Accepted Paper:

Chasing "El Dorado" from the Amazon to Europe: isolated tribes, triple frontiers, and global banks  

Author:

Ruth Goldstein (Harvard University )

Paper short abstract:

This paper examines the effects and struggles for human rights of artisanal gold mining on multiple actors: isolated tribes, Andean migrants, civil servants, and NGO workers in the triple-frontier Amazonian region of Brazil, Peru, and Bolivia known as "El Dorado” by early Spanish explorers.

Paper long abstract:

This paper examines the effects of artisanal gold mining on multiple actors: isolated tribes, Andean migrants, civil servants, and NGO workers in the triple-frontier Amazonian region of Brazil, Peru, and Bolivia. Known as "El Dorado" by early Spanish explorers, this region continues to carry the mystique of richness, stimulating massive migrations of men to the gold mines and women to mining brothels. The region is also home to isolated tribes, clashing with the gold miners. The gold travels to banks as far as away as Zurich and Dubai, initially transported along the Interoceanic Road. Latin America's newest and longest thoroughfare cuts horizontally across the continent, redefining definitions of what "a border" means. Towns, people, forests, and mountains now have a new geography of connectivity, which has also led to conflict. The road itself represents a boundary, delimiting how and when people, alpacas, sheep, and lamas may move. In the race for gold, governance, and political sovereignty, indigenous groups fighting to keep their land from wildcat miners, protect their isolated "brothers," and manage internal conflict about development, must interface with three different States, each with different views on human rights and autochthony. In this fluid landscape of moving people, expansive rainforest, sporadic yet violent State presence, what territorial border, property, and ownership signify changes must be reconciled through three national governments and international finance.

Panel Mig006
Border control policies and borderland social practices