When the cacique Raoni Metuktire came to Paris to speak, he asked that Europeans stop eating meat in order to protect the peoples of the Xingu from the destruction of their territory by the agro-industry. Along the same line of thought, all of you, speaking on behalf of the Yanomami, should ask people in Europe to stop buying, selling and wearing gold in order to protect Yanomami territory from the predatory industry of gold merchandise.
Cartier, the luxury gold watch and jewelry company inviting you to come to Paris to speak is making money from the sympathy that French people feel for the Yanomami and using you all as promotional gifts to greenwash their involvement in the extractivist gold industry. The exposition “The Yanomami Struggle” is being presented by the very industry that is causing the destruction to indigenous lives.
Cartier operates more than 300 stores in 125 countries. Owned by the Richemont Group, Cartier is its most profitable business and most valuable brand. Compagnie Financière Richemont is the third wealthiest of the big luxury industry conglomerates worldwide.
There is no sustainable way to extract gold. Forests are destroyed to make way for mining pits and rivers are contaminated. Cyanide is used in the legal gold mining industry instead of the mercury used in illegal mining but the toxic results of using cyanide are the same. The gold industry is a labyrinth of miners, bankers, traffickers, and luxury shops. Even in large-scale, industrial legal gold mining there are lax regulations, land grabbing, government-sanctioned expropriation and toxic waste.
Drug cartels and organized crime control the illegal gold distribution market and this illegal supply chain goes all over the globe, commanding an important share of the world’s gold merchandise. These narco-traffickers are contributing to deadly violence in indigenous territories of the Amazon region. Their operations used to rely principally on drug trafficking and now depend on buying and selling gold in order to launder their illegal drug money. One of the reasons illegal gold is so valuable to criminal groups is that, unlike cocaine, there’s a legal version that looks exactly like it. Once gold is processed in a refinery, it is no longer traceable and criminal networks push dirty gold to corporations like Cartier, among others.
Cartier represents the commodity fetishism of luxury jewelry – items that are functionally useless to human society. You can click on this link: cartier.com.br to see what luxury gold items they are selling in Brazil and then you can click on Fondation Cartier at the bottom of the page to see how they are selling you to make it seem as though they care about the forest and indigenous people while they continue to sell gold to the world.
The Netflix episode “Dirty Gold” – part of the series “Dirty Money” – a documentary about the gold industry being used for money laundering by drug cartels since 2007, mentions Cartier by name. Behind the huge quantities of dirty gold moving around the world lies a tangled web of dirty money, illegal mining and environmental devastation.
It is appalling that 75% of the gold dug out of the earth yearly is destined to be made into jewelry, watches and other useless status symbols marketed by the luxury goods industry. The result of the delirium for owning and wearing gold adornments is irreversible destruction of ecosystems and the degradation of indigenous lives by gold miners and now potentially death from the coronavirus they propagate…
“We all breathe the same air, we all drink the same water, we all live on a single Earth. We all must protect her.” – cacique Raoni Metuktire
“You must make every choice as though the life of your Earth Mother depended upon it, as though your own life depended upon it, as though your children’s lives depended upon it.” – John Lundin