Indigenous return to occupy Belo Monte construction site

Published in Portuguese in 27/05/2013 – 16:31 With informations of blog ‘Ocupação Belo Monte’ Around 170 indigenous returned to occupy at the daybreak of Monday (27) the main construction site […]

Published in Portuguese in 27/05/2013 – 16:31

With informations of blog ‘Ocupação Belo Monte’

Around 170 indigenous returned to occupy at the daybreak of Monday (27) the main construction site of the Belo Monte hydroelectric plant in Vitória do Xingu, in south western Para. The central demand is that the works of the plant of Belo Monte Dam and studies for the construction of power plants in the Rio Tapajós should be suspended until prior consultations with the indigenous peoples.

The group is formed by indigenous of the Chipaia and Arara people, who live at Volta Grande do Xingu, as well as representatives of the ethnic groups Kayapó, Munduruku and Tupinambá. “We demand to be previously consulted about these constructions, because it is our right on the Constitution and International Agreements. This was not done here in Belo Monte, was not done in Teles Pires and is not being done in the Tapajós. It is not possible that all of you will keep repeating that we Indians were consulted. Everyone knows that this is not true, ” say the indigenous on the letter.

They affirm that these mega projects of electricity generation causes serious environmental and social impacts and destroy the way of life of peoples and traditional communities. If the construction of Belo Monte continues and is implemented, for example, 100 km of the river will dry in Volta Grande do Xingu. In the case of the construction of hydroelectric dams planned by the government for the Tapajós River the ancient villages of Mundurukú, situated by the river would be completely flooded.

This is the second occupation performed at the construction site of Belo Monte in less than one month. On May 2 the Indians occupied the same site and stayed there for eight days. The natives claim that the last occupation they left peacefully because the federal government ensured that there would be a negotiation, which did not happen. So this time, they ensure that this occupation will endure until the federal government effectively talk to them and meet their demands.

Indigenous people also criticize the presence of the National Force in the region in order to ensure safety and support for the achievement of environmental impact studies of hydro-power plants in Tapajós. In addition to the police-officers who were already lodged in the construction site with the aim of to ensure the protection of Belo Monte, other contingents of police are coming at the occupation that began this morning.

Read below the full text of the letter released by the indigenous:

Letter no. 7: Federal Government, we came back

We are indigenous Mundurukú, Xipaya, Kayapó, Arara and Tupinambás. We live by the river and in the forest and we are against the destruction of the two. You already know us, but now we are more.

Your government said to us that if we left the occupation of the construction site we would be heard. We left pacifically – and we avoided to embarrass you if you would take us by force. Even though we were not attended by you. The government did not receive us. We called for the Minister Gilberto Carvalho and he did not come.

Wait and call are useless. So we occupy once again your construction site. We did not want to come back to your desert of holes and concrete. We are not pleased at all to leave our homes and to hang our hang-mats at your buildings. But how could we not come? If we don’t come we will loose our land.

We want the suspending of the studies and the construction of the dams which floods our territories, which cuts our forest in the middle, which kills the fishes and expels the animals, which opens the river and the soil for the devouring minning. Which brings even more companies, more timber companies and loggers, more conflict, more prostitution, more drugs, more disease, more violence.

We demand to be previously consulted about these constructions, because it is our right on the Constitution and International Agreements. This was not done here at Belo Monte, was not done in Teles Pires and is not being done in the Tapajós. It is not possible that all of you will keep repeating that we Indians were consulted. Everyone knows that this is not true.

From now on the government has to stop telling lies in notes and interviews. And stop treating us like children, naive, tutored, irresponsible and manipulated. We are we; and the government needs to deal with it. And do not lie to the press that we are fighting against the dam workers: they are solidary with our cause! We wrote a letter to them yesterday! Here at the construction site we football together every day. When we left at the last time, a worker who we gave collars and bracelets said to us: “I will miss this”.

We have the support of many of our relatives in this struggle. We have the support of all the indigenous peoples of all Xingu. We have the support of the Tupinambá. Of the Guajajara, Apinajé, Xerente, Krahô, Tapuia, Karajá-Xambioá, Krahô-Kanela, Avá-Canoero, Javaé, Kanela of Tocantins and Guarani. And the list is growing. We have the support of all national and international society and we know that this bothers you a lot, because you are alone with you campaign financiers and companies interested in craters and money.

We occupy again your construction site – how many times we will need to do this until your law will be accomplished? How many prohibitory injunctions, fines and repossessions will cost until we are heard? How many rubber bullets, bombs and pepper sprays you intend to spend until you assume you are wrong? Or are you going to murder again? How may indigenous are you going to kill more after our relative Adenilson Mundurukú, of the village Teles Pires simply because we do not want the dam?

And do not send the National Force to negotiate for you. We want you. We want that Dilma comes to speak with us.

Belo Monte Construction Site, Altamira, May 27th, 2013

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