A collaborative investigation on gold smuggling in the Americas, developed by five journalism organizations including the Miami Herald and el Nuevo Herald, was awarded Thursday the prestigious Premio Gabo, the most important distinction for journalistic work in Spanish and Portuguese.
The project, Venezuela, el paraíso de los contrabandistas, won in the Text category, and was regarded upon submission by the contest judges as “a piece made with a lot of courage and that dazzles for its originality.”
The organizations involved were InfoAmazonia (Brasil), Correo del Caroní (Venezuela), De Correspondent (Holland), Runrun.es (Venezuela), the Miami Herald and el Nuevo Herald.
It was published on July 23, 2019, as a six-part series in the Herald titled, “Smugglers’ Paradise: How ‘Blood Gold’ Keeps Maduro in Power.” It explored the trafficking of illegal gold starting from Venezuela and exposed how Venezuelan refugees are frequently used as smugglers across international borders.
The project, which used data analysis, documents and extensive field reporting, also explored how political leaders in Venezuela profited from the operation, which uses Colombia and islands in the Caribbean as midpoints before the gold is distributed to far-reaching customers in the United States, Europe and the Middle East.
Nine journalists and 16 translators, editors, developers and others, made up the team that built the months-long project. At the Herald, reporters Antonio Maria Delgado, Kyra Gurney, Jim Wyss, Nick Nehamas and Jay Weaver worked along with editors Casey Frank and Nancy San Martin.
The Premio Gabo is named for and inspired by the work of Gabriel García Marquez, Nobel Prize winner and one of the most iconic Latin American literary giants.