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Feb-12-2012 14:46printcomments

Brazil's Belo Monte Hydroelectric Plant Threatens 40,000

Brazil's president approves construction of massive plant in virgin Amazon forest.

chief of the Kayapo
The chief of the Kayapo tribe received the worst news of his life: Dilma, ‘The new president of Brazil, has given approval to build a huge hydroelectric plant.

(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.

While newspapers and television talk about the lives of celebrities, …the chief of the Kayapo tribe received the worst news of his life: Dilma, ‘The new president of Brazil, has given approval to build a huge hydroelectric plant (the third largest in the world).

"We want to make sure that Belo Monte does not destroy the ecosystems and the biodiversity that we have taken care of for millennia," Megaron Tuxucumarrae, a leader of the Kayapo Indians said. "We are opposed to dams on the Xingu and will fight to protect our river."

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:

Not a single Indian will be displaced. They will be indirectly affected, but they will not have to leave indigenous lands.

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[1].

It is the death sentence for all the people near the river because the dam will flood 400,000 hectares of forest. More than 40,000 Indians will have to find another place to live. The natural habitat destruction, deforestation and the disappearance of many species is a fact.

I have more respect for a Warrior that protects life—for us, for our children and grandchildren and future generations –than for a false civilization and their interests!


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.

Exodus North?

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}.

    “The river is muddy and the people are drinking this water,” the tribe wrote in their complaint. Tribal leaders also said that a pre-construction environmental project called The Xingu Program, or Programa Médio Xingu in Portuguese, had not yet been approved and therefore the river work should not be allowed.

Big Money

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[3].

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[4]

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:

What moves me in my very bowels, making me ashamed of being part of Western culture, is the reaction of the chief of the Kayapo community when he learned of the decision—his gesture of dignity and helplessness before the advance of capitalist progress, modern predatory civilization that does not respect the differences …

But we know that a picture is worth a thousand words, showing the reality of the true price of our bourgeois 'quality of life'.

References:
[1] Brazil to build controversial Belo Monte hydroelectric dam in Amazon rainforest

[2} Amazon Tribe Says Brazil's "Pandora" Dam Polluting River - Kenneth Rapoza - Forbes

[3] Metso secures equipment supply order for hydro plant in Brazil - EBR Hydro

[4] Protesters Strike Again At Brazil's 'Pandora' Dam In Amazon

_________________________________________________________

Tim King in 2007, covering the Afghanistan War

Tim King: Salem-News.com Editor and Writer

Tim King has more than twenty years of experience on the west coast as a television news producer, photojournalist, reporter and assignment editor. In addition to his role as a war correspondent, this Los Angeles native serves as Salem-News.com's Executive News Editor. Tim spent the winter of 2006/07 covering the war in Afghanistan, and he was in Iraq over the summer of 2008, reporting from the war while embedded with both the U.S. Army and the Marines. Tim is a former U.S. Marine.

Tim holds awards for reporting, photography, writing and editing, including the Silver Spoke Award by the National Coalition of Motorcyclists (2011), Excellence in Journalism Award by the Oregon Confederation of Motorcycle Clubs (2010), Oregon AP Award for Spot News Photographer of the Year (2004), First-place Electronic Media Award in Spot News, Las Vegas, (1998), Oregon AP Cooperation Award (1991); and several others including the 2005 Red Cross Good Neighborhood Award for reporting. Tim has several years of experience in network affiliate news TV stations, having worked as a reporter and photographer at NBC, ABC and FOX stations in Arizona, Nevada and Oregon. Tim was a member of the National Press Photographer's Association for several years and is a current member of the Orange County Press Club.

Serving the community in very real terms, Salem-News.com is the nation's only truly independent high traffic news Website. As News Editor, Tim among other things, is responsible for publishing the original content of 102 Salem-News.com writers. He reminds viewers that emails are easily missed and urges those trying to reach him, to please send a second email if the first goes unanswered. You can write to Tim at this address: newsroom@salem-news.com




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Bat January 9, 2013 10:03 pm (Pacific time)

Hello, this is excellent article I was looking for The World Bank estimates that forcible “development-induced displacement and resettlement” now affects 10 million people per year. According to the World Bank an estimated 33 million people have been displaced by development projects such as dams, urban development and irrigation canals in India alone.India is well ahead in this respect. A country with as many as over 3600 large dams within its belt can never be the exceptional case regarding displacement. The number of development induced displacement is higher than the conflict induced displacement in India. According to Bogumil Terminski an estimated more than 10 million people have been displaced by development each year. Although the exact number of development-induced displaced people (DIDPs) is difficult to know, estimates are that in the last decade 90–100 million people have been displaced by urban, irrigation and power projects alone, with the number of people displaced by urban development becoming greater than those displaced by large infrastructure projects (such as dams). DIDPs outnumber refugees, with the added problem that their plight is often more concealed.This is what experts have termed “development-induced displacement.” According to Michael Cernea, a World Bank analyst, the causes of development-induced displacement include water supply (dams, reservoirs, irrigation); urban infrastructure; transportation (roads, highways, canals); energy (mining, power plants, oil exploration and extraction, pipelines); agricultural expansion; parks and forest reserves; and population redistribution schemes.


J. Tilly February 21, 2012 2:35 pm (Pacific time)

The World Bank estimates that forcible “development-induced displacement and resettlement” now affects 10 million people per year. According to the World Bank an estimated 33 million people have been displaced by development projects such as dams, urban development and irrigation canals in India alone.

India is well ahead in this respect. A country with as many as over 3600 large dams within its belt can never be the exceptional case regarding displacement. The number of development induced displacement is higher than the conflict induced displacement in India. According to Bogumil Terminski an estimated more than 10 million people have been displaced by development each year.

Although the exact number of development-induced displaced people (DIDPs) is difficult to know, estimates are that in the last decade 90–100 million people have been displaced by urban, irrigation and power projects alone, with the number of people displaced by urban development becoming greater than those displaced by large infrastructure projects (such as dams). DIDPs outnumber refugees, with the added problem that their plight is often more concealed.

This is what experts have termed “development-induced displacement.” According to Michael Cernea, a World Bank analyst, the causes of development-induced displacement include water supply (dams, reservoirs, irrigation); urban infrastructure; transportation (roads, highways, canals); energy (mining, power plants, oil exploration and extraction, pipelines); agricultural expansion; parks and forest reserves; and population redistribution schemes.


Aurélio February 18, 2012 6:35 pm (Pacific time)

I and the brazilian society support Belo Monte Dam. Hidroelétricas são fontes de energia limpa e renovável, o que é muito melhor que usinas nucleares. O Brasil deve aproveitar o potencial hídrico da amazônia com a construção de mais umas dez usinas como essa. E faremos isso em nossa terra, em nosso país, não em Boston-USA.


Ricardo Frustockl February 16, 2012 8:37 am (Pacific time)

You can sign a petition, Over a million people signed the last one. Google Belo Monte Dam and stay informed "www.change.org/petitions/sign-the-petition-against-the-belo-monte-dam-project"


Peta_de_Aztlan February 15, 2012 1:11 pm (Pacific time)

I live in California. Appreciate your coverage of this great tragedy. More will be revealed.


Bronwen Bannister February 14, 2012 6:14 pm (Pacific time)

This must NOT happen!!! How can we...the people of rest of the world STOP THIS??

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