VENEZUELAN INDIAN LEADER PROTEST GOLD MINING PROJECT
An Indian chief from Venezuela's remote southeastern region holds a banner in Congress June 26, 1997. About 80 Indian leaders came to the capital to urge legislators to oppose a government scheme to turn the huge Imataca tropical forest reserve into a major gold producing area. According to government officials, the environmentally sensitive Imataca reserve contains about $150 billion worth of gold reserves and is being destroyed by about 20,000 illegal miners. But the Indian leaders said the reserve, which is the same size as El Salvador, needs to be protected from both legal and illegal miners alike.