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Belo Monte: The pressure is on

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Dodgy deals
By Aviva Imhof | Brazil, Apr 22 2010

The pressure is mounting against the controversial Belo Monte Dam on the Amazon's Xingu River. The past few weeks have been marked by massive protests, the entry of James Cameron and Sigourney Weaver into the campaign, legal battles and a worldwide media blitz.

After three injunctions by a Federal Court judge to suspend the project's development were overturned by a politically-motivated superior court judge, the project was auctioned off to private investors on April 20. The winning consortium of nine Brazilian companies, known as Norte Energia, will get billions of dollars in public subsidies if the dam project is built.

But the struggle is not over yet. Throughout Brazil, indigenous, environmental and social movements organized protests in more than nine cities in eight states to coincide with the auction. 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.

Meanwhile, boats full of indigenous people, including Kayapo, began arriving at the proposed dam site located on Pimental Island on the Xingu River's Big Bend to establish a permanent village to block dam construction. They have vowed to do everything in their power to stop the dam from being built.

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