Wednesday April 23, 2014
Brazil's Belo Monte Hydroelectric Plant Threatens 40,000Tim King Salem-News.com
Brazil's president approves construction of massive plant in virgin Amazon forest.
(SALEM) - Local tribes believe construction of the massive Belo Monte hydroelectric power plant on the Xingu River in Brazil's northern region continues, water levels will eventually flood 40,000 human beings from their homes.
A plea on Facebook to aid the native people here reached our newsroom today, and it seems a cruel fate for an ancient culture like the Kayapos people.
Tuxacumarrae is quoted in an article by Guardian UK in London, that contains big promises from the Brazilian government, stating that according to Brazil's Environment Minister, Carlos Minc, the construction company heading the project will be forced to spend around $800m (£501m) in order to offset environmental damage caused by the project.
Minc told Brazilian TV stations, "There is not going to be an environmental disaster." Those are words to remember, as they completely contradict the allegations of local tribes. They do not believe the super-sized project will not disrupt their lives, or that water levels will not be adversely affected. However Minc says no Indians will be forced from their traditional lands by the dam, offering this conclusive statement:
Without question, that claim is not one anyone is taking to the bank. The head of head of Brazil's environmental agency, Ibama, is Roberto Messias. Not quite as rosy as Minc, Messias admits that approximately 12,000 people will probably be affected by the construction. His excuse for what will really take place with the Native tribes, is that many of them currently lived in wooden riverside shacks and were likely to benefit from the dam's constructions. The comment seems to greatly slight these native peoples who have lived for so long without help from people like Messias or the government at all.
This dam is the supposed 'alternative' to what the corporations really want to build... nuclear power plants. Plans on the drawing board for nuclear power facilities in Brazil were tossed in the trash after the Fukushima, Japan nuclear facility melted down. However successful efforts in Brazil to prevent the construction of these facilities only seems to have led to another disaster, and this one, affecting indigenous tribes, requires no tsunami to set it off.
The Facebook message is a call for help, and a condemnation of the ugly corporate business practitioners who rape and pillage the earth without regard for the sometimes dire circumstances.
In 2003 the population of the Kayapos (Portuguese: Kayapó, also spelled Caiapó or Kaiapó, comes from neighboring peoples and means “those who look like monkeys”) was 7,096, increased to 8,638 in 2010. "They are indigenous peoples in Brazil, from the plain lands of the Mato Grosso and Pará in Brazil, south of the Amazon Basin and along Rio Xingu and its tributaries. They speak the Kayapo language, which belongs to the Jê language family," the Facebook message states.
Many will end up in the United States as displaced citizens. A large number of Hispanic immigrants who make their way to the U.S. illegally are not from Mexico, but farther south in Central America and South America, where both poverty and crime are often severe.
They come from countries like Brazil, suffering under governments that continue to ransack natural resources and zap the human quality of life for those who are poverty stricken.
A Forbes article from 18 Jan 2012, tells the story of the Arara tribe, whose members are alarmed over the quality of potable water they rely on, from the Xingu River, which is an Amazon tributary. A village in what is described as a virgin forest without well water, uses water from the river for both drinking and cooking. The tribe sent a letter to public attorneys in mid-January[2}.
It was announced on 7 Feb 2012, that the company Metso has received a contract for 30 million euros to supply equipment for construction of the Belo Monte hydroelectric power plant.
The company will build three automated large crushing plants, two portable plants, two mobile Lokotrack plants, and services and parts. They are expected to deliver equipment in the first quarter of 2013.
In the article, 'Protesters Strike Again At Brazil's 'Pandora' Dam In Amazon', Forbes writer Kenneth Rapoza discusses the fact that, "Brazil’s massive Belo Monte hydroelectric power project is arguably the most hated government project in the world."
While opposition groups against the project are mostly local, the majority of attention focused on this controversial project emanate from the world at large. Protests are regular fare and groups of local fisherman and tribal members with the Xingu River Lives Movement continue protests hoping to block construction workers from beginning phase construction of the mega-dam, which is now underway
World is Watching
The picture this brings to mind is reflected in many films and stories, only this actual epitome of those fictional accounts delivered by Fern Gully, Avatar and so many others. In fact the location of this massive project is in one of the regions of the Amazon that had until now, survived. The saga has caught the attention of environmentalists in Hollywood, creating controversy on a worldwide scale. Forbes relates how Avatar creator James Cameron in particular, "actually made a short anti-Belo documentary in 2010 called 'Letter from Pandora' and has lent his name and voice to stopping the construction of hydroelectric dams in the jungle."
The Facebook message states:
 Brazil to build controversial Belo Monte hydroelectric dam in Amazon rainforest
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