Indigenous Amazonians Prepare For War to Stop Massive Hydroelectric Dam on Xingu River

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Brazil's planned 11 gigawatt Belo Monte Dam on the Xingu River (a tributary of the Amazon) has raised a lot of protest in the past few months--and some comparisons of life imitating art, with James Avatar Cameron entering the fray. Now, as reported in Mongabay, indigenous leaders are preparing for war to stop the project.The a chief from the Kayapo people told French television, "I have asked my warriors to prepare for war and I have spoken of this with other tribes from the Upper Xingu." A different group of Kayapo have been blockading a ferry crossing over the Xingu in protest for the past month. Chief of the group setting up the blockade has said that his people are prepared to "die fighting for our rights."

Speaking more broadly, Atossa Soltani of Amazon Watch describes the situation:

Indigenous people are determined to disrupt the 'business as usual' model of destructive development projects that ruin the environment and their traditional ways of life. Indigenous groups from the Xingu Basin have sent the Brazilian government a clear and resounding message that they will not allow the Belo Monte Dam to move forward.

The Belo Monte dam is scheduled to come online in 2015, will be the third-largest hydroelectric dam in the world, flooding 500 square miles of rainforest, directly displacing some 12,000 indigenous people and affecting the lives of 45,000 more.

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