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Tracking Venezuela's gold

Most of it is back safe in Caracas. But it won't all be taken home to the bank
Chavez 2012 01 04Enlarge
Is he ready for 2012? (JUAN BARRETO/AFP/Getty Images)

Hugo Chavez said mid-last year that he was going to take all of Venezuela's gold reserves stored abroad and bring them home. 

And for the most part, he did

But he's leaving about 15 tons behind.

Most analysts figured Chavez had two motives for bringing it home.


Nicaragua goes back to gold

LA LIBERTAD, Nicaragua — Explosions in this region are no longer the sounds of civil war, but of prospectors searching for gold. 

Mystery "gold bars" found on Paris train may be a scam

A suitcase containing an estimated $1 million in gold bars was abandoned on a commuter train near Paris, but police now say the gold is fake.
Mystery gold paris train 01 03 2012Enlarge
French police are searching for the person who abandoned a suitcase containing 44 lbs of fake gold bars, found on board the RER train at Massy-Palaiseau station, near Paris. The gold bars pictured here are the real deal. (SAM PANTHAKY/AFP/Getty Images)

It was an enticing Paris mystery: who left a suitcase containing 44 pounds of gold bars on a commuter train at Massy-Palaiseau station?

A bomb squad was called in after a conductor on the RER train found a suspicious package left aboard. The locked blue metal case was found to contain 20 gold ingots, with an estimated value of $1 million.


Amazon rainforest imperiled in gold rush

PUERTO MALDONADO, Peru — Record gold prices are claiming an unlikely victim: the lush, spectacularly biodiverse rainforests of the Peruvian Amazon.

In-Depth Series: The Scramble for El Dorado

As the scramble heats up, some in Latin America are also being thrown aside.

A Christmas ecology story

Frankincense production in steep decline as tree from which the scent is derived is in startling decline and my be extinct before the end of the century
Burning frankincense still has ceremonial uses just as it did when it was presented to the infant Jesus by the Wise Men. But a new study says the aromatic wood that is the source of the world's frankincense may disappear before the end of the century. (CHRISTOF STACHE/AFP/Getty Images)
What would the Wise Men bring today? Frankincense production in steep decline as tree from which the scent is derived is in startling decline and may be extinct before the end of the century

Guyana's gold rush turns dangerous

MAHDIA, Guyana — As traders push the price of gold ever higher, miners deep in the Amazon jungle have found a dangerous, lawless world.

Peru: Proposed gold mine riles locals

LIMA — President Humala’s tightrope act isn't easy: keeping Peru’s economy booming while cracking down on the mining industry’s environmental excesses.

In Colombia, digging for gold comes at a price

NECHI, Colombia — It was like any other day in the past 40 years that Martín Palacios has spent panning for gold in northeastern Colombia. Until the police showed up.

Chavez brings home his gold

CARACAS — “The Yankees are broke,” Chavez said. “They have no money to pay their debt ... Shall we give Obama a loan?” 
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