Let the Native People LIVE in their own way.. PLEASE DO NOT HURT THEM...

  61. Is very bad when the children have to suffer through this hatred of thievery of minerals and much more also population control" This drama done by I suspect people of power and blamed on others.

  62. Anonymous says:

    I have been reading that reports like this have been manufactured by the US government in their continuing effort to de-stabilize the current Venezuelan government and Chavez, with the aim to establish a figure-head that will kowtow to US interests. A continuing trend for the US government over the years.

    If this is true, it seems to be working, if it is in fact false and these people were massacred my heart goes out for them and the people responsible must be brought to justice and the remaining tribes be protected.

  63. Unknown says:

    This is freak`en sad :(

  64. happening around the world this is a land grab. they dont care about the ppl. any where just the land and resources. there are many arms to this world gov. that out sources it demands. this is known fact.

  65. Anonymous says:

    I agree with alot of you about helping these saddened people. We should help but leave them to their tribal ways. Let them be innocent to technology. This is so horrible, an atrocity. Of course they need our prayers to the Great Spirit but they also need intervention. But so many time a country goes in and feels like they need to change them "for the better". Leave them alone and take out the greedy, thieving ones. ALL NATIVE PEOPLE NEED TO HAVE THEIR OWN LAWS AND TRADITIONS AND IMPORTANTLY THEIR SPOKEN LANGUAGE. Not everyone needs to speak English.

  66. Anonymous says:

    How very very sad. My heart and prayers go to the people who lost their love ones!!!

  67. Poor bastards! Instead of missionaries saving their souls through Baptism they encounter greedy inhuman devils who care nothing about salvation!

  68. anybody could post this to Avaaz to ask for a global petition?

  69. Anonymous says:

    After a long development chain of beasts human came out. It is difficoult or impossible to educate big part of individuals of the species. Is there a human solution for those?

  70. Afiomai says:


  71. Anonymous says:

    I hope the truth will be revealed this is very disturbing. I am First Nations from British Columbia just had returned from Peru at the end of July. It is a very wild place. I am sure these things could happen there in the jungle. The world needs to know the truth. I have read all the comments here. Who is in charge of the safekeeping of the indigenous peoples there. Someone post some international contacts/organizations because I want to know more.

  72. Anonymous says:

    Just a question??? Do you think they have power or even a cell tower??????

  73. Anonymous says:

    It is very sad and tragic indeed, that this go on in th 21st century is appalling, but seriously ... Iphones???? What do you suggest they plug it into? A current bush? Is there even a cell tower close? Dumbest idea I ever hear!!!

  74. Anonymous says:

    Totaly agree!!! Well said

  75. Lorrz says:

    My hearts weeps for those ALL those tangata(people) who were MURdEREd!!!..

  76. Anonymous says:

    How do we share this story?

  77. Anonymous says:

    Thoughts and prayers for the innocent people for those who lost their lives in this massacre.

  78. Unknown says:

    An Iphone can be used as a satellite phone in remote areas, no towers needed. A tribe could have a single phone they only turn on in an emergency. They could also get footage with it, to help their case at a later date. Obviously it would be ideal if these people could live like they always have, but if this story is accurate, its unlikely those responsible will be found, due to the time it took to alert anyone.

    The bigger problem is humanities thirst for new things. An iphone contains about 50 cents worth of gold that unlike jewelry, will end up in toxic landfills. They are about to bring out the iphone5, that's the fifth generation in five years. Most small electric devices, including the computers we are using contains gold. As the population grows, our need for precious metals will increase. And once we have polluted all the rivers and wells, and killed of all the trees, we will realise we can't eat iphones.

    Peace and Plenty to the Yanomami people,
    From Australia

  79. Anonymous says:

    I'm shocked that such horror still invades these people :(

  80. Anonymous says:

    So can anybody tell me if it's a true story or not!?

  81. Ana Gomes says:

    Disgusting and shameful!!!!

  82. Anonymous says:

    We must keep the fight against european invaders!!! Protect Mother Earth and its people!
    AYAYA! Pacha Kutec Inka Yupanki!

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