“Giant Dam Threatens Brazilian Rainforest”

Source: Spiegel.de

Jonathan Stock writes for Spiegel.de that, The construction of a giant dam in the Amazon region of Brazil is threatening parts of the world’s largest rainforest. But the indigenous tribes living here are keeping quiet in return for millions of dollars in promises.”

Stock writes about Bishop Erwin Kräutler  who has lived in Altamira, Brazil for 50 years and has been fighting the construction of the giant dam for almost 30.  He writes:

“He talks about chaos, speaking into every camera that’s pointed at him, and he speaks loudly — too loudly for the big landowners, the corporations and the government. His enemies have placed a bounty on the bishop’s head for the equivalent of almost €400,000 ($543,000), and even the largest newspaper in northern Brazil wrote that it was time to “eliminate” him.”

“He says that the reservoir will be a dead, putrid lake, and that the dam will spell the end of the river that feeds into it, the Rio Xingu, the largest tributary of the Amazon, which flows directly past the bishop’s see. According to Kräutler, there will be a rise in dengue fever, the river upstream from the dam will flood the city, and the government will have to resettle at least 40,000 people, especially the poorest of the poor, who tend to live near the water.”

“Meanwhile, the indigenous people living downstream from the dam will be left high and dry, forced to leave their land when they can no longer catch fish. Kräutler calls it “the last bit of paradise.'”

Representatives from indigenous tribes and environmental groups protest the construction of the Belo Monte dam on Aug. 20, “2011. The dam, being built at the Xingu River, a tributary of the Amazon, will be the world’s third largest in capacity when completed.” Source: Spiegel.de

Stock calls the building of the “Belo Monte” dam, which is estimated to provide one-tenth of Brazil’s energy needs, “An age-old conflict, pitting good against evil, like the one depicted in director James Cameron’s film “Avatar,” in which native people shoot arrows at the bulldozers of big corporations.”

The article is translated from German and ends with this paragraph:

“Money is the Indians’ weakness, says Kräutler, and the managers of the dam company are like black vultures. When the vulture is searching for a meal, it flies high above the ground, all of its senses focused on the carrion, and glides down to feed on the dead body. But if the bird cannot find carrion, it hunts the weak. A flock of vultures can even kill a calf, as the birds peck away at the most sensitive areas: the eyes, the tongue and the nose. The calf goes into shock, and the vultures move in for the kill.”

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