Eleven Belo Monte Activists Criminalized

Movimento Xingu Vivo para Sempre
Thursday, June 28, 2012

Note of Support

Victims of Belo Monte are not criminals

Original text (Portuguese)

From the moment they were conceived during the dictatorship, the projects to dam the Xingu River at Altamira, Pará, Brazil, have generated indignation, anger and fierce opposition of the peoples of the basin of which is one of the most important and mega-divers rivers of this country.

For over 23 years, social movements of the Xingu river have resisted the Belo Monte hydroelectric dam. Parallel to the Rio +20 biodiversity conference, they realised the Xingu +23 gathering at Altamira, June 13 thru 16, bringing together about 300 people, including victims of the hydroelectric plant and supporters of their struggle.

One day before this meeting, Norte Energia Consortium (responsible for the dam construction) tried to cancel it with a prohibitory interdict, criminalizing in advance four members of the Movimento Xingu Vivo para Sempre (Xingu Forever Alive Movement). Despite the company and the government being the vectors of all the violence that erupted in the region since the beginning of construction of the dam, the Consortium and the repressive police forces of the police reinforced the process of criminalization of the social movements, and now 11 participants in the Xingu +23 meeting are being investigated and charged as criminals. Among them a priest who said a Mass and blessed the meeting, a fisherman who had his house destroyed by the Consortium only a few days before, and a documentary filmmaker who just registered the meeting.

Faced with the threat of preventive arrest, that was reported in the press, lawyers of the Movimento Xingu Vivo para Sempre filed a preventive habeas corpus to guarantee the freedom of the persecuted. The request was denied by Justice.

Today, Belo Monte is a summary of all of the most nefarious that the military regime engendered, enforced by the federal government with unprecedented brutality to the peoples of the Xingu. Disseminating untruths about this project that is economically, energetically, socially and environmentally unviable, the federal government, its ministers, bureaucrats and its contractors shamelessly destroy the lives of people who depend on the forests felled, the fish that has almost completely vanished, the game that fled the detonations of the construction works or whose bodies are piling up on the banks of the Trans-Amazonian Highway. And, when the expelled, the threatened and the cornered defend themselves, the state calls on the police and turns its victims into criminals.

Such tremendous violations of the human rights of those who are victims of state violence and financial capital is unacceptable in a country that values its democracy. It is inconceivable that the criminalization of protest is still applied today.

We demand the immediate cancellation of all the criminalization processes of the Xingu population and their supporters. We demand that their economic, moral, cultural and spiritual losses be repaired. We demand that the Brazilian population have the right to decide on the construction of large projects, having the right to say no, to be consulted on how and where public resources are applied and we require, above all, that democracy and the basic principles of human rights be guaranteed in Brazil.