Indigenous Tribes Unite in Opposition to Belo Monte Dam

Thursday, August 12, 2010

In a strong display of unity, indigenous leaders from across Brazil met this week at the Terra Livre Regional Encampment in Altamira, Pará, to express their opposition to the Belo Monte Dam on the Xingu River. Over 500 indigenous people from 27 different tribes gathered by the banks of the Xingu River to discuss strategies to stop the mega-dam, which the project consortium is hoping to begin to build in September.  

The most controversial dam project facing Brazil today, Belo Monte is a struggle about the future of Amazonia. The Brazilian government has plans to build more than 60 large dams in the Amazon Basin over the next 20 years. Many Brazilians believe that if Belo Monte is approved, it will represent a carte blanche for the destruction of all the magnificent rivers of the Amazon.

At the encampment, indigenous leaders made a pact to defend against dams on the Madeira, Tapajós, and Teles Pires rivers, and to fight human rights violations in projects of the government's Accelerated Growth Program, such as the "soy highway" BR-163.

In a prepared declaration to the press, indigenous leaders proclaimed that they are once again united in opposition to Belo Monte.

Read the declaration.

The four-day regional event preceded the National Terra Livre Encampment, which occurs between August 16-20, 2010. The national encampment is being held this year in Campo Grande, Mato Grosso do Sul, in order to call attention to the struggle of the Guaraní and other tribes from that region who are facing grave human rights violations in their struggle to defend their territories against agribusiness and land invasions.  

Learn more about the Belo Monte Campaign by visiting the links below.