sexta-feira, 14 de maio de 2010

Press releases by indigenous leaders on the implications of the Belo Monte dam


We, the leaders and warriors of our movement, are here in Piaraçu and we will remain here, continuing our blockade of the ferry across the Xingú River so long as President Luis Inácio Lula da Silva continues to insist on building the dam at Belo Monte. We are outraged to hear Lula say that he will build the dam whatever it takes, even if it means resort to force! Now we Indians and all of us who voted for Lula are discovering who this man really is. We are not bandits, we are not drug-trafficers that he should treat us this way. All that we want is that the Belo Monte dam should not be constructed. We here have no weapons to confront an attempt to remove us by force. If Lula wants to finish us off as he seems to be suggesting, the whole world will know that we will have died fighting for our rights. Lula has shown that he is the Number one enemy of the Indians, and the President of the National Indian Foundation, Marcio Meira, has shown that he is in second place as the enemy of indigenous people. He has failed to demarcate Indigenous lands, or to protect or provide services to existing indigenous territories. We indigenous leaders have been prevented from entering the national offices of the Indian Agency by armed troops. The Indians of this country have simply been abandoned , we who were the original inhabitants of this country have been forgotten by the government of Lula, who wants only our destruction. This is the conclusion we have drawn from his actions.

(Signed) Indigenous leader Megaron Txukarramãe
Village of Piaraçu, 26 April, 2010

We, the indigenous people of the Xingú, do not want the Belo Monte dam
By: Chief Ropni Kayapó, Chief Bepkamati Kayapó, and Yakareti Juruna.

We, the indigenous people of the Xingú, are here fighting for our people and for our land, but we are also fighting for the future of the world.

President Lula said last week that he is worried about the Indians and about Amazonia, and that he does not want international NGOs speaking out against Belo Monte. Well, we are not international NGOs.

We, 62 indigenous leaders of the communities of Bacajá, Mrotidjam, Kararaô, Terra-Wanga, Boa Vista Km. 17, Tukamã, Kapoto, Moikarakô, Aukre, Kikretum, Potikrô, Tukala, Mentuktire, Omekrankum, Cakamkuben e Pokalmone, have already suffered many invasions and threats. When the Portuguese arrived in Brazil, we Indians were already here and many of us died. We lost enormous territories, the rights we had possessed, and many also lost part of their cultures. Other peoples completely disappeared.

The forest is our butcher shop, the River is our food market. We do not want others meddling with our Xingú and its tributaries, or threatening our villages and our children, whom we want to grow up in our culture.

We do not accept the hydroelectric dam of Belo Monte because we understand that will only bring more destruction to our region. We are not thinking only of the place where they want to build the dam, but of all the destruction that the dam will cause in the future: more industrial enterprises, more ranches, more land invasions, more conflicts and the construction of even more dams. The way the white men are going, they will rapidly destroy everything. We ask: what more does the government want? For what do they need more energy at the cost of so much destruction?

We have already held many conferences and big meetings against Belo Monte, as we did in 1989 and 2008 in Altamira, and in 2009 in the village of Piaraçu, at which many of the leaders assembled here were also present. We have already spoken personally with President Lula and explained to him that we do not want this dam, and he promised us that this dam would not be rammed down our throats. We have also spoken with Eletronorte and Eletrobras, with the National Indian Foundation (FUNAI) and with the Brazilian Institute for the Amazon (IBAMA). We have warned the government that if it goes ahead with this dam project, it will mean war. The government did not understand our message and has again defied the indigenous peoples, declaring that it will build the dam whatever it takes. When President Lula says this, he reveals how little importance he attaches to what the indigenous people are saying and that he has no idea of our rights. An example of this lack of respect was the holding of the auction for the construction contracts of Belo Monte in the Week of the Indian.

For these reasons we, the indigenous peoples of the Xingú region, are inviting James Cameron and his crew, and representatives of Xingu Vivo para Sempre (Xingú Alive Forever), the Movement of Women the Xingú, the Socioenvironmental Institute (ISA), the Missionary Council of the Church (CIMI), Amazon Watch and other organizations, to help us spread our message throughout the world, and to the many Brazilians who do not know what is happening in the Xingú. We are issuing this invitation because there are people in many parts of Brazil and in foreign countries who want to support and protect indigenous peoples and their lands. These people 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 for the honor of our ancestors. We fight also for the future of the world, because we know that these forests bring benefits not only for the Indians but for the people of Brazil and the entire world. We also know that if these forests are destroyed many people will suffer much more, because they are already suffering from the destruction that has already been done; because everything is interconnected, like the blood that unites a single family.

The world must know what is happening here, it must see that by destroying the forests and the indigenous peoples they are destroying the world. This is why we do not want Belo Monte. Belo Monte means the destruction of our people.

To conclude, we are prepared, strong and hardened for this struggle, and we remember what a North American indigenous kinsman wrote to the American President many years ago: “ Only when the white man has chopped down the forest, killed all the fish, slaughtered all the animals and destroyed all the rivers will he perceive that nobody can eat money.

Piaraçu 20/04/2010

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