Nr. dodgy deals
Belo Monte auction goes forward after court overrules second injunction
Massive protests underway today in nine cities in Brazil
Brasilia, Brazil, Apr 20 2010
Today's bidding process for the controversial Belo Monte Dam project was marked by protests and confusion as a second injunction issued late yesterday suspended the dam auction overnight, throwing the bidding process into a state of chaos just minutes before it was set to begin. Throughout Brazil, indigenous, environmental and social movements organized protests in more than nine cities in eight states. Internationally, phone calls begun pouring into Brazilian Embassies, condemning the government's interference in the judicial system and attempts to push through the project at all costs.
people including indigenous people, the Brazilian Movement of Dam-Affected
People, the Landless Workers Movement, and environmentalists are engaging in coordinated
simultaneous protest actions in Brasilia and in the capital cities Fortaleza,
Florianópolis, Porto Alegre, Porto Velho, Belo Horizonte, Belém, Campina
Grande, and the city of Altamira, which would be partially flooded by the Belo
The generating capacity of Belo Monte would be the world's third highest behind Three Gorges and Itaipú dams. Two consortia vied for the rights to build the project: Norte Energia, which includes the state-owned CHESF and eight private companies; and Belo Monte Energia, which includes the state-owned Eletrosul, in addition to five private companies including mining giant Vale. Major investors such as Alcoa, GDF Suez, Odebrecht, and Camargo Corrêa chose not to participate in the bidding process due to concerns over a lack of economic viability, project delay, and interest in other mega-investments.
To build Belo
Monte, the winning consortium would need to dig two huge canals that would
involve moving more earth than was dug for the Panama Canal to divert water
from the river to an artificial reservoir. By doing so the Big Bend or
Volta Grande - home to the Paquiçamba indigenous territory of the Juruna people
and the Arara people - would be dried out, gravely affecting the livelihoods of
indigenous and riverine families who depend on the water for subsistence.
All told some 45,000 people are directly affected by the either flooding or
diversion of the river.
violation of indigenous rights is a matter of national and international
concern. Brazil doesn't need the Belo Monte Dam. By investing in energy
efficiency Brazil could avoid the need for as many as 14 Belo Monte dams and
save billions of dollars in the process. Belo Monte Dam just doesn't make
sense," said Aviva Imhof, Campaigns Director of International Rivers.
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