. The boldest governmental statements on the world’s ecological crisis are coming from Cuba, Bolivia, and other anti-imperialist governments in Latin America. The influence of Indigenous struggles is felt here. Bolivian President Evo Morales points to the leading role of Indigenous peoples, “called upon by history to convert ourselves into the vanguard of the struggle to defend nature and life.”
This claim rests on an approach by many Indigenous movements to ecology that is inherently revolutionary. Most First-World ecological discussion focuses on technical and market devices, such as carbon trading, taxation, and offsets, that aim to preserve as much as possible of a capitalist economic system that is inherently destructive to the natural world. Indigenous movements, by contrast, begin with the demand for a new relationship of humankind to our natural environment, sometimes expressed in the slogan, “Liberate Mother Earth.”
These movements often express their demand using an unfamiliar terminology of ancestral spiritual wisdom — but behind those words lies a worldview that can be viewed as a form of materialism.
In pre-conquest Andean society, says Peruvian Indigenous leader Rosalía Paiva, “Each was a part of all, and all were of the soil. The soil could never belong to us because we are its sons and daughters, and we belong to the soil.”
Bolivian Indigenous writer Marcelo Saavedra Vargas holds that “It is capitalist society that rejects materialism. It makes war on the material world and destroys it. We, on the other hand, embrace the material world, consider ourselves part of it, and care for it.”
This approach is reminiscent of Marx’s thinking, as presented by John Bellamy Foster in Marx’s Ecology. It is entirely appropriate to interpret “Liberate Mother Earth” as equivalent to “close the metabolic rift.”
Hugo Chávez says that in Venezuela, 21st Century Socialism will be based not only on Marxism but also on Bolivarianism, Indigenous socialism, and Christian revolutionary traditions. Latin American Marxism’s capacity to link up in this way with what Shanin calls vernacular revolutionary traditions is a sign of its vitality and promise.
I will conclude with a story told by the Peruvian Marxist and Indigenous leader Hugo Blanco. A member of his community, he tells us, conducted some Swedish tourists to a Quechua village near Cuzco. Impressed by the collectivist spirit of the Indigenous community, one of the tourists commented, “This is like communism.”
“No,” responded their guide, “Communism is like this.”
Taken from http://bermudaradical.wordpress.com/2009/12/05/from-marx-to-morales-indigenous-socialism-and-the-latin-americanization-of-marxism/
Friday 30 April 2010
I know that that is the film jacket!!! I also knowt that jo made great job. quite unny and entertaining book. Making funny jokes on brazilian aristocracy where the real clowns are. The catch is not the fact the Holmes never got the serial killer but the almost fact that he was raped in a brazilian jail. I liked Wittgenstein's quote. Great journey into Brazilian culture and humour.
"Who is & who is not in RGS" is a more appropriate title for it.
Posted by Gil Serique: Culture, Windsurf & Wildlife In the Amazon at 08:11
Tuesday 27 April 2010
You put a lot of efforts, spend lots of energy and time to elect a president expecting that he is going to take good care of your country but it turns out that he actually wants to benefit big companies and develop project that destroy nature. That is the case of Lula and a bunch of idiots before him. He is willing to build at any cost a dam on the Xingu river bringing along immesurable environmental impact.
he is also becoming a good friend of iran's president, which means he is really planning to reduce brazilian nature.
If I was the president of my country one of the first things i would do was bombing Iran.
See, iranians live in the middle of a desert and they try to grow palm trees and even create a rain forest, which means they love nature, wildlife. They have a strong army and get really pissed when you touch them.
They would surely invade brazil take over our weak armies led by old farts from dictatotship times.
When they see how beautiful nature is here,the amazing biodiversity,they would certainly protect with teeth and nails nature.
We can work on them later that walking semi-naked on the beach and streets is part of our culture.
Posted by Gil Serique: Culture, Windsurf & Wildlife In the Amazon at 14:15
Sunday 25 April 2010
Saturday 24 April 2010
Indigenous Declaration After the Belo Monte Dam Auction
We, the indigenous people of the Xingú, do not want Belo Monte
We, the indigenous people of the Xingú, are here fighting for our people, for our lands, but we're also fighting for the future of the world. President Lula said last week that he was worried for indigenous people and worried about the Amazon, and that he does not want international NGOs to speak against Belo Monte. We are not international NGOs.
We, 62 indigenous leaders from the villages Bacajá, Mrotidjam, Kararaô, Terra-Wanga, Boa Vista Km 17, Tukamã, Kapoto, Moikarako, Aykre, Kiketrum, Potikro, Tukaia, Mentutire, Omekrankum, Cakamkubem and Pokaimone, have already suffered many invasions and threats. When the Portuguese came to Brazil, we indigenous people were already here, and many died, many lost their enormous vast territories, we lost many of the rights that we had, many lost parts of their culture, and other tribes disappeared completely. The forest is our butcher shop, the river is our market. We do not want the rivers of the Xingú to be invaded, and our villages and children to be threatened, children who will grow with our culture.
We do not accept the Belo Monte hydroelectric dam because we understand that it will bring more destruction to our region. We are not thinking only about the locale where they want to construct the dam, but about all of the destruction the dam will bring in the future: more corporations, more ranches, more land invasions, more conflicts, and even more dams. If the white man continues to carry on like this, everything will be destroyed very quickly. We ask ourselves: what else does the government want? What good is more energy after so much destruction?
We have already held many reunions and large meetings against Belo Monte, such as in 1989 and 2008 in Altamira, Pará, and in 2009 in the village Piaraçu, in which many of our leaders were present. We have already spoken personally with President Lula and told him that we do not want this dam, and he promised us that this dam would not be shoved down our throats. We have also already spoken with Eletronorte and Eletrobrás, with Funai, and with Ibama. We already warned the government that if Belo Monte were built, they would have war on their hands. The government did not understand our message and challenged indigenous people once more, saying that they are going to build the dam at any cost. When President Lula said this, he demonstrated that he is not concerned with what indigenous people say, and that he does not know our rights. His lack of respect led him to schedule the auction for Belo Monte during indigenous peoples' week.
Because of this, we indigenous people of the Xingú region invite James Cameron and his team, representatives of the Movimento Xingu Vivo para Sempre (such as the women's movement, ISA and CIMI, Amazon Watch and other organizations). We want them to help us carry our message to the entire world and to the Brazilians who do not yet know what is happening on the Xingú. We have invited them because we see that many people from across Brazil and many foreigners want to help protect indigenous people and the territories of our people. Those who do this are very welcome among us.
We are here fighting for our people, for our lands, for our forests, for our rivers, for our children and in the honor of our ancestors. We fight also for the future of the world, because we know that these forests bring benefits not only to indigenous people but to the people of Brazil and to the entire world. We also know that without these forests, many people will suffer, even more than they have already suffered from the destruction that has taken place in the past. All life is connected, like the blood that unites a family.
The world must know what is happening here, they must perceive how destroying forests and indigenous people destroys the entire world. Because of this we do not want Belo Monte. Belo Monte represents the destruction of our people.
To close, we proclaim that we are ready, we are strong, we are willing to fight, and we remember the words of a letter from an indigenous Native American relative sent to the President years ago: "Only when the white man destroys the entire forest, when he kills all the fish, when he kills all the animals, and when he finishes off all the rivers, will he perceive that nobody is capable of eating money."
Author(s): Cacique Bet Kamati Kayapó, Cacique Raoni Kayapó and Yakareti Juruna
Originally published in Valor Econômico - 20 April, 2010
Posted by Gil Serique: Culture, Windsurf & Wildlife In the Amazon at 18:24
Belo Monte dam will only flood an area equivalent to 10 times that of manhattan threatening a fishfauna more diversified than that of Europe
Posted by Gil Serique: Culture, Windsurf & Wildlife In the Amazon at 15:03
Government intends to "offer" 16 large dams for concession over the next four years
Itaipu Plant's transmission towers were knocked over by wind gusts. Balbina Plant is rendered inoperative by draught. Power rationing affects both industry and dwellers' daily shower in São Paulo. There's blackouts and chaos. Rest assured, however, because the government intends to increase available power. Over the next 20 years, whether you live in Porto Trombetas or in Porto Alegre, your home will sparkle with the power yielded by the Hydroelectric Power Plants to be installed in the Amazon watersheds.
Let us backtrack ten years. Do you remember Tuíra, the indomitable Kayapó woman who challenged with her machete the representative (and present CEO) of Eletronorte, Antônio Muniz Lopes? "No dams," said she. Cararaô, the $7.5 billion 11,000 MW dam whose construction on the Xingu river was rebutted by Tuíra, Sting and the international media is back under the sweeter handle of "Belo Monte" (Beautiful Hill, literally). This will be one of the 16 large Amazonean dams that the Brazilian government wishes to offer as concessions over the next four years to private companies. "This doesn't mean that the projects will be built," says Alexandre Accioly, media advisor to Eletronorte. "Tendering bids and commissioned studies may take 15 years or more. Saying that so many dams will be built in the Amazon was the great lie of the 80s."
All that notwithstanding, since most sites of greater hydroelectric power in the Brazilian South, Southeast and Northeast are already being explored and since Brazil depends on hydroelectric power plants for the production of over 90% of its power, the vision of thousand of squared kilometers of Amazonean forests and marshlands rotting under stagnated water can become reality. By the late 80s, the cancellation of a World Bank loan to the power industry and the squalor of Brazilian economy delayed the Brazilian government's ambitious plan to expand its hydroelectric power generation. Now, according to the National Department of Water and Power (DNAEE), 12 out of the 14 plants rated at over 450 MW whose tendering bids will be opened in the next four years will be built in the Tocantins / Araguaia, Xingu, Trombetas and Tapajós rivers.
"We expect a more adequate, non-emotional process as was done," states Eduardo Alberto Larrosa, general coordinator for concessions at DNAEE. He highlights that concessions will be offered for tendering only after the Environmental Impact Report is completed.
The Big Line
The key issue which will make the hydroelectric power plant network feasible in the Amazon is the construction of a 1,020 km transmission line, connecting the North system in Imperatriz with the South system in the Serra da Mesa. This connection will afford the power generated in the Amazon to come to the industrial and population centers of the Southeast and South. The "big line" whose budgeted cost is $900 million will be granted a $300 million loan from the Interamerican Development Bank (IDB).
IDB acknowledges that the construction of the "big line" will entail the construction of dams in the Tocantins river. Presently Tucuruí, in the lower Tocantins, and Serra da mesa, approximately 1,000 km upstream, are the sole artificial barriers which break the natural river flow. Add another seven new dams in the Tocantins, plus another three dams in the Araguaia (a tributary of the Tocantins) -- all this a part of DNAEE's expansion plan -- and the Tocantins will become a great water stairway, storing and pumping water according to power demand conditions, which will turn the most powerful Eastern Amazonean river into a water drip.
Self-producers and independent generators will be new main investors for new power generation in the Amazon -- that is to say, mining and ore processing corporations, selling off the power leftovers from their plants to the national network.
Will domestic construction engineering companies or multinational corporations like Alcan and Alcoa be more effective than state corporations in forecasting and mitigating social and environmental impacts of these enormous ventures? Basing on the experience of 25,000 people expelled from their lands and other thousands who can no longer live off fishing in the dead waters of the Tucuruí power plant spillway flow, private companies will not be much worse. However, who's to ensure that disasters such as the Serra da mesa hydroelectric power plant will not be repeated in the future? This dam was approved in a quick manner and its licensing was quite irregular, and the company in charge for the rescue of threatened animals opted for killing off thousands of them while the reservoir was flooded.
All of these forecasts for new dams are very optimistic. The new economic crisis is threatening once again to slow down the power demand jack-up and the flow of capitals for great infrastructure projects. However, the powerful alliance between construction engineering companies and mining corporations with equipment vendors headquartered in Europe and in the United States, where power dams lost their prestige and are now considered as an expensive, environmental-hostile technology will beat a path towards a new network of hydroelectric dams in the forest.
Only by way of a broader debate about future alternatives for the Brazilian power future it will be possible to prevent the 21st century to go down in history as the era of drowning the Amazon.
Glenn Switkes is a journalist and director of the Latin American Program of the International Rivers Network, headquartered in California, USA
Posted by Gil Serique: Culture, Windsurf & Wildlife In the Amazon at 07:44
But the Eletronorte power utility charged back with reinforced arguments. Only one dam will be built and not three, as originally planned. Thus, only 440 square kilometers will be flooded, eight times less than in the original plan (and six times less than the area of the Tucuruí dam in the Tocantins river). Generating 40% more power than Tucuruí in its final stage (8,000 MW, double its current generating capacity), Monte Belo will be cheaper - if it stays within its budget boundaries.
Eletrobrás C.E.O. José Antônio Muniz Lopes says that Belo Monte is the hydroelectric power plant of his dreams, due to its great generating capacity, with low cost of installed kilowatt and reduced environmental impact. Among hydroelectric plants, Monte Belo is surpassed only by recently-inaugurated, Northeast-located Xingó, favorably resting upon a river gorge, which practically eliminates the need for a dam.
Eletronorte is confident that it will overcome resistance from ecologists and from their non-governmental organizations and that it will attract funding from anywhere in the world. Even if built in one of the prettiest Amazonian locations, an area just now being incorporated into the economic fronts and distant 700 kilometers from Belém, Xingu will not have the same impact as Tucuruí and Balbina, due to a quirk-of-nature wide yet closed river bend, in the precise location where the dam will be constructed.
Be that as it may, right after the indigenous peoples met at Altamira, Eletronorte saw fit to change the project’s name from Kararaô to Monte Belo. Why ? An attempt perhaps to get rid of the stigmata and the sour taste left when the female Indian Tuíra brought her long and sharp knife to touch the scared face of then Eletronorte director and now its C.E.O. Muniz Lopes ? Could it be that Tuíra’s curse is at long last gone ?
A journalist, Lúcio Flávio Pinto lives in Belém and is
editor of the Jornal Pessoal newspaper.
Posted by Gil Serique: Culture, Windsurf & Wildlife In the Amazon at 07:01
Fifteen years after Tucuruí - the largest hydroelectric power complex in the tropics - was inaugurated, the Brazilian government is starting a new and even larger electric power undertaking in the same state of Pará: the Belo Monte hydroelectric plant on the Xingu river. Monte Belo will absorb US$ 8 billion and, upon conclusion, may generate eleven thousand megawatts (MW), surpassing not only Tucuruí but also Itaipu, Brazil’s and the world’s largest hydroelectric power plant. Monte Belo will add nearly 20% to the Brazilian installed electric power capacity.
Technicians from the Eletronorte and Eletrobrás utilities are already at work on a government / private enterprise consortium model, to carry out the Monte Belo project. As per the preliminary draft, the Brazilian government would upfront the necessary funds to install the worksite, hire the initial services and order the machinery, until such a time as details of private enterprise participation are ironed out. There is good reason for this governmental hurry: all electricity extracted from the Xingu river project would be transferred to the South of Brazil, entering that market just as it would be hit by a power supply crisis.
Eletronorte has already taken the first step. Last month a high voltage line was inaugurated, stretching another 300 kilometers Westward the electric power from the Tucuruí plant on the Tocantins river. As such, when Belo Monte starts operation it will already be connected to an interlinked transmission grid which, in successive waves, will allow the transfer to more developed Brazilian regions of all power surplus in Pará, Brazil’s fifth largest generator and third largest exporter of raw power.
The latest Eletrobrás strategic planning review (Plan 2015) calls for the following breakdown: of all the electric power from the Tocantins - Araguaia, Xingu and Lower Tapajós river basins (rightside bank tributaries of the Amazon, concentrating the largest hydroelectric potential), 3,800 MW would be supplied to Northern Brazil, mainly in the Belém and São Luís aluminum complexes, while 4,900 MW would feed the Northeast and 12,000 MW would go down to the Southeast. Thus, the Amazon - specifically the state of Pará - would be consolidated as Brazil’s largest power region. Let it not be forgotten that the Amazon already supplies ores (mostly concentrated in the Pará location of Carajás). However, the region would have to abandon its industrialization dreams because production bundling will only take place in markets which consume these goods.
At one time it seemed that the cycle to tap electricity from the major rivers in the Amazonian rainforest had been permanently broken by the outraged outcry which followed the Tucuruí and the Balbina projects. The national and international communities, especially scientists, severely criticized the Brazilian government for the negative effects of damming the rivers in the region. Enormous water volumes and low slopes led to the flooding of huge forest tracts, impacting the environment and native populations alike.
Furthermore, inexplicably these works far overran their budgets. Tucuruí, whose construction started in 1975, was originally budgeted at US$ 2.1 billion. In today’s dollars, its cost would be around US$ 8 or 9 billion. The ensuing wrathful reaction reached international financing institutions, which nixed their support for new projects. The World Bank vetoed funding for new hydroelectric plants in the Amazon. Cashless, the Brazilian government suspended new plans. Among all such plans, the Xingu complex was the most polemical.
At a meeting in the 80s held in Altamira, the city where most of the support for the Xingu project is to come from, the Indians were able to sway public opinion against building new major dams in a region wherein the ecological balance is so precarious. Images of submerged forests, of dying trees and homeless populations, of new plagues rising and even greater threats looming ahead on a doom’s-day future, strengthened the reaction against these megaworks.
By Lúcio Flávio Pinto who lives in Belém and is
editor of the Jornal Pessoal newspaper.
Posted by Gil Serique: Culture, Windsurf & Wildlife In the Amazon at 07:00
Wednesday 21 April 2010
The indigenous people not only fight against the construction of Belo Monte dam(Xingu river-Amazon-Brazil)because will affect directly their lives, but because it poses threats to an enormous array of animals that deserve living in peace on Earth.
Posted by Gil Serique: Culture, Windsurf & Wildlife In the Amazon at 20:11
Monday 19 April 2010
Sunday 18 April 2010
Golden Parakeet was traded by four slaves two hundred years ago. Currently they number some 6000 in the wild due to habitat destruction, hunting and pet trade. This picture was taken some some three days ago, at Cupari river where a few groups remain flying free.
Posted by Gil Serique: Culture, Windsurf & Wildlife In the Amazon at 08:53