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What did really make Chief Raoni cry?!


Written By
Sara Mazloumsaki

When I first saw this picture, it broke my heart because it says that Chief Raoni of the Kayapo tribe has started crying when he learned that Brazilian president authorized the construction of the controversial Belo Monte hydroelectric dam.

I admit that the picture plus the caption to it moved me so much that I start asking myself how can I help? and start researching and calling people about the hydroelectric plant of Belo Monte and sure enough I found out that the caption to the photo was misleading.

According to the Amazon Watch his cry had nothing to do with the dam or any news relate to it. It is a custom among the Kayapo to cry when they greet an old acquaintance or relative that they have not seen for a long time. This is what the photo illustrates and not his reaction over the approval of Belo Monte's construction license.

In an email to SARAjun, Caroline Bennett, Communications Director for Amazon watch wrote us that chief Raoni says that when he heard of it (the government's decision) he became very angry and rather than crying he has new resolve to join forces with other dam opponents to fight to stop the tragedy from taking place.

Now, that I know he is not crying rather angry, the question is why hydroelectric plant of Belo Monte project is so controversial?.

The Belo Monte Dam, formerly known as the Kararaô Dam Project, is a proposed hydroelectric dam complex on the Xingu River in the Brazilian state of Para.

Plans for the dam began in 1975, but protests and controversy caused them to be dropped until they were revitalized in the late 1990s. Over the last twenty years, the plans have gone through many changes and new designs, always accompanied by protests from many groups, including native Americans, environmentalists, and others. Everything changed in August 2010, when a contract was signed with Norte Energia to construct the dam. The Brazilian Institute of Environment and Renewable Natural Resources (IBAMA) issued a partial installation license on January 26th, 2011, but construction was blocked by a federal judge on February 25th. On March 3rd, that decision was overturned by a higher court, and this freed the way for preliminary construction to begin. A new license to construct the dam was issued on June 1st, and again it was blocked by a federal judge on September 28.

As you can see, this project has been controversial from the get go, but why?

Opponents argue that this development would be a death sentence for the peoples of Great Bend of the Xingu river. They believe that Belo Monte will overflow at least 400,000 hectares of forest, an area larger than the Panama Canal, displace more than 40,000 indigenous and local populations, and destroy habitat valuable for many species. If one takes into account the social, economic, and environmental cost, it would be a very high price to pay for the additional electricity, which could easily be generated with greater investments in energy efficiency.

If the Belo Monte Dam plans go through it would be the world's third-largest in installed capacity, behind the Three Gorges Dam in China and the Brazilian-Paraguayan Itaipu Dam.

If you think your voice has no impact, think again. In early October, according to Bloomberg News, stock of Cia. Energetica de Minas Gerais, a Brazilian state-controlled electricity utility, fell to its lowest level in almost two months because of news that they were buying a stake in the Belo Monte dam.

Even Wall Street reacts to protest and controversy: an analyst at Credit Suisse Group AG told Bloomberg News, “We see this investment as negative.”

If you want to stop the Belo Monte Dam, you can signing the petition here! http://amazonwatch.org/take-action/stop-the-belo-monte-monster-dam.


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0 #22 Reality 2014-03-15 02:01
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0 #20 Marlene Strode 2013-05-06 01:02
Please do not dam in Brazil. When we destroy our planet and her natural resources, we also destroy ourselves. It is time to stop being the biggest predator on the earth and begin to be a part of her beautiful eco system.
-1 #19 Theodore Jenkinson 2013-04-01 21:25
0 #18 Daz King 2013-03-30 16:57
If that is the reason why the Chief cried, then why are the other 2 visible faces in the picture of shock and sadness? I am saddened and dismayed at the shear devastation that this will cause, why do we (Humans) have to destroy all that is good in this world in the name of 'progress'? It's like the MTR debacle on the Blue Ridge Mountains! only this will have far-far more of an ecological impact (I was taught as a child that the Amazonian rain forests were the 'lungs of the world'). All-in-all, whether the Chief cried for either of the reasons stated, the message has been received 'loud and clear' and the Chief's tears hopefully have not been in vein.
0 #17 Tania 2013-03-30 13:42
PLEASE! Find another way! Enough already of displacement and distruction of virgen forest and indigenous people

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