Belo Monte :
Chief Raoni's petition

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Amazon: The Church is also against the mega-dam

Amazon: The Church is also against the mega-dam

Source :
The Brazilian government is planning the construction of more than 60 facilities on the rivers that run through the largest and most unprotected forest in the world.
The Amazon looms as a great victim of Brazil's impetuous development process. Reported by the Missioline agency in a story by Alessandro Armato.

From now until 2020, the government is planning the construction of more than 60 dams on major rivers that run through the rainforest.  When put together, these hydroelectric projects carry the very real risk of disturbing the ecosystems and the lives of the populations in those areas.

There have been large protests and great resistance to Belo Monte, in the Xingú region, and in other areas affected by the project. In particular, events were held in nine other state capitals of Brazil: Belém, San Paolo, Río de Janeiro, Cuiabá, Manaus, Salvador, Porto Alegre, Curitiba, and Campinas. The movements “Gota D'Agua” and “Xingú Forever Alive”, with the support of social networks, are trying in every way possible to stop this project, which Monsignor Erwin Kräutler, - bishop of the region, who has always been committed to defending human rights in the Amazon -  has also sided against.

Despite great popular support for stopping the projects, and the recognition of certain of their shortcomings, the government's position has not changed: the construction of the dams will go forward because the investment is too significant to back out of.

But the protest movement is growing larger every day. Antonia Melo - coordinator of the movement Xingú Alive Forever (MXVS), which organized a day of struggle last 17 December at Altamira, Pará state, which has already begun the construction of the dam - has denounced the chaos that has reigned in the city after the start of construction - a population that has doubled since 2009, insufficient health services and public safety, property speculation (with rental prices up by 500 percent), extremely high levels of noise pollution, etc. - and warns against the dark side of the project: “Belo Monte will consist of a complex of four or five dams with a capacity to produce 11,000 MW, but will produce only 4,000 MW over three or four months, while during the rest of the year, during the river’s dry months, almost nothing.”

After the mobilization, on December 20, representatives of the movements were received by the ministers of the General Secretariats of the Presidency, the Environment, and Energy and Mines. During the meeting, the Gota D'Agua movement, which, among other things, has produced a video on the regions that oppose the project, handed 1.3 million signatures against Belo Monte over to government representatives.

© Luca Rolandi / Vatican Insider

Date : 02/01/2012