Writer Jessica Benko and photographer Bear Guerra examine gold, mercury, poverty and profit in the Amazonian region of Madre de Dios, Peru:

“The struggle continues in Peru over who will receive the benefits of the gold that is so damaging to obtain. Many Peruvians resent and distrust the succession of unstable governments, stretching back to the time of the country’s conquest and marked by rulers unable or unwilling to care for the needs of the poor. Since the profaning of the Incas’ sacred gold, since the Spaniards melted offerings to the gods into bars of money, the poorest of Peru have received little of the security that the gold of their lands has given others. They see little hope in a future where foreign companies control their resources.”