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Jan 27, 2014

Move over xaté; gold panning by Guatemalans is new illegal activity in the Chiquibul

The Chiquibul Forest Reserve has seen increased national exposure following a symposium which drew attention to the park, its benefits and challenges. One of the biggest challenges in recent years has been incursions by Guatemalans, who cross the border to take advantage of the natural wealth within the boundaries of the Chiquibul. While the traditional booty is timber and xaté, the new prize is gold. According to Executive Director of the Friends for Conservation and Development, panning for gold is lucrative and less labor intensive than logging and harvesting xaté. It’s a practice that the FCD has been monitoring for the past year and a half, and it shows no signs of abating. This morning the FCD dropped by our studios to send a wake-up call, because the monitoring and protection of the forest reserve has gotten much more difficult to maintain.


Rafael Manzanero, Executive Director, FCD

Rafael Manzanero

“Gold panning activity has been recorded over the last year and a half. At the time, we had thought that intervention could have been at conservation posts which was really the beginning then of the Ceibo Chico Conservation Post. I would say that that practically was able to help, was able to prevent much more the escalation of illegal gold panning in that zone. However, now, the gold panners have been able to move more further into other areas where it is much harder to monitor and be able to conduct the arrests and detain people. So we have seen now more a bigger problem now in terms of gold panning. Certainly it is more lucrative than the xaté extraction. In the beginning we could see the leaves that would be taken out and of course gold even in the market—internationally and locally—it would seem to be increasing in price. So think that it is lucrative and from what we have seen in the Chiquibul there, there is a good notion that there would be these gold deposits so people are coming in much more. It means that we need to have a different kind of tactical enforcement program. It means that we really need to just go in and stay there for multiple days in the zone and be able to conduct the particular activities of enforcement. I don’t think we will be able to install a conservation post there. The idea is really to put in people on the ground, to be able to put in rangers and the regulatory agencies and be able to arrest and address the situation. The other one of course is legislation. I think that from time to time we have noted that; how much would people be charged for an environmental offence. In gold mining, even our own authorities are not really clear, it seems to me, on how to put in those charges and to be effective in how to do that. So we have a lot of homework to do also in that part. The other section which is very important is the synchronization of those agencies. We are only an N.G.O. with a small amount of people. The only way on how really to put in a good effort is by combining forces.”


When he refers to combining forces, Manzanero is speaking directly to the Forest Department, the Department of the Environment, the Mining Unit and the Immigration Department. 

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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3 Responses for “Move over xaté; gold panning by Guatemalans is new illegal activity in the Chiquibul”

  1. curious says:

    Manza, u know how lang ah di read bout u cry and di govament no di do nothing? by di time di homework get done di gold done too pappy. so weh mek some a deh breddaz weh di kill up wan an anada no go fi pan gold too? like dat dey could ker deh guns wid dem fi protekshan fram di guats. e no mek betta sense fi we own breddaz dem benefit fram di gold adda dan jus sit bak n watch di guats enjoy di sweets? we atorities jus di sit bak an mek tings ride wile di guats no di waste time. deh di pan an by di time de govament waan stap it deh wa kant cause di guats wah done hav nuff money fi get deh protekshan. so dah weh unu di wait fa? unu di wait fi mek all di gold done an den we wah seh: buay if a mi know… Lataz, mek a go sleep now.

  2. ceo says:

    Hey Sedi why the heck you are mute on these matters?

  3. vicky says:


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