Aerial view of an illegal mine located in Canaima National Park, Bolivar State, South-Eastern Venezuela. (Al Arabiya)

January 16, 2019

Lebanese militant group Hezbollah controls gold exploration mines in Venezuela, opposition lawmaker Américo De Grazia revealed this week.

In an interview with Miami-based Spanish newspaper Diario las Américas, De Grazia was criticizing President Nicolas Maduro’s Orinoco Mining Arc, a mega-mining project to explore 12 percent of Venezuela’s territory for non-renewable metals and minerals.

Venezuela is known to have some of the world’s largest gold reserves, many of which are beneath the soil of the “mining arc,” along with diamonds, coltan, bauxite and other riches.

De Grazia said Hezbollah, as well as the National Liberation Army – a Marxism-aligned armed group involved in the continuing Colombian armed conflict – are “exploiting the mega-mining project to dig for gold.”

The politician, who serves as National Assembly deputy representing the mining state of Bolivar in southeastern Venezuela, said Hezbollah “controls a number of special mines to finance terrorist operation for the regime it serves,” in reference to Iran.

De Grazia said Maduro’s mining project was a “government scam to satisfy Russian, Turkish or Chinese negotiators and get cash.”

The legal basis of Maduro’s second presidential term following the elections in May last year was declared as fraudulent by most of the international community, although not Russia, Turkey or China.

Al Arabiya

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Track PersiaTrack Persia is a Platform run by dedicated analysts who spend much of their time researching the Middle East, in due process we fall upon many indications of growing expansionary ambitions on the part of Iran in the MENA region and the wider Islamic world. These ambitions commonly increase tensions and undermine stability.