It’s no secret that the prospect of flowing gold and oyster-sized pearls drew hordes of Europeans to the Americas. It was the stuff of legends — one a man could profit handsomely from a voyage into the New World, raiding and pillaging the fortunes laid before them. Profit was bestowed upon the daring opportunist. Entrepreneurs saw in the virgin markets an opportunity to project themselves up the socioeconomic ladder that disenfranchised many in the rigid hierarchy of Europe. Vendors operated outside the lines of state control, evading taxation and largely ignoring restrictions on trade in favor of their own operations.
Passing through the countless museums across Latin America, one would imagine that those legends and tendencies were long buried in the past. Yet, ironically not much has actually changed. Sure enough, the Americas are steeped in natural resources that profit many handsomely. But even as no mystic treasures along the epic scale of ‘El Dorado’ were to be discovered, its search continues among the large mining conglomerates and campesinos trying to make ends meet.
While the potent mercury released into the rivers of Venezuela may seem a fringe consequence, these tendencies continue to manifest across natural realms of the Americas. States are increasingly struck with pressures to consecutively protect environmental resources, balance the demand of commercial markets, and permit a measurable standard of living amongst its populace. Nope folks, ‘El Dorado’ lives on in the heart of many Latin Americans and those who seek its resources alike.