What’s this man selling? – Cartier bought some of it, did you, too?

Pedro Pérez Miranda, alias “Peter Ferrari”

Anyone who is considering buying or wearing gold should see the “Dirty Gold” episode of Netflix’s extraordinary documentary anthology series, “Dirty Money”! It’s a real life version of “Narcos“!

Ferrari was one of the principal culprits involved in a monumental scheme to smuggle gold illegally mined in Peru to Miami, a focal point of the gold and jewelry business as well as the business of money laundering.

Not only gold jewelry, watches and accessories corporations like Cartier were unintentionally buying this illegal gold, it was also bought by Apple for their phones and by automobile companies for electronic components. Could money you spent on something you purchased have subsidized Ferrari’s yacht or cars?

Did Ferrari receive your inadvertent contribution to his business and leisure activities?

Netflix’s “Dirty Gold” traces the hidden functioning of Miami’s nebulous gold trade which helps powerful organized crime groups in Latin America whitewash their criminal profits.

The Miami Herald published an extensive investigation of the international drug trade they titled: “How drug lords make billions smuggling gold to Miami for your jewelry and phones.

photo: Dirty Gold Clean Cash – Miami Herald Illustration

“A large part of the gold that’s commercialized in the world comes stained by blood and human rights abuses. 

One big difference between cocaine and gold? Cocaine is obviously illegal. With gold, it’s hard to tell. Papers can be forged. The metal can be melted and remelted until its origin is impossible to pinpoint. 

Here’s how gold fits in: Drug-cartel associates posing as precious-metals traders buy and mine gold in Latin America. Cocaine profits are their seed money. They sell the metal through front companies — hiding its criminal taint — to refineries in the United States and other major gold-buying nations like Switzerland, Italy, England and the United Arab Emirates. Once the deal is made, the cocaine kingpins have successfully turned their dirty gold into clean cash. To the outside world, they’re not drug dealers anymore; they’re gold traders. That’s money laundering.

Mining regions in the rainforest have become epicenters of human trafficking, disease and environmental destruction, according to government officials and human rights investigators. Miners are forced into slavery. Prostitutes set up camps near the miners, fueling the spread of sexually transmitted infections. One human rights group found that 2,000 sex workers, 60 percent of them children, were employed in a single gold mining area in Peru. Meanwhile, strip mining and the indiscriminate use of mercury to ferret out gold are turning swaths of the world’s most biodiverse ecosystems into a nightmarish moonscape.

Peru declared a temporary state of emergency over widespread mercury poisoning in Madre de Dios, a jungle province rife with illegal mining. Nearly four in five adults in the area’s capital city tested positive for dangerous levels of mercury…” 

 Photo: gold miner using his body to mix mercury with ore and water  / “Dirty Gold” – Netflix

As much as 75% of the gold extracted each year is used for jewelry, watches and other vain and futile status symbols sold by Cartier and other corporations in the luxury and discount gold jewelry industry worldwide.  

photo: screenshot from Dirty Gold / Netflix

Tens of thousands of rainforest trees must be uprooted, hundreds of tons of soil mined and mixed with dozens of tons of toxic environmental pollutants that contaminate Indigenous lands for that one special gold ring…

photos: screenshots from “Dirty Gold” / Netflix

Organized crime, drug cartels, refineries and banks are complicit and the criminals in charge of the gold industry’s real “chain of custody” will simply smuggle it through neighboring countries if a government attempts to crack down. The details are illustrated in this report: report from NGO Instituto Escolhas.What they don’t tell you about Gold” (Excellent graphics with text in English and Portuguese).

Photo: Gold mining destruction in Peru’s Madre de Dios region seen from space – NASA

Here are excerpts from a recent article in Reuters:

« …even the central bank does not know if the gold it buys is legal or illegal.

…called on the government to take steps to break a network that launders illegal gold through the financial system for sale to buyers in countries like Switzerland and Britain.

Currently, gold is sold with paper receipts based on the ‘good faith’ of the seller, making it impossible to trace its origin. » 

« Accounting for gold »

Huge quantities of gold flow around the world every year. Behind this insatiable appetite is a dark truth of money laundering, illegal mining, environmental damage and human misery.

image: Insight Crime

Recent estimates show that illegal gold extraction accounts for 28% of gold mined in Peru, 30% in Bolivia, 50% in Brazil, 77% in Ecuador, 80% in Colombia, & 80–90% in Venezuela. It is estimated that the value of illegal gold exports is comparable to the value of cocaine exports.

If your watch is not only telling you what time it is, but also indicating that you are a status seeker because of the gold (and diamonds?) it features, it’s time to rethink your values and realize that nature is far, far more valuable than gold.

Please consider not upgrading your phone as long as it’s working properly. Resist the advertising that wants you to believe that newer is better!

Please help end the cycle of deforestation and devastation for the sake of nature, wildlife and Indigenous peoples! 

The consumption of gold, this unnecessary, environment-ravaging product fueled by publicity that attempts to convince the gullible that owning gold confers glamor or worth must end!

The power and responsibility lies with us; consumers. If we purchase gold or other products from deforestation, we’re complicit.

And please boycott all products from deforestation; gold, palm oil, gemstones, exotic wood, soy, beef, etc. !!!

About Barbara Crane Navarro - Rainforest Art Project

I'm a French artist living near Paris. From 1968 to 1973 I studied at Rhode Island School of Design in Providence, Rhode Island, then at the San Francisco Art Institute in San Francisco, California, for my BFA. My work for many decades has been informed and inspired by time spent with indigenous communities. Various study trips devoted to the exploration of techniques and natural pigments took me originally to the Dogon of Mali, West Africa, and subsequently to Yanomami communities in Venezuela and Brazil. Over many years, during the winters, I studied the techniques of traditional Bogolan painting. Hand woven fabric is dyed with boiled bark from the Wolo tree or crushed leaves from other trees, then painted with mud from the Niger river which oxidizes in contact with the dye. Through the Dogon and the Yanomami, my interest in the multiplicity of techniques and supports for aesthetic expression influenced my artistic practice. The voyages to the Amazon Rainforest have informed several series of paintings created while living among the Yanomami. The support used is roughly woven canvas prepared with acrylic medium then textured with a mixture of sand from the river bank and lava. This supple canvas is then rolled and transported on expeditions into the forest. They are then painted using a mixture of acrylic colors and Achiote and Genipap, the vegetal pigments used by the Yanomami for their ritual body paintings and on practical and shamanic implements. My concern for the ongoing devastation of the Amazon Rainforest has inspired my films and installation projects. Since 2005, I've created a perfomance and film project - Fire Sculpture - to bring urgent attention to Rainforest issues. To protest against the continuing destruction, I've publicly set fire to my totemic sculptures. These burning sculptures symbolize the degradation of nature and the annihilation of indigenous cultures that depend on the forest for their survival.
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2 Responses to What’s this man selling? – Cartier bought some of it, did you, too?

  1. Pingback: What’s this man selling? – Cartier bought some of it, did you, too? — Barbara Crane Navarro – Tiny Life

  2. Pingback: What’s this man selling? – Cartier bought some of it, did you, too? | Ned Hamson's Second Line View of the News

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