Tag Archive for 'belo monte dam'

Occupy the Dam: Brazil’s Indigenous Uprising

Photo retrieved from: www.alternet.org

“The Belo Monte Dam is the most controversial of dozens of dams planned in the Amazon region and threatens the lives and livelihoods of thousands of Amazonian people, plants, and animals. Situated on the Xingu River, the dam is set to flood roughly 150 square miles of already-stressed rainforest and deprive an estimated 20,000 people of their homes, their incomes, and—for those who succumb to malaria, bilharzia, and other diseases carried by insects and snails that are predicted to breed in the new reservoir—their lives. Moreover, the influx of immigrants will bring massive disruption to the socioeconomic balance of the region. People whose livelihoods have primarily depended on hunting and gathering or farming may suddenly find themselves forced to take jobs as manual laborers, servants, and prostitutes.

History has shown again and again that dams in general wreak havoc in areas where they are built, despite promises to the contrary by developers and governments. Hydroelectric energy is anything but “clean” when measured in terms of the excruciating pain it causes individuals, social institutions, and local ecology.”

Read more: Alternet

Amazon Indians Occupy Belo Monte Dam Site

Photo retrieved from: www.earthfirst.wordpress.com

“An estimated 200 indigenous people from Brazil’s Amazon region have occupied a work area at the Belo Monte dam construction site, at least partially halting work on the controversial mega project on the Xingu river.

The indigenous people are from at least four tribes – the Xikrin, Juruna, Parakana and Araras – and are protesting against what they say is the negative effects of the construction.

They say the construction runoff is muddying the waters and drying up parts of the river they use to fish.

They are also upset that mitigation projects or compensation promised to the indigenous people by the builders to minimize effects of the construction have been slow to materialize.

The indigenous people have occupied one of work sites of the dam since last Thursday, making it the longest occupation of its kind on the construction site.

The builders have halted work on the part of the dam that is being occupied by the indigenous people, but say work continues unabated in other areas. (The construction site is so big it’s divided up into multiple work sites).

According to a local federal prosecutor, the builders’ judicial request to have the Indians removed by force by police was rejected by a federal judge over the weekend.”

Read more: Aljazeera

The Belo Monte Dam: An Environmental Crime

Photo retrieved from: www.internationalrivers.org

“Meanwhile, three thousand kilometres north, and unbeknownst to most participants at Rio +20, the Brazilian government is carrying out an objectionable project: a series of dams in the heart of the Amazon rainforest. The Belo Monte and Madeira Dam complexes are already underway. They are part of a larger scheme known as the Integrated Regional Infrastructure for South America (IIRSA), supported by Brazil’s Accelerated Growth Programme (PAC). The Brazilian Development Bank (BNDES) has publicly committed to funding up to 80% of the project. The ultimate objective is to create a trans-Brazilian system of waterways to connect through Peru and Bolivia, to transport raw material exports to China, Japan and North America.

On the 16th of June 2012, protesters stormed the construction site of the Belo Monte Dam. They dug a channel through the earth coffer dam, chanting ‘Free the Xingu.’ They lay on the dam, their bodies spelling out the words ‘Pare Belo Monte:’ Stop Belo Monte.

These dams are already impacting the livelihoods of local communities, threatening the cultural identities of indigenous tribes and devastating the environment.

The Madeira Dam complex should serve as a warning of what we can expect from Belo Monte, and the other dams. The Madeira complex will consist of four dams: the Santo Antonio and Jirau which are already under construction, the Cachuela Esperanza Dam on the Beni River near Riberalta, Bolivia which is nearly ready for construction and the Guajará-Mirim Dam on the Madeira River upstream from Abunã, which is in the planning stages. Very little is being admitted publicly about these last two dams.”

Read more: International Rivers

 

Amazon Forum to Focus on Human Cost of Green Economy

Photo retrieved from: www.survivalinternational.org

“In Brazil and worldwide, large hydroelectric dams are being falsely deemed a source of “clean energy” critical to powering a “green economy.” Despite calls for “sustainable development” in the preparations for Rio+20, discussions have ignored the social and environmental implications of dam projects. The Belo Monte dam is the tip of the iceberg of an unprecedented wave of dam construction in the Amazon Basin fueled by narrow political and economic interests, with devastating and irreversible consequences for one of the world’s most precious biomes and its peoples.

Twenty-three years after the historic First Encounter of Indigenous Peoples of the Xingu in 1989 the Xingu+23 gathering reaffirms widespread resistance to the damming of one of the Amazon’s largest tributaries as a direct result of the Brazilian government’s refusal to abide by domestic legislation and international agreements regarding human rights and environmental protection. Hundreds of affected fishermen, small-scale farmers, indigenous peoples, social movements, academics, activists and other defenders of the Xingu River and other Amazonian regions will participate in the activities. Brazilian actor Sergio Marone of the Drop of Water Movement will coordinate a committee of renowned Brazilian artists and human rights activists.”

Read more: International Rivers

Belo Monte Insurer Dropped from Sustainability Index

Photo retrieved from: www.latindispatch.com

“The construction of the Belo Monte dam in the Amazon region of Brazil has come under heavy criticism because of the impact the dam may have on the environment and local residents. Experts anticipate that it will have adverse effects on the Amazon rainforest, particularly on species diversity, and hence also on the livelihoods of the indigenous inhabitants. Due to its involvement in this project, Munich Re has been excluded from the Global Challenges Index (GCX). By agreeing to provide cover for the construction phase of the project, the reinsurer violated the GCX’s strict environmental regulations.

Investors in general have started to realize that large dams in the Amazon are so destructive, so high-risk, that even lavish public subsidies and huge insurance policies can’t cover up what is clearly a bad investment.  In fact, investments in massive dams such as Belo Monte may actually be drawing investment away from other sectors which could really benefit the public, reported this Bloomberg Markets Magazine story in April.

Investing in mega-dams in the Amazon is not only weakening Brazil’s standing as a player in international environmental sustainability and threatening the government’s compliance with international covenants such as ILO169.”

Read more: International Rivers

Re-mapping the Amazon

Photo retrieved from: www.internationalrivers.org

“Brazil’s River of the Dead is teeming with life, tropical birds, fish and turtles. The river is one of the hundreds of tributaries of the mighty Amazon.

But even this remote region is being developed. Not far from this part of Brazil construction has begun on the huge and hugely controversial Belo Monte hydroelectric dam. When finished, it will generate a vast amount of electricity and flood a vast area of the rainforest. It’s just one of 60 dams planned in the Brazilian Amazon.

Balancing Brazil’s growing need for energy and protecting the rainforest was front and center back in January 2011, when Dilma Rousseff addressed Congress after being sworn as Brazil’s first female president.”

Read more: International Rivers

 

The Real Cost Of Brazil’s Dam

Photo retrieved from: www.survivalinternational.org

“Until a few months ago, the future of the Belo Monte dam seemed in doubt. The project faced a wave of legal battles and opposition from indigenous groups and environmental organisations around the world.

About 400 square kilometres of the Amazon forest will be flooded to make way for the reservoirs.

The dam is being built in Brazil’s northern Para state, home to large parts of the Amazon Rainforest.

Some 25,000 indigenous people live along the banks of the Xingu River.

One indigenous group – the Paquicamba – live downstream from the main dam. If the dam is built, the normal flow of the river would shrink significantly. The Paquicamba say their fish stocks would be severely depleted.”

Read more: Aljazeera

Hundreds Occupy Belo Monte Dam Site in Brazilian Amazon

Photo retrieved from: www.americanifra.com

Altamira, Brazil – Hundreds of indigenous leaders, fishermen and riverine people from the Xingu River basin have gathered to occupy the Belo Monte Dam construction site in a peaceful protest to stop its construction in Altamira, located in the state of Pará in the heart of the Brazilian Amazon. They have vowed to permanently occupy the site and are calling on allied organizations and movements to join them.

The Trans-Amazon Highway (BR-230) has been blocked around the Santo Antônio village, where it passes the proposed construction site. Groups are demanding the presence of a Brazilian government high-level official at the site to initiate a new round of negotiations that are transparent, inclusive and respectful of the rights of local people affected by the dam.

“Belo Monte will only succeed if we do nothing about it. We will not be silent. We will shout out loud and we will do it now,” said Juma Xipaia, a local indigenous leader. “We only demand what our Constitution already ensures us: our rights. Our ancestors fought so we could be here now. Many documents and meetings have already transpired and nothing has changed. The machinery continues to arrive to destroy our region.”

The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) of the Organization of American States (OAS) has requested explanation as to why the Brazilian Government did not act to ensure the rights of indigenous peoples affected by the dam, as requested by the IAHCR in April. According to the OAS, the Brazilian Government has an obligation of consulting and informing indigenous peoples who will be affected by the dam prior to construction.

Yesterday, the government of Brazil refused to attend a closed hearing convened by the IAHCR intended to foster dialogue toward resolving conflict and discuss failures in protecting the rights of indigenous peoples threatened by the proposed Belo Monte Dam. Plans for the project ignore international protections such as the right to free, prior and informed consent, and jeopardize the health, livelihood and ancestral lands of thousands of indigenous peoples.”

Read more: Amazon Watch

 

Belo Monte dam marks a troubling new era in Brazil’s attitude to its rainforest

Photo retrieved from: www.omiusajpic.org

“Belo Monte is just one of a dozen giant dam projects Brazil plans to build in the Amazon region in the coming decades and opens up the world’s largest tropical rainforest to oil and mining exploration

The Kayapó chief stands, and a hush comes over the circle. All the other caciques wait expectantly for Raoni Metuktire to speak.

Instead, he starts to dance, whooping and shouting, a dance for the enemy. Afterwards, he speaks. ‘I will go there, to Belo Monte, and warn my family,’ he says, the disc in his lower lip punctuating his words. ‘What happened with Tucuruí will not happen again.’

His nephew Megaron Txukurramãe translating, Raoni exhorts the chiefs gathered at the 50th anniversary of Brazil’s Xingu Indigenous Park: ‘I want you to feel strong, you are great! I want to see you fighting!”

Read more: Ecologist

 

Brazil, After a Long Battle, Approves an Amazon Dam

Chief Raoni weeps after hearing that the Belo Monte dam will be built. Retrieved from: www.washingtonpost.com

“Belo Monte became a priority for the previous government of Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, who contended that the plant was critical to Brazil’s future energy needs. His successor, President Dilma Rousseff, has remained committed to the project.

The license was granted by the environmental agency after “robust technical analysis,” the government said in a news release. The North Energy consortium will pay $1.9 billion for “social-environmental measures,” to help people affected by the dam’s construction and to offset environmental effects, an agency spokeswoman said. The government itself has committed $314 million, she said.

Conservationists have become increasingly critical of Brazil’s efforts to protect the Amazon rain forest. Brazil’s deforestation numbers increased sharply over the past nine months, and the lower house of Congress last week approved a revision of the Forest Code that would open up protected areas to deforestation while granting amnesty to agribusiness developers for previous forest-clearing. The Senate has yet to vote on the measure.

“The government has an important choice – to go back to a future of wasteful publicly funded mega-projects and frontier chaos, or ahead, to the future of a sustainable and equitable green economy leader, with rule of law, good governance and a secure natural and investment environment,” said Stephan Schwartzman of the Environmental Defense Fund.

The $17 billion dam, which is expected to start producing electricity in 2015, would divert the Xingu River along a 62-mile stretch in Pará State. Environmental groups say it will flood more than 120,000 acres of rain forest and settlements, displacing 20,000 to 40,000 people and releasing large quantities of methane. The Ibama spokeswoman put the number of displaced people at 20,000 but insisted that no indigenous people would be removed from their lands.”

Read more: Amazon Watch