Some 1,300 metres above sea level, where millennia-long tectonic movements pushed golden veins to the upper crusts of the earth, sits an ancient town.
The village now is at the centre of an international legal battle, because of a free trade agreement that enables multinational companies to claim high sums of money from the Colombian state at a World Bank tribunal if projects are perceived to be unrightfully halted or blocked.
Read my article for VICE Canada.
Following a peace deal with rebels, another conflict threatens residents: a massive dam project that has displaced thousands.
Read the report by Joe Parkin Daniels and myself for The Guardian.
San José de Cúcuta, Colombia: de zon brandt meedogenloos op de hoofden van de honderden Venezolanen die al vier uur in de rij staan voor het Colombiaanse immigratiekantoor bij de Bolívar Brug. Zakjes water worden uitgedeeld in een tent van het Rode Kruis, waar migranten ook van een internetverbinding en telefoon gebruik kunnen maken om familieleden van hun soms dagenlange tocht op te hoogte te houden.
Lees mijn verhaal voor Vrij Nederland.
It’s about the distance of a drive from Berlin to Athens. The 2,219-kilometre long Colombian-Venezuelan border has long been porous and difficult to manage. There are seven official crossings, but nearly 300 clandestine trails, called trochas, are fought over for control by various illegal armed groups, used by smugglers and crossed daily by thousands of migrants, often at great risk.
Read my article for IRIN News.
Cucuta, Colombia – A pink stroller is surrounded by rubbish where children covered in dirt linger around a makeshift camp under a bridge in Colombia’s Cucuta.
The anesthetised gaze in the children’s eyes reflects their precarious health situation which worsens by the week.
Read my article for Al Jazeera.
President Nicolás Maduro, an enigmatic smile blossoming beneath his tradmark mustache, proudly displays a gold ingot to the Venezuelan press. The metal is reportedly part of a batch dug and processed inside the Arco Minero, a vast area covering 112,000 square kilometers (43,243 square miles), south of the Orinoco River and in the Venezuelan Amazon.
Meanwhile, in the middle of the Arco Minero, a minerals expert who asks not to be named out of concern for his safety, flashes an even bigger smile as he casts doubt on the authenticity of that ingot and of the first batch of Arco Minero gold.
Read my article for Mongabay.