Final Declaration from the Terra Livre Encampment: “In Defense of the Xingu: Against Belo Monte!”

Thursday, August 12, 2010

     We, the indigenous peoples Juruna, Xipaya, Arara of Volta Grande, Kuruaia and Xicrin from the region of Altamira, the Guajajara, Gavião, Krikati, Awa Guajá, Kayapó of Mato Grosso and Pará, the Tembe, Aikeora, Suruí, Xavante, Karintiana, Puruborá, Kassupá, Wajãpi, Karaja, Apurinã, Makuxi, the Nawa of Acre, the Mura of Amazonas, the Tupaiu, Borari, Tapuia, Arapiuns, Pataxó, Tupiniquim, Javaé, Kaingang, Xucuru, Marubu, Maiuruna, Mundukuru of Amazonas and Pará, and the farmers, riverine families, and residents of other states of the Amazon and Brazil, from the city of Itaituba in the Tapajós region, from Trairão, Medicilândia, Uruará, Placas, Rurópolis, Gurupá, Altamira, from the villages of the Cobra-Choca (km 45 south), from km 27 south, from Paratizão (km 23 south), Assurini and the communities of Arroz Cru, Saint Luzia and São Pedro, and representatives of indigenous organizations and of COIAB, of APIB, APOINME, ARPIMSUL, MAB, Via Campesina, the MXVPS, of pastoral organizations and NGOs, gathered here at the Acampamento Terra Livre Amazônico, in Altamira, Pará, on August 9th-12th, 2010, in the name of the fight for life, culture, biodiversity, and the forest, and in order to discuss the impacts of major projects in the region, especially the Belo Monte Dam, have come to the public to affirm, denounce, and to take action:

1.  We manifest for the preservation of the Xingu River and all rivers of Brazil, especially those that pass through Indian lands,

2. We manifest in the strongest terms possible against the construction of the Belo Monte Dam on the Xingu River, and other projects designed to exploit the natural resources of the Amazon, and that attack our communities and destroy the environment, such as the Jirau and San Antonio Dams on the Madeira River, the Santa Isabel Dam on the Araguaia River, the Paranatinga Dams on the Culuene River, the Estreito Dam, the transposition of the São Francisco River, the Ribeirão Tabajara project, the paving of federal highways BR-317, 163, 156, 319, 429 and 421, the Urucu-Porto Velho gas pipeline, among others.

3. The Growth Acceleration Program (PAC) includes 426 projects that impact indigenous lands, threatening isolated indigenous peoples with extinction. In the Amazon more than 300 new dams are planned.   This is truly madness for those who live in the Amazon and who depend on the land and water as safeguards for life, for present and future generations.

4. Still alive in our memory are the destruction and death caused by the mega-projects implemented by the authoritarian governments of the military dictatorship, such as the construction of the Trans-Amazon Highway (BR-230), BR-174, 364, and 163, and Tucurui and Balbina Dams.  The indigenous Arara, Parakanã, Waimiri Atroari reached the brink of extinction, and traditional communities were hit hard.

5. An economic development model that benefits the few over the many still remains, as does the authoritarian deployment of large projects.  Belo Monte is a clear example. The environmental impact studies were written only to support the project rather than to measure the actual social and environmental impacts.  Affected indigenous peoples and traditional communities were not properly consulted as is required by the Federal Constitution, by the ILO Convention 169, and by the UN Declaration on indigenous peoples, nor have the scientists who warn of the serious systematic failures of the project been clearly heard.

6. Some of the perverse strategies of this type of development have included disinformation, lies, disrespect for the law, the criminalization of indigenous and popular leaders, as well as actions of seduction and false promises made to communities. 

7. Indigenous peoples in the struggle for their land rights are accused of being violent, obstacles to development, and as manipulated by NGOs, in order to confuse people about what is really happening in the Amazon.

8. We have reflected during the four days of Terra Livre Encampment on strategies to combat Belo Monte and other large development projects.

9. We want to alert everyone that the Amazon will be irreversibly damaged should the madness of over-exploitation of natural resources continue.  If this occurs, the commitments made by Brazil in international climate treaties will not be fulfilled.

10. We collectively assume a commitment to collectively strengthen the alliance of indigenous peoples and other communities of the Amazon in the fight to ensure the integrity of its territorial space, and to build the future of the region based on the life experiences of the people that live there.

11. We call on everyone to articulate, organize, and commonly confront the Belo Monte Dam and other mega-projects planned against the Amazon.

12. We request the support of everyone, from the countryside to the city, for the life of the Amazon is at risk.

"Every time we come together we strengthen our movement. We should not fear the police, the farmer, nor anyone who threatens nature. Nature is life, she sustains us even today, so we must to defend her as the mother and father that gives us life." – Kayapó Chief Raoni Kayapó

Altamira, Pará, August 12th, 2010.