Brazil: Amazon peoples declare against hydro

Some 500 members of the Munduruku indingenous group held a grand assembly Jan. 29 to Feb. 1 at the villahe of Jacareacanga, Pará state, in the Brazilian Amazon, where they denounced the Bacia Tapajós development project slated for their territory. The scheme calls for a complex of five hydroelectric dams on the Rio Tapajós, with the first slated for Teles Pires. Read the statement from the meeting: “We are not against the development of the country, but we will not accept having our lives destroyed in the name of a type of progress that will only benefit the great entrepreneurs who will be increasingly rich.”

Munduruku leader Adenilson Kirixi Munduruku was shot during a federal police operation in November, purportedly to clear illegal gold miners from the Teles Pires area. But Munduruku leaders believe the real aim of the operation was to intimidate local villagers who have been protesting against the dam, which will flood their sacred places.

At least 30 large dams are planned for Brazil’s Amazon Basin over the coming years. If they all go ahead, every one of the major rivers feeding the Amazon will be dammed. The Brazilian government claims to have one of the cleanest energy systems in the world, with more than 70% of the country’s energy provided by hydroelectric power. (CIMI, Feb. 1; Climate News Network, Jan. 23)