Sunday, April 11, 2010


Indian woman from the Xingu River of the central Amazon valley demonstrating her
opposition to the Belo Monte dam. (June, 2008)

Members of an uncontacted tribe in Acre state of Brazil's western Amazon point their
arrows at a government helicopter flying over their encampment.

The 2008 message of the tribes (photos above) from across AmazĂ´nia was simple: GET LOST!!!
But the motif of anger and violence did not play well as the media tended to focus on it rather than on the issues. The massive
Belo Monte hydroelectric project was delayed but only temporarily. Now its specter has risen once again.

Recently, the Brazilian government approved the project and will hold an auction for construction bids later this month. It's not yet a "done deal." Already several private firms have stated that the project would not be economical and have withdrawn. But President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva says Brazil's government will itself build the massive Belo Monte hydroelectric dam if no private firms bid for the project. Let's see.

The conflict has remained as a stand-off for many years but now the march of modern civilization is once again drawing closer to overwhelming the territories of traditional people. And the political flash-point is drawing closer as well. This time there are no Indians brandishing machetes. Instead, a new weapon has appeared. AVATAR 2.0 has arrived as an important ally.

James Cameron backs efforts to halt the building of the Belo Monte dam.
photo: André Vieira for The New York Times

Today's NY Times reports the story and has a marvelous audio slideshow.

AMAZON WATCH would be an excellent place to keep updated.

Here's their recent video:

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