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Belo Monte starts the Xingu dam first steps

janeiro 17, 2012
Posted on 16th January, 2012, originally in Portuguese, from Xingu Vivo website (please, check it for pictures).
Text: Ruy Sposati
Photos: John ZinClear
“The first interventions on the Xingu River, related to the construction of Belo Monte dam, are already underway. In the section that borders the site Pimental, where there will be the primary part of the dam on the river, the first cofferdam is being made.
The first greater size interventions on the Xingu River, related to the construction of Belo Monte, is already underway. In the section that borders the site Pimental, where there will be the primary part of the dam on the river, the builders are drawing its first cofferdam – a small temporary dam to divert part of the course of the water, which will allow the construction drying work on the “wall” of the definitive dam – as the Movimento Xingu Vivo (Xingu Forever Alive Movement) team found on Sunday, 15th.
According to an environmental technician at the scene, this is the first of three cofferdams for the construction of the large Belo Monte dam. Another (smaller) one is planned near the lower powerhouse Site Belo Monte, at km 50 of the Trans-Amazon Highway.
“The work began right after the new year,” said a ferryman who travels the area. However, he said, the first attempt to lift the temporary barrier, made with only “sand”, was taken by the river current. “Now, they are also using gravel, to see if it is safer,” he said. Also the island in front of its work site,  is already being cleared (Our comment: yep, by using devastation skills). The authorization to remove vegetation was given by IBAMA (Brazilian Institute of Environment and Renewable Natural Resources and provides for the clearing of 5,000 hectares of forest.
Residents of nearby villages and communities claim that no one was warned about the beginning of construction of the cofferdam. Seeing the images shown by “Xingu Alive Movement”, many proved to be astonished. “We did not know it. We begin to see that the water is coming from dirty, muddy, but we did not knew the reason why. With this you are showing us, we will die of sadness. They did nothing in the village [fulfillment of conditions to start building anything], and they are killing our river, “said the warrior of the village Paquiçamba, Josina Macaw. Among the coastal and small farmers, many have not yet left their islands, homes and communities, and stated that only have heard many explosions, noise and vibration which actually makes everyone uncomfortable.
According to the geographer Brent Millikan, coordinator of the NGO International Rivers in Brazil, the impact of cofferdams are already threaten the river. “The cofferdam has been making deforestation on the island of Pimental and neighboring islands, as well as explosions rock and earthwork, dumping sediment that residents of the Big Bend are already seeing.One of the major impacts is on the fish passing through the river’s heart. At “Santo Antonio da Madeira” River, for example, many fish were caught between the cofferdams and died. “
According to locals, a major concern now is with the navigation of the river. “We do not know how we go through these dams, if they close the river,” explains one of the boatmen.According to the Indian village of “Arara” Big Bend, the North had only two Energy system method for “transposition” of vessels, and its made by a crane that would lift the boats and go through to the other side of the land. “The Northern Energy also showed a video of how this is done in Poland, but all boaters and Xingu Indians are unanimous in saying that this will not work with the type of boat they have in the region. Only work if our boats were plastic, “explains Antonia Melo, coordinator of  Movimento Xingu Vivo .
The beginning of the diversion of waters of the Xingu was only possible thanks to the overthrow of an injunction prohibiting the Consortium of Belo Monte to perform any work in bed ro river. In the middle of last year, the “Associação dos Exportadores de Peixes Ornamentais de Altamira” (Association of Fish Exporters of Altamira (Acepoat) filed a civil action arguing that Belo Monte will end with ornamental fish and received a favorable injunction in late September. In December, the same judge who gave the injunction has reviewed his decision and overturned the injunction, accepting the argument of the Northern Power that there was no ornamental fish in the Xingu. Given the absurdity of the argument,  Acepoat has appealed the decision.
“The federal government “moves his chopsticks” (works out) and puts the judiciary, as well as its IBAMA and FUNAI ( Fundação Nacional do Índio –  Brazilian governmental protection agency for Indian interests and their culture) technicians  in his service, giving licenses and dropping injusctions. But this does not alter the abuses, the illegality of Belo Monte, the crime he is committing, “said Antonia Melo. Our own Government is taking this situation to an impending conflict.”
Despite the release of the works, (still without trial) there are 11 lawsuits by the Federal Prosecutor against Belo Monte. The oldest of them, started in 2006, may reach the Supreme Court this year.”
To make it even clear, Brazilians are fighting against Belo Monte dam in many ways, including petitions, boycott to banks that are participating on it ( Banco do Brasil, Bradesco (Otherwise known as HSBC), Itaú – Unibanco and Santander.

To finish given names to issues, lets talk about Vale.
Vale was pointed by Public Eye as one of the worse organizations to work for, as it has been based on the numerous environmental, social and labor in the last decade caused by the activities of the corporation in Brazil and worldwide (Stay comfortable if you want to vote for Vale. This is the link in Portuguese for the information above, with a few pictures).
Vale is present in these countries:  Angola, Argentina, Australia, Barbados, Canada, Chile, China, Colombia, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, France, Gabon, Guinea, India, Indonesia, Japan, Kazakhstan, Liberia, Malawi, Malaysia, Mongolia, Mozambique, New Caledonia, Norway, Oman, Paraguay, Peru, the Philippines, Singapore, South Africa, South Korea, Switzerland, Taiwan, Thailand, the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom, the United States and Zambia, in addition to Brazil. If you live in any of these countries, it is going to be nice from you to write emails or to make petitions against Belo Monte and sent it to its headquarter as well as try to provoke awareness by sharing information about Belo Monte’s dam.
We are also going to make a quick reminder here by making the United Nations website link available in a matter of one click.
We hope we could make you guys to understand how big is this problem and how all of you are also responsible for whatever happens next.
The video bellow shows us a protest made by Ocupa Sampa(Brazilian #Occupy Movement) during December, on a Bradesco sponsored play ironically named  “Fairy forest” (yes, believe us).
Amigos do Ativismo Brazil
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