Back to the point: Belo Monte Dam

warrior's light
Copyright © Tatiana Cardeal. All rights reserved.
Reprodução proibida. © Todos os direitos reservados.

> Yawalapiti warriors live along the Xingu River, at the Xingu Park. I photographed them during the Indigenous National Festival.

While watching the bad day that people, photographers, journalists had in Cairo today, I was observing the arrogance of Muraback's govern and feeling shocked with all the violence. At the same time, I needed to write again about another trouble in another govern, that in a way, is also showing arrogance and total disrespect from it's people: Brazil and the way the Belo Monte Dam have been conduced.

A recent partial license grant given by an interim president of IBAMA (Brazilian Institute for Environment and Natural Renewable Resources), allowed the construction camps and site of the hydroelectric plant of Belo Monte in the Xingu River, at Para State - and has generated a series of reactions against the decision at the media. Federal prosecutors had recommended to IBAMA to not fragment the licensing to speed up the process because the requirements for the previous license had not been completed. A partial license (which should be part of a full license) does not exist in Brazilian environmental legislation.
Not enough, the Federal Public Ministry estimates the number of people affected to be about 40,000 - including traditional and indigenous populations!

Also a controversial fact was the departure of then President of IBAMA, Aberlardo Bayma, on January 12. Bayma justified the resignation saying that his decision was motivated by "personal reasons". However, rumors on the media tell that in recent meetings with Eletronorte, Bayma refused to grant the dam's final construction license, arguing that IBAMA could not grant the document since the project is full of environmental disputes.
Belo Monte's socio-environmental viability is also considered the reason for former Environmental Minister (and candidate in the 2010 presidential elections) Marina Silva stepping out of office in 2008.
Well, there are a lot of new information going on media and social media every day, showing many irregularities, economics doubts, and some institutional explanations. A quick research on the web will add much more to this issue.

Meanwhile, many organizations, social movements, indigenous people, activists, anthropologists, economists, journalists, environmentalists, judges... and many like me, have been alerting and questioning if this dam is really needed, and what are the real costs of this project (economic, human and environmental). The answer is still a mystery. Too many doubts to put so many and so much in risk.

Enough from today! With all I've seen, one thing must be said: Muraback won't be forgot by the history for his choices and acts. The same will happen with the Belo Monte Dam in Brazil.

Mobilizations and online petition
Amigos da Terra,, Amazon Watch,, Greenpeace, Instituto Akatu, Instituto Sociambiental, International Conservation, International Rivers, Movimento Xingu Vivo Para Sempre, and other organizations, have been incisive on their position against the continuity of the project in the way it's being developed. Some of them started campaigns.

  • On Twitter, mostly of them are spreading the rashtag #parebelomonte and #belomontenao to protest and call attention for the issue. Some tweets are sharing petitions to be signed.
  • Avaaz launched a large petition, you can sign here.
    "President Dilma promised in her inauguration speech to develop Brazil without damaging the environment. But the Belo Monte dam would be the opposite -- a massive environmental scar in the heart of the Amazon."
  • Save the Xingu River says, and can be signed here.
    "It would divert the flow of the Xingu River and devastate an extensive area of the Brazilian rainforest, displace over 20,000 people and threaten the survival of indigenous peoples."
"Now is a crucial time to take action to defend the Xingu River."

Sources: Global Voices , Survival International , Instituto Sociambiental , Ministério Público Federal do Pará , Avaaz , Movimento Xingu Vivo Para Sempre , Miriam Leitã