October 23, 2012

Belo Monte dam halted again

belohorizonte150_030211.jpgBrazil’s Belo Monte megadam halted again by indigenous protestors

Around one hundred and fifty peaceful protestors, mainly indigenous tribal people and local fishermen effected by the proposed dam have occupied Pimental, one of the four work sites.  If implemented, the dam would flood over 500 square kilometers of forest and villages at an estimated cost of some US$13,000,000,000.


Taking control for the second time in six months, the protestors took truck and machinery keys from the workers who then had to leave the site on foot.  If the dam construction goes ahead the electricity it is expected to generate would be around 11,000 MW (MegaWatts), just over 10% of Brazil’s installed capacity for electricity generation.  Local demonstratrs claim that the dam will devastate the great Xingu river and ruin their way of life.

The developers are accused by protestors of ignoring issues around river navigation, fishing livelihoods, traditional indigenous sacred sites, and the reality that thousands will lose access to their traditional lands.  Some people will have to be removed from their territories and relocated, which they do not want.

The battleground has formed between indigenous rights and the need to safeguard the environment on the one hand and more power with a view to economic development on the other.  Brazilian President, Dilma Rousseff, appears to be in favour of the dam and has overturned regional court injunctions against it.

Source: Mongabay and AINI Agencia Intercultural de Noticias Indigenas de Bolivia



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