Venezuela’s Illegal Gold Mines Cause Death, Malaria, Gang Fights And Deforestation By Jaswin S. Singh | Mar 21, 2017 01:12 AM EDT Venezuela's illegal gold mines have caused not only deforestation but also gang fights, deaths of innocent people and miners alike plus malaria. Since Venezuela's economic crisis, the gang fights and deaths of innocent people have increased. Gangs and mafias are fighting for the gold in the Venezuelan forests. As the bloody mafia war is going on, miners are dying because of the unlicensed and unsupervised mining in the Amazon forest, reported Yahoo. Ender, an 18-year-old miner has been mining since he was 10 years old. He has observed too many deaths and gang fights to be even afraid and stop what he is doing. Just two weeks ago, three of Ender's friends were killed in his neighborhood of El Callao. "They were miners, but they started running around with gangsters," he said. Moreover, his own boss was killed because he does not want to pass his business to a mafia. In addition to that, two months ago, about 28 workers were massacred at a nearby mine. The local government of Venezuela said it was because of gang fights and territorial fights. Ever since the president's socialist government has driven Venezuela into a three-year recession with food shortage, there are more people who are risking their lives and are becoming miners. They work every day with their axes as they sleep in malaria-ridden camps. The highest numbers of malaria patients are men whose age is between 15 and 44. Most of them are miners in Bolivar, like Endar, where gold mining is booming. In 2013, there were 76,621 cases of malaria in Venezuela, said The Guardian. "There are a large number of miners drilling holes in search of minerals. These holes with stagnant water are breeding grounds for mosquitoes," says Jo Lines, a reader of malaria control and vector biology at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine. Not only illegal mining do this, even the legal ones have cause malaria to increase in Venezuela.