Lara breastfed Nina for a month. She gave birth and left the baby with the grandmother to go to work in the gold mines of southern Venezuela. Since she cannot afford to buy formula, the grandmother feeds the baby with rice cream. Nina belongs to a generation of Venezuelan children affected by malnutrition, lack of immunization, and emotional emptiness, due to the disconnection with their mothers, who cannot keep in touch in mines located in isolated places in the Venezuelan Amazon.
Even though there are no official figures regarding the amount of people working in the Venezuelan mining areas, in 2018 the Amazon Network of Georeferenced Socio-Environmental Information (RAISG, by its Spanish acronym) estimated that about 189,000 people worked in mines in the Venezuelan Amazon.
This approach shows the social impact of the gold economy on early childhood. It is an underreported story, since mining is usually told through the perspective of the male miner. And no other journalistic coverage in Venezuela has focused on children separated from their mothers within the gold mining context.
This multimedia investigation will be published by Venezuelan website Prodavinci, in collaboration with Univision Noticias in the U.S. and these local media outlets: Correo del Caroní, El Carabobeño, Diario La Nación, Radio Fe y Alegría, the Public Information Service, and Arepita.