Ben Buchwalter

Will Brazil’s New Dam Displace Indigenous People?
February 17, 2010, 10:44 pm
Filed under: energy, Environment, Mother Jones | Tags: , ,

Earlier this month, the Brazilian government announced that it would move forward with the controversial Belo Monte hydroelectric dam in the Amazon. Current estimates indicate that the dam will flood 100 square miles of Brazil’s rain forest and cost $17 billion. But critics, including pop star Sting, have warned that the dam could have an even larger negative impact on the area:

Some anti-dam activists have worried that, in addition to harming their forests, the project could displace indigenous populations. Minc rejects these concerns. “Not a single Indian will be displaced,” he said. “They will be indirectly affected, but they will not have to leave indigenous lands.”

The claim sounds reassuring, but it’s difficult to take at face value since the Brazilian government has made a practice of moving indigenous people off their land in the name of conservation. As Mark Schapiro reports for Mother Jones, the Brazilian “green police” is feared for displacing the Guarani Indians as part of their conservation strategy in the Guaraquecaba Environmental Protection Area, a 50,000 acre rain forest funded by General Motors, Chevron, and American Electric Power.