How global demand for precious metals—like the gold in your smartphone—is wreaking havoc across Latin America
From Mexico to Peru, organized crime and drug cartels have found a surprising but lucrative new business: mining for iron and gold.
Cartels have extracted millions of dollars worth of iron in Michoacan, Mexico. Vast sections of the Amazon jungle in Peru are being destroyed by illegal mining activities. In Colombia, people are dying at the hands of mafias who seek to take control of this black market.
So far, this has not raised international red flags in the same way that led to boycotts and bans on African blood diamonds. In fact, industries in the U.S. and other developed nations are actively importing this gold.
In Segovia, a Colombian municipality that has produced gold for more than 200 years, the conflict between miners, vigilante groups and narcos, has resulted in an explosive cocktail of violence and death.
In this immersive combination of journalism and gaming, you’ll be placed at the mouth of one of the area’s most treacherous mines. Take a look around and, using the arrow keys, walk toward people and signs to learn about the key players in a recent power struggle between a family of miners and cartel over control of the mine.
Then, step inside the mine and see how the real-life battle unfolded.
Mobile readers: Because of mobile browser limitations, this game only works on desktop. Bookmark it here so you can play later.
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Investigation by: Univision Investiga
Illustrations: Victor Abarca & Kent Hernandez
Special thanks to the people at Epic Games who helped us deliver this experience directly in your browser.