As the government of Brazil sends military personnel to protect a planned hydroelectric dam, tribes of indigenous people in the Amazon are close to declaring war.
(Left) )ALTAMIRA, BRAZIL: Protesters demonstrate against the Belo Monte dam project near the area where the dam complex is under construction in the Amazon basin on June 15, 2012 in Altamira, Brazil. Belo Monte will be the world’s third-largest hydroelectric project and will displace up to 20,000 people while diverting the Xingu River and flooding as much as 230 square miles of rainforest.
Authorities in the Para state are moving forward with plans to build a number- of hydropower plants on the Tapajós river without permission from the Munduruku indigenous group. Groups from all across the spectrum are condemning the actions of the government.
The Guardian reported:
“According to witnesses in the area, helicopters, soldiers and armed police have been involved in Operation Tapajós, which aims to conduct an environmental impact assessment needed for the proposed construction of the 6,133MW São Luiz do Tapajós dam.Under Brazilian law, major infrastructure projects require prior consultation with indigenous communities. Federal prosecutors say this has not happened and urge the courts to block the scheme which, they fear, could lead to bloodshed.”
The Munduruku continue to voice their concerns and have stated that they do not support studies for the plants on their lands without consultation. Despite this, a court ruling last week gave permission for a survey of the land. The government claims that no one will enter indigenous villages.
The Indigenous Missionary Council stated, “In this operation, the federal government has been threatening the lives of the people. It is unacceptable and illegitimate for the government to impose dialogue at the tip of a bayonet.”
The Munduruku leaders have issued open letters calling for an end to the military operation saying, “We are not bandits. We feel betrayed, humiliated and disrespected by all this.”
Community leaders are threatening to take action if the government does not withdraw by April 10th. They are calling upon support from other indigenous people in the region who are also facing similar battles.
The Jirau hydroelectric dam will feature more giant turbines than any other dam in the world. The power lines are estimated to cross 2,550 km of forest. The dam, said to be completed by 2015, is one of many dams being planned in the world’s largest and most bio-diverse orest. Brazilian companies and transnational corporations are working on up to 34 dams across the country in an effort to increase the capacity to produce energy by 50%. The environmental group, International Rivers, says 168 new projects are planned for the Amazon in the coming years.
In an efforts to bring power to large city centers indigenous people all over the world are being ran over. Is this the product of a free market? Or is this a corporate fueled take over? How can we move forward? While some people take advantage of the surplus in 1st world nations the traditional peoples of indigenous nations are being plowed over.
Is it not embarrassing hat in 2013 we are still discussing the destruction of native ways of life? Have we not moved past this despotic period in mankinds history? I continue to believe that without a deeper connection to our history, our roots, and our own personal nature we will only perpetuate this system which allows such destruction and pain. We can evolve past the need for violence, dead end energy resources, and the state of mind that allows one peoples needs to be held above anothers.
We are all guests on this planet. Together we can work to create a society that values freedom for all life.
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