Newsletter 892 – Communities of the Xingu demand more debates on the Belo Monte hydroelectric plant

On December 1st  and 2nd , more than 100 indigenous and riverine peoples of the Xingu river region in Pará participated in hearings and meetings in Brasilia addressing the project of the hydroelectric of Belo Monte, forseen for construction on that river. The Xingu communities – once again – call for the Federal Government to hold public hearings in Pará about the project.


The communities of the Xingu evaluate the four hearings held in October as being insufficient for clarifying information about the impacts on the population affected, which could be caused by the hydroelectric of Belo Monte. As of yet, no response was given in these meetings to the questions posed by diverse specialists, like the specialists of the Expert Panel (see the Executive Summary of Expert Panel Reports in English). In addition to this, the Federal Public Ministry in Pará (MPF-PA) points to irregularities in the hearings, such as restrictions placed on the participation of the MPF-PA and the public in general.


Due to the insufficiency of debate on the project, the MPF-PA introduced an action calling for the suspension of the licensing process for the project until new hearings are conducted. The Federal Court granted a stay in favor of the action by the MPF-PA, paralyzing the licensing, but the Federal Regional Tribunal (TRF1) suspended the decision.


On December 1, the procurator Rodrigo Timóteo Costa e Silva, of Altamira criticized the absence of representatives of Eletrobras and of the National Foundation of Indigenous Affairs (FUNAI) from the hearing promoted by the Attorney General: “The government refuses to conduct more hearings, it refuses to hold hearings with the indigenous peoples, as mandated by the Federal Constitution, and ultimately frustrates the expectation of the persons who confront the Transamazônica for this debate here. The revolt by society is justified by the lack of public debate on this case of the Belo Monte”.


On December 2, during the hearing in the Human Rights Commission of the Senate, the indigenous representatives Luis Xipaia and Tuíra Kaiapó reaffirmed that the peoples of the region do not accept the construction of the hydroelectric plant. “The Xingu is in my heart. I am going to defend the Xingu”, stated Tuíra. They question the opinion of the FUNAI that favors the work, because the people affected have not been heard, as established in Convention 169 of the UN ILO.


Several senators present in the hearing also requesitioned more debates on the issue and criticized the absence of Eletrobras in the event sponsored by the Human Rights Commission. Senator José Nery of the Psol-PA will requisition the holding of new hearings regarding the work in the HRC and the convocation of the presidents of Eletrobras and of the IBAMA to provide clarifications to the Senate regarding the project.


Pressure and questions on licensing

The Environmental Impact Study (EIS) of the hydroelectric of Belo Monte is criticized by several specialists. Francisco Hernandez, researcher for the Interunit Program in Energy of the University of São Paulo stated that the EIS does not assure the navigation conditions on the Xingu river and the water and food security of the population in the region. The Study also underestimates the population that would be affected.


In spite of all of the questions from the local community and from the specialists as to the technical, economic and social viability of the enterprise, the Federal Government continues to announce the auction for construction of the work – this being done prior to environmental licensing. The Minister of Mines and Energy, Edson Lobão, announced in November, the date that the IBAMA would release the licensing of the work. Yesterday, the director of licensing at IBAMA, Sebastião Custódio Pires, and the general coordinator of Infrastructure of Electric Energy for the agency, Leozildo Tabajara da Silva Benjamin, left their offices – without publicly confirming that they had been experiencing pressures.



Brasilia, December 3 of 2009

Indigenist Missionary Council



Executive Summary of Expert Panel Reports in English:  http://www.internationalrivers.org/files/EXEC%20SUMMARY%20ENGLISH_0.pdf

Fonte: Indigenis Missionary Council
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