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Jungle Bust

Update on resistance to the Amazon's Belo Monte mega-dam

Indigenous resistance to Brazil’s mega Amazon dam project, Belo Monte, stepped up several notches recently following the arrest by tribal authorities of three engineers from Norte Energia, the corporation behind the dam’s construction.

The three had been representing the company during a meeting with members of the Juruna and Arara tribes. The meeting had been convened to discuss the legally demanded solutions to mitigate the negative impacts of the dam to the local communities.

The meeting went sour around issues concerning the navigation of boats sailing to Altamira, an important centre for access to health, education and markets.  “Nobody understood anything that the technicians said, and they didn’t have any answers to our questions,” explained Giliarde Juruna, a leader of the Juruna tribe  “They didn’t know how to respond when we asked them how we would bathe or how we would navigate on the river, or even how the project had changed since they presented it to us last year. In the end, the engineers agreed that our complaints were justified.”

Thais Santi of the Federal Public Prosecutor’s Office in Altamira, who was an observer at the meeting added,  “at a certain level, even the engineers recognized that the dam is an absurdity, that the consultation was a sham, and that the mitigation projects presented by the company’s technical team didn’t make any sense."

The only viable solution resulting from this meeting was to take hostage three engineers until Norte Energia decided to be seriously committed in providing real solutions. Although by the following Friday they had been all released, no information is currently available if the ransom was actually paid.

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Twitter: @SchNEWS