MAB Leaders in Pará are Freed

Police Threaten MAB Protesters at Tucuruí Dam
Police Threaten MAB Protesters at Tucuruí Dam
Four leaders of the Dam-Affected Peoples' Movement will be freed this week from a high-security prison in Belém where they have been held for 45 days, following a judge's decision yesterday. 18 MAB members were arrested on April 26 at Tucuruí Dam, following a peaceful demonstration at the dam site protesting the government's failure to follow through on its commitments to mitigation projects that had been negotiated with the movement. Tucuruí has been in operation for 25 years, during which time various initiatives to find ways to improve the situation of the fishermen, farmers, and others who lost their land and livelihoods have been discussed, but never enacted.

In a press release, MAB said "These people have fought for more than 25 years for their rights, victims of this dam which we consider, in every sense of the word, a horrible example of a public works project. The dam was built during the period of the military dictatorship and it committed crimes of all types against the people and against the environment in the Amazon. The energy from the dam has served, until now, principally to attend the needs of companies that mine and export minerals using subsidized energy. So, the Brazilian people paid to build the dam and now they are paying so that multinationals (Companhia Vale do Rio Doce and Alcoa) mayt earn a lot of money by taking minerals out of the country, while receiving energy for US$.025/Kwh.

Many families at Tucuruí still have no electricity, or they have to pay up to ten times more than the companies do for the energy. These are the reasons why the dam-affected protested. They committed the crime of denouncing these facts. They committed the crime of demanding money from the State so that their cooperative can have ice to conserve the fish they catch. They committed the crime of fighting for the rights of the dam-affected people".