Belo Monte Builders Accused of Deterring Indians from Planting Own Crops

Xingu river One of the first things Norte Energia – the Brazilian consortium that made the winning tender offer for the construction of the Belo Monte hydroelectric dam and power plant in the state of Pará, on the Xingu River – did was distribute free food baskets to members of the indigenous community in the area around the dam site.

Work has started on the constructions site and the food distribution was seen by Norte Energia as part of contractual obligations to protect the environment and ensure that the local Indians do not go hungry.

Immediately, an official from the Indigenous Missionary Council (Cimi), which is linked to the Catholic Church, expressed indignation and warned that as a result of the free food baskets some of the Indians have stopped planting their own crops.

“There is nothing positive in Belo Monte. The so-called environmental protection clauses in the construction contract, which are supposed to mitigate any negative impact on the local population and environment, are just making things worse,” declared Cléber Buzatto, a deputy secretary at Cimi. 

“The case of the food baskets is a good example. Because of the free food some of the locals are not planting crops anymore. An external dependence is being created and these people are going to suffer the consequences.”

The news that earthmoving equipment has begun operations on the construction site at Belo Monte caused consternation among Cimi personnel.

“The news had a tremendous impact on us. The work began with a lot of legal questions still unresolved and there has been no dialogue with the local population,” says Buzatto, adding that instead of building new dams the country could just as well improve what already exists.

“Belo Monte is not necessary for Brazil and the environmental protection clauses are not sufficient to justify it,” declared Buzatto. “The country could expand its energy generation by investing in existing infrastructure. But that does not happen because it is not profitable for the big construction companies.”

The Cimi official went on to say that recent blackouts prove his point. “These blackouts are the result of a lack of investment in the existing grid. We have to upgrade turbines. We can increase energy generation by 20% just by modernizing what we have.”

Buzatto explained that Cimi intends to continue its fight against the construction of Belo Monte. “We will hold a protest soon, a symbolic act to emphasize the importance of the Xingu River and the local population’s way of life that will be negatively impacted by the Belo Monte dam.”

According to Buzatto, the local Indians just do not see the dam as a development model for them or for their future generations.

“From the Indian point of view, this hegemonic model is not sustainable. It causes climatic disasters. The Indians are also aware that the hydroelectric power plant will transform the region, bringing more violence, more prostitution, more exploitation of workers, not to mention the invasion of their lands where they have lived for thousands of years,” said Buzatto.



  • Show Comments (3)

  • jan z. volens

    None of the 20+ political parties in Brazil, including the Green Party, Belo Monte !
    The overwhelming number of brazilians, including all the 20+ political parties approve of Belo Monte! Who opposes Belo Monte? The same geopolitical mafia that continues to inhibit the economic and geopolitical independence of Latin America: The USA and its principal NATO”partners”: Britain, Germany, Netherlands – and the Vatican. In the Belo Monte area – of the 11 indigenous ethnic groups only 4 oppose the dam (about 2,500 persons). Belo Monte is NOT in the “Amazon rain forest” – but an agricultural area (since 100 years) outside the far-eastern edge of the “rain forest area”. CIMI is a roman-catholic POLITICAL action organization (financed “inderectly” and directly ) from the USA and NATO-Europe. CIMI advances the geopolitical agenda of the catholic church in Brazil to paralise modernization, social mobility, liberal and leftist political parties. That is why the catholic church inhibits national programs to build infrastructure (as Belo Monte) because it ends susistence farming in favor of modern agriculture and industrial-technological innovation, the church opposes social programs, because “they create dependence”, the church attempts to inhibit national education programs – because they lead to social “liberalism”, and the church opposes movements in Latin America that work for national geopolitical independence and against control by the USA and NATO-Europe – which are allied with the Vatican. The GREAT WHITE FATHERS from Europe – like bishop Erwin Krautler from Austria are in Latin America to humiliate Latin Americans as “incompetend” to manage their own nations. And the GREAT WHITE GOOD NEIGHBOURS from Washington and California – Bill Clinton, Arnold Schwarzenegger and “Avatar” James Cameron – also oppose Belo Monte, along with the rocker “Sting” and Prince Charles-Phillip in London, and of course Alois Joseph Ratzinger from Bavaria, now “His Holyness” in the Vatican. Thus a mafia of U.S. and NATO-European “personalities” and their “special forces” – the NGOs – Greenpeace, International Rivers, Survival International, Amazonwatch – are the visible adversaries of Belo Monte. President Lula da Silva ended his 8 year presidency last year with an 84% approval rating (world’s highest after Mandela) and Lula was in Belo Monte on June 22.2010 and left a message for the “mafia”: NO FOREIGNER SHOULD STICK HIS NOSE INTO WHERE HE HAS NOT BEEN CALLED. WE KNOW HOW TO TAKE CAR OF OUR FORESTS! The USA and NATO-Europe want to paralise the agricultural exports of Brazil in favor of the exports of their own tax-payer-subsidized agriculture (see “Farms here forests there” in the net!), and the USA want to expand the control of NATO into the South Atlantic (and South America and West Africa – to control the off-shore oil between their shores). Brazil Defense Minister Nelson Jobim told the envoy of the USA and NATO: ONLY SOUTH AMERICANS ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR THE DEFENSE OF THEIR REGION! (and between you and me – the brazilian military does not like the idea of the newly activated U.S. 4th Fleet standing “ready for operation” at the northern end of South America, or the new U.S. military bases in Colombia near the amazon border of Brazil…)

  • mcv

    It causes climatic disasters. The Indians are also aware that the hydroelectric power plant will transform the region, bringing more violence, more prostitution, more exploitation of workers….”
    I’ve seen it….that is called “stupidity”….in a region of S.Catarina the only transformation the hydroelectric brought was development to this region..(it was more like 5 hydroelectrics) jobs bring money+money brings everything…commerce,health,education, wealth,,….etc…we are now living the 21st century….progress..We are Brazilians.. Indians still being Brazilians..We are Americans too…..of course ..South Americans…!!!;-)

  • charlie

    This is . . .
    a shame. Brail cares about it’s poor? That’s good, because soon, they’ll have thousand more of them to care for ! ! !

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