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English/ Español: Rubio Joins Menendez, Colleagues in Introducing Resolution on Illicit Gold Mining in Latin America

Sep 30, 2021 | Press Releases

Washington, D.C. — U.S. Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL) joined Senators Bob Menendez (D-NJ), Tim Kaine (D-VA), Ben Cardin (D-MD), and Ted Cruz (R-TX) in introducing a Senate Resolution calling attention to the rise in illicit mining and trafficking of gold in Latin America.

As the profits derived from illicit gold mining and trafficking surpass those generated by coca and cocaine production, this bipartisan Resolution outlines the pervasive challenges such practices pose for security, stability, and the environment in the Western Hemisphere. The Resolution also expresses the Senate’s staunch support for the rights of rural and indigenous populations adversely affected by the surge in illicit mining practices, and urges better coordination with governments and industry actors to mitigate the risks posed by illicit gold flows out of hotspots like Venezuela, where approximately 90 percent of gold extracted is mined illegally.

“As illegal mining and gold trafficking continues to wreak havoc on communities across Latin America, it is important the U.S. Senate calls for better coordination to counter this illicit activity,” Rubio said. “Back in 2018, during the Eighth Summit of the Americas, I was briefed by members of our diplomatic corps in Lima about the significant regional threat illegal gold mining poses for our national security interests. Since then, I have remained committed to tackling this grave issue – which enriches malign actors in our hemisphere.” 

“The astounding proliferation of illicit mining and trafficking over the last decade has degraded the environment and undermined legal trade. It has also led to heinous human rights abuses, largely against rural and indigenous communities, and incited a malaria epidemic that has reached levels not seen in the past 75 years,” Menendez said. “In Venezuela, Maduro has cast off the fetters of basic morality to continue lining the pockets of his regime from the illegal gold trade. I am proud to introduce this critical Resolution to combat illicit gold mining, making clear the United States Congress will not ignore the imperilment of the health, security, or safety of populations throughout the Western Hemisphere.”

“Illicit gold mining and trafficking in Latin America threatens U.S. national security and jeopardizes the safety, stability, and environment of the region and its people,” Kaine said. “I’m proud to join my colleagues in calling attention to this critical issue. We must work with our partners in the region to counter illicit mining and hold accountable those who condone and promote it, including the Maduro regime in Venezuela.” 

“The rise in illicit mining and trafficking of gold in Latin America poses a serious threat to the security, stability, and environment of the region,” Cardin said. “I have long been a champion of anti-corruption efforts, particularly transparency and regulation in global mining industries, and am proud to support this resolution – which also contributes to the human rights of the rural and indigenous populations that have been deeply affected by illicit gold mining practices.” 

“I’ve long worried about the use of gold as a monetary instrument of illicit finance. The Maduro regime traffics gold and precious metals to fuel its malign activities, including by exporting it abroad,” Cruz said. “In 2018 alone, Turkey purchased nearly a billion dollars of Venezuelan gold—more than the total trade between the two countries in the previous five years combined. We must make a concerted effort to disrupt such flow of illicit precious metals.”

Rubio is the Ranking Member, and Kaine is the Chairman, of the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on Western Hemisphere, Transnational Crime, Civilian Security, Democracy, Human Rights, and Global Women’s Issues.

Menendez is the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations. 


Washington, D.C. — El senador estadounidenses Marco Rubio (R-FL) se unió a los senadores Bob Menendez (D-NJ), Tim Kaine (D-VA), Ben Cardin (D-MD) y Ted Cruz (R-TX) para presentar una resolución en el senado de EE.UU. donde resaltan el aumento de la minería y el tráfico ilícito de oro en América Latina.
A medida que las ganancias derivadas de la extracción y el tráfico ilícitos de oro superan a las generadas por la producción de coca y cocaína, esta Resolución bipartidista describe los desafíos generalizados que tales prácticas plantean para la seguridad, la estabilidad y el medio ambiente en el hemisferio occidental. La Resolución también expresa el firme apoyo del Senado a los derechos de las poblaciones rurales e indígenas afectadas negativamente por el aumento de las prácticas mineras ilícitas, e insta a una mejor coordinación con los gobiernos y los actores de la industria para mitigar los riesgos que plantean los flujos ilícitos de oro que salen de puntos críticos como Venezuela. donde aproximadamente el 90 por ciento del oro extraído se extrae ilegalmente.
“Dado que la minería ilegal y el tráfico de oro continúan causando estragos en las comunidades de Latinoamérica, es importante que el Senado de EE.UU. pida una mejor coordinación para contrarrestar esta actividad ilícita”, Rubio dijo. “En el 2018, durante el marco de la Octava Cumbre de las Américas, miembros de nuestro cuerpo diplomático en Lima me dieron un informe detallado sobre la grave amenaza regional que representa la minería ilegal de oro para nuestros intereses de seguridad nacional. Desde entonces, he mantenido mi compromiso de abordar este grave problema, el cual enriquece a actores malignos en nuestro hemisferio”.
Rubio es el Miembro de Más Alto Rango del Subcomité sobre Hemisferio Occidental, Crimen Transnacional, Seguridad Civil, Democracia, DDHH y Asuntos Globales de la Mujer.