Brazilï¿½s President signs ï¿½death sentenceï¿½ for Amazonian river 27 August
Brazilï¿½s President Lula has signed a contract allowing the
construction of the hugely controversial Belo Monte mega-dam on the
Amazonian Xingu River to go ahead.
Lula said, ï¿½I think this is a victory for Brazilï¿½s energy sectorï¿½.
Belo Monte, if built, will be the third largest dam in the world. It
will devastate the local environment and threaten the lives of the
thousands of indigenous people living in the area, whose land and food
sources will be seriously damaged.
Experts have warned that the project has serious design flaws. It was
described by Walter Coronado Antunes, former Environment Secretary of
Sï¿½o Paulo state, as ï¿½the worst engineering project in the history of
hydroelectric dams in Brazil, and perhaps of any engineering project
in the worldï¿½.
Indians, together with human rights and environmental organizations
have traveled to Brazilï¿½s capital, Brasï¿½lia, to protest against Lulaï¿½s
signing of the contract. They said, ï¿½The government has signed a death
warrant for the Xingu river and condemned thousands of residents to
Brazilian and international organizations have published a Declaration
against the Belo Monte dam, describing the signing of the contract as
a ï¿½death sentence for the Xingu Riverï¿½, and a ï¿½scandalous affront to
international human rights conventions, Brazilian law and the
Marcos Apurinï¿½ of the Coordinating Body of Indigenous Organizations of
the Brazilian Amazon (COIAB), said, ï¿½Our government is presenting
itself as an example to the world. But here in Brazil, at least for
indigenous peoples, it is not exemplary at all!ï¿½.
The Indians have warned that if the dam is constructed, a ï¿½warï¿½ could
start and the Xingu could become a ï¿½river of bloodï¿½.
They have organized several protests against the project. Hundreds of
Indians are currently participating in a protest, alongside experts,
human rights and environmental organizations, and Brazilï¿½s Public
Ministry, against the Belo Monte dam, as well as the dams on the
Madeira, Teles Pires and Tapajï¿½s rivers.
Survival International recently published a report highlighting the
devastating impacts that dams are bringing to tribal peoples worldwide.
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