400 km2 rainforest flooded.
1522 km2 rainforest directly influenced.
More than 5000 km2 rainforest cut down.
The amount of surface of the rainforest indirectly influenced is unthinkably big.
Between 20 and 40 thousand people immediately homeless.
Ancient indigenous cultures will disappear.
Many animals will lose their natural habitat and will (make an even bigger chance to) go extinct.
Exploitation of workers.
Forced (child) prostitution.
Murder of resisting tribal leaders/members.
Massive import of cheap labour.
Alarming increase of crime.
Big increase of number of disease cases like malaria and different types of skin disease.
Unnatural flooding and droughts.
Huge increase of poverty.
And this list could go on and on and on.
In other words; Capitalism at its “best”.
Next to the enormous threat the massive cultivation of (Monsanto’s GMO) soy, the massive cultivation of (Monsanto’s GMO) corn, the massive felling of rainforest, the enormous metal refineries, other types of mining projects, earlier built insufficient dams and the massive animal farms impose on the tropical rainforest and al its inhabitants, there is now the new enormous threat of the Belo Monte dam.
The Belo Monte hydroelectric station should provide the people with “cheap green power”, however a big part of the generated electricity (which will already be far less than what is estimated) will be used for the planned enormous expansion of the mines*. Capitalist interests prevail over the unique nature of the Amazon and the interests of the Brazilian peoples.
The Amazon is important to us all!
The (renewed) worldwide protests against the build of the Belo Monte dam, the shocking stories that have emerged about human trafficking, forced prostitution, the murder of Guarani leader Ambrósio Vilhalva, the protests of the people who build the dam for better working conditions and pay etc. all made us decide we had to write an article about this subject, the amazon affects us all directly and indirectly.
25% of all the oxygen on earth exists because of the Amazon.
Under the veil of so-called “green environmentally conscious energy” one of the biggest crimes against the earth and its peoples is happening right now.
Brazil on sale
Brazil is ruled by the “workers party” PT (Partido dos Trabalhadores) with President Dilma Rousseff at the helm. This capitalist liberal party hiding behind a social democrat mask has put all the country’s natural resources on sale during the last decade. As one of the last feats the controversial president Dilma Rousseff gave the go-ahead on February 1st of last year for the build of a new hydroelectric power plant: the Belo Monte dam.
The Belo Monte dam is the first of 59 dams to be built in the rivers of the Brazilian rainforest in the near future. The Brazilian government strives to build more than 400 dams in the Amazon by the year 2030; this will dramatically change the whole area.
Ever since the time Brazil was suffering from the military dictatorship there have been plans to build the Belo Monte dam, although it was then known under the name the Kararaô Complex. These plans however were put on hold in 1989 because of fierce protests of indigenous groups and environmental activists. The corrupt Lula regime reintroduced the plans in 2003, they just gave it a new name; the Belo Monte dam.
Partido dos Trabalhadores
The Workers Party PT (Partido dos Trabalhadores) first came to power in 2003, under the leadership of Luis Ignacio da Silva (better known as Lula). Currently Dilma Rousseff is in charge of the PT. The PT pretends to be a party for the workers, it is however a capitalist neoliberal monster hiding behind a “socialist” mask.
When Lula came to power he immediately adopted a radical neoliberal course, which meant that social securities would be privatized, pensions and benefits would be reduced, as well as making it easier for companies to fire people etc. This among others caused the life standard of the Brazilian peoples to drastically decline since the PT came to power.
The IMF policy of privatizations has been rapidly implemented under the so-called progressive policies of the PT, everything in close collaboration with the IMF, the World Bank and Wall Street.
Megalomaniac, absurd and for Brazil itself not in the least bit profitable or positive projects, like the expansion of the mines and the building of the dams, have caused the debt of Brazil to foreign investors to explosively mount up during the last decade. The same scenario has occurred in Brazil before and it then led to the crash of the Brazilian Real in January of 1999.
The Partido dos Trabalhadores has put the whole country on sale and they have betrayed all the peoples in Brazil and everybody who voted for them.
The IMF has had a big finger in the pie with Brazilian decision making now for decades, bought through the given loans and the given guarantees. However the by the will of the IMF implemented reforms have not been “really” implemented until the reign of the PT during the last decade.
The IMF has already been co-responsible for the crash of the Brazilian Real in 1999 and it is also responsible for the free fall Brazil is making into another crisis today.
The big financial and economic institutions of Brazil have been handed over on a silver platter to Wall Street, the big banks, the World Bank and the IMF with the appointment of Lula in 2003.
Henrique de Campos Meirelles a Wall Street financer, president and CEO of the Boston Fleet bank*** was appointed as the CEO of the Brazilian Central Bank. This person had already been in charge of the Brazilian Association of International Banks as chairman during the 1990’s and was then co-responsible for opening up the Brazilian market to foreign banks and international money flows.
A former senior executive of the Citigroup, Casio Casseb Lima was appointed as the CEO of the gigantic state bank Banco do Brazil (BB). This man and Henrique de Campos Mereilles have had close personal ties dating back as far as 1976.
They both follow the same policies: A tight monetary policy, economic cuts, high interest rates (for loans and taxes) to small companies- low interest rates (for loans and taxes) to big companies and a deregulated currency system. Especially the last mentioned has been a big nail in the coffin of the Brazilian economy because it made it possible and encourages speculative attacks against the Brazilian Real and it causes a flight of capital, what eventually results in a spiral of ever growing debts to foreign investors, more flight of capital, more debts etc.
By appointing these men, Lula has given away the economic and financial management of Brazil to the debtors of the country. These people will NEVER defend the interests of Brazil itself. Unlike what the PT claims to stand for, neoliberalism under these circumstances is more alive than ever in Brazil.
Because of the current policy of appointments, Brazil has chained itself in a financial straight jacket and has given the key to it to Wall Street.
The Belo Monte project
The Belo Monte project consists of two dams- whereby the smaller of the two will definitely redirect up to 80% of the original flow of the Xingu river-, two sumps of which one is to overflow until now dry land- 668 km2 including 400 km2 rainforest will be flooded by this-, a huge canal of 500 meters wide as well as appurtenant extensive system of dikes- of which some will be so large that they could also be noted as dams- that have to contribute to divert the water of the Xingu river into the canal. All in all a minimum of 1522 km2 (for the people who find it difficult to put this in perspective, this means 228.300 soccer fields or the half of the Dutch ground surface) of the Brazilian rainforest will experience the direct influence of the project, indirectly it will affect an even bigger surface. Between twenty and forty thousand will have to leave their homes and living spaces. Many animals will lose their natural habitats and many of them will (have a greater chance to) go extinct. As it looks right now the dam will already be operational in 2014 and has to run at full force in 2019.
The total costs for this project amount up to 11,8 billion Euros (this amount is rising by the day) and as is seen more often with these kinds of projects, this project will also cost more environmentally and humanely than it will yield “cheap energy” for the Brazilian peoples. Independent research has already proven that the revenues will prove to be zilch. Because of how the seasons elapse in Brazil (drought/ rain) the Belo Monte dam will only produce 10% of its original capacity during the dry season and during the rest of the year only 39%. To reach its full capacity it requires at least an extra three dams up stream to secure a constant supply of water to the Belo Monte dam. Strangely enough these three dams are nowhere to be found in the plans for the build of 400 dams in the Amazon. The government claims that the Belo Monte dam will yield green energy, however according to these same independent researches it will only yield massive amounts of methane emissions, an extremely poisonous GHG. It should be apparent to all that this project moreover is a showpiece of the corrupt Brazilian government, under the direct influence of the IMF, the World Bank and Wall Street.
The rights for the build of this project where sold by auction and are now owned by an international consortium of big national and international companies as well as some small companies. The international capitalist interests with the build of the Belo Monte dam guarantee a big collective corporate crime!
The Brazilian National Development Bank (BNDES) is responsible for 80% of the financing for the Belo Monte project by means of a loan to the building consortium. By approving the loan the BNDES has bound itself definitively to yet another project which stands for serious crimes against the environment and the rights of the local peoples.
However to the outside world the BNDES displays itself as having a green and social character.
Animals and nature
Because of the radical changes to the natural flow of the Xingu River many animals will get into trouble. Independent research has shown that the impact on the flora and fauna in the Amazon area because of the Belo Monte dam is unprecedented. Fish are already massively dying and going extinct in the area because of the changed water level, the decreasing quality of the water as well as the fact that because of the reclamation and rearrangement the fishes can’t follow their natural migration patterns (to, among others their spawning places). Because of the drying of the natural flows and the decreasing water qualities many animals will lose their watering places. Also the associated withering of the land will contribute to the dying of plants and therefore less food will be available to the animals. Likewise the massive felling of ancient trees – among others to build settlements for the labour migrants- will cause the natural living spaces for the animals to deteriorate even further.
Not only 9 different species of fish are directly threatened with extinction also animals that are already on the endangered species list, like the black bearded saki, the white cheeked spider monkey and various endangered tortoises will probably not make it.
The Belo Monte project is yet another nail to the coffin of the unique flora and fauna of the Amazon.
The consortium responsible for the build denies these effects as loudly as possible and refuses to take any responsibility for this whatsoever.
There are many traditional communities is the endangered area, who are fully dependent on the river, for fish, irrigation, navigation, religion etc. These tribes have been located in the affected area for centuries and know nothing else than their own simple way of life. These communities are generally forced to move, their land is simply confiscated or it turns uninhabitable because of the proceedings.
These peoples received no form of compensation whatsoever for the land that was stolen from them. This however means little compared to the moral, social, cultural and environmental losses these communities have already suffered because of the project.
The consortium responsible for the build denies these effects as loudly as possible and refuses to take any responsibility for this whatsoever.
In the cities in the area the situation is as poignant. Because of the arrival of thousands of labour migrants the number of sexual abuse of children has tripled, the number of violent incidents, including murder, has doubled and the number of drug related incidents and addictions has gone through the roof. The unemployment numbers have also skyrocketed because of the import of cheaper labourers.
These cities can’t handle the massive inflow of people, which causes the already weak local facilities to come under immense strain.
With the plans of the government to build another almost 400 dams a lot of other areas will find themselves encountering the same problems.
Brazilian officials claim that the Belo Monte project will ensures more employment for the citizenry. However the “lucky ones” of the local population to obtain a job there- that hasn’t already been given to a “cheaper” imported labourer- will find themselves in a situation of exploitation and degrading working conditions. Since the beginning of the build there have been many protests of labourers against the working conditions and the degrading low pay.
Despite the fact that the Belo Monte project defiles all kinds of constitutional principles, all protests and the dozens of filed lawsuits again and again are settled in favour of the building consortium and the government or they are anticipatory declined.
In the past there were a couple of lawsuits that were won by the indigenous people or environmental agencies, however these lawsuits always settle in favour of the building consortium and the government when appealed or in front of the high court.
Yet the Brazilian Supreme Court led by Carlos Ayres Britto is known for the lawsuits they conduct against the suspected corrupt ministers from the Lula era. However the many dismissed lawsuits and decisions in favour of the government, raise doubts about the credibility and integrity of this Supreme Court and mister Britto.
The current capitalist neoliberal government of Brazil under the influence of the big multinational oligarchies has conducted the misplaced idea that they have total say about the Amazon and that it is up to them to sell this unique nature for the best interest of a small capitalist elite.
The international finance capital is some sort of supreme mob, which has total control over the world and has total power over practically every government. “Chosen” governments only take decisions in their favour and thereby completely ignore the interests of the peoples. This is abundantly clear in the case of Brazil.
We have a choice:
Either; we let it all happen, continue consuming, accepting the fact that peoples all across the world are exploited for the profit of a small international elite and risking and throwing away the future of our posterity and the future of mother nature, knowing that we’re on a collision course towards a global disaster! Deforestation, fracking, pollution of the oceans, wage and interest slavery, destruction of cultures in order to promote a homogenous mush, where does it end?
Or; we fight back! Fight against those who have condemned us to (social, cultural, ecological etc.) death merely for them to make more profit, to secure a durable and just future for ourselves, our offspring and all flora and fauna on earth. We have to stop the madness of the all-consuming and all-destroying capitalism NOW, while we still can.
Don’t get caught in the traps that the bankers, corrupt politicians, corrupt union leaders and all the other dummies for the capitalist elite have set for us.
Destroy the power of the capital!
Stop the capitalist destruction of the Brazilian rainforest!
Solidarity with the Kapayo people, the Xikrin people, the Juruna people, the Arara people, the Guarani people and all the other local peoples in their struggle against the destruction of the Amazon.
Their struggle is also our struggle!