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conceptual mapping >  building peace  > The lost world : diamond mining and smuggling in Venezuela

Partnership Africa Canada (PAC)

The lost world : diamond mining and smuggling in Venezuela

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> Occasional Paper n° 16, November 2006

Venezuela, a country that annually produces an estimated 150,000 carats of diamonds, has officially exported none since January 2005. Although it is a member of the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme (KPCS) for controlling rough diamonds, it has essentially dropped off the KPCS radar. Recent efforts to halt illicit mining in Venezuela have led only to violence and death. A combination of high taxes, ineffective currency controls and bureaucratic ineptitude has driven Venezuela’s diamond dealers underground. Lax controls allow them to smuggle the country’s entire annual diamond production out through Brazil, Guyana, Hong Kong, the United States and Belgium.

In this report, Partnership Africa Canada concludes that Venezuela should be expelled from the KPCS if the Kimberley Process wishes to maintain any semblance of order and integrity. The report further concludes that Venezuela must bring its diamond mining, trading and exporting under control. The report notes the prominent role played by Brazilians, and the route through the Brazilian city of Boa Vista, in the smuggling of diamonds from Venezuela to Guyana. The report recommends that the Kimberley Process assist in dismantling this route by creating and chairing a tripartite commission of enquiry and adjudication to coordinate a process of dialogue on diamond production and control procedures in Venezuela, Brazil and Guyana.

document de référence rédigé le : 1 November 2006

date of on-line publication : 8 February 2007

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