Deep inside the jungle of French Guiana is unfolding a war that does not get much public interest. Young soldiers coming from continental France are sent into the jungle of Guiana to fight organized gangs coming from Brazil and looking for one thing, gold. The soldiers’ mission in Guiana is lasting only 4 months, after that, they are so tired and injured that they are usually sent back to France and get replaced by new blood.
Beside the scars caused by gold mining, legal or illegal, the forest of French Guiana are still pretty much there and intact, covering 95% of a territory two times the size of Switzerland. According to the Paris Natural History Museum, 80% of its wildlife are still waiting to be discovered. The forest is so difficult to penetrate that usually scientist are choosing a different playground.
On this day, the soldiers really want to hit the garimpeiros hard. They head into the forest at night, well decided to bypass every known trails to surprise gold miners. After 6 hours walking and some incredibly difficult paths, the moment of truth is there, the camp is 30 meters in front of them, with 3 garimpeiros visible. After regrouping they finally launch the assault. Unable to catch the gold miners, they seize 7 motors pump are found in the camp, this is huge and the biggest they ever had in just a single day. Far from everything, the only thing the soldiers can do is to destroy everything they can find, motors, tubes, gas, food, plastic cover, everything. Using tools left by gold miners, they struggle for a couple of hours to destroy the motors and set the camp in fire.
Soldiers have sometime doubts about their effectiveness, about the grand political schemes of the fight against illegal gold mining. They reflect that the very same gold miners the scared off in the camp could return to the very same camp the next day. Tired of all this, they keep their smile knowing that during they service, they have made the garimpeiros’ life much more difficult.
In the very same forest, a jaguar is crossing a path, symbol of the incredible diversity and mystery of those French Guiana forest, now more in danger than ever.
2 septembre 2019