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BRAZIL
Protests against hydroelectric dams
IPS, Latinamerica Press
3/27/2008
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600 members of the Movement of People Affected by Dams (MAB, for its initials in Portuguese) occupied the Brazilian Institute for the Environment in São Paulo.

On March 14 — the International Day of Action Against Dams and for Rivers, Water and Life — some 600 members of the Movement of People Affected by Dams (MAB, for its initials in Portuguese) occupied the Brazilian Institute for the Environment in São Paulo.

The group´s objective was to stop the hydroelectric project of Tijuco Alto in the Ribeira de Iguape River, some 300 kilometers (186 miles) from São Paulo. The project would displace approximately 2,000 people in five municipalities. Two weeks ago, the institute said that the project was viable, but said that it would stop the dam´s construction until it conferred with the affected community.

According to MAB, more than 1 million people in Brazil have been displaced in the 30 years due to hydroelectric projects that usually only benefit big companies. In the case of Tijuco Alto, the Brazilian Aluminum Company of the Votoratim group is the greatest beneficiary. The company would use all the energy generated from the dam, amounting to 144 megawatts.

For activist Evandro Nesello, MAB coordinator in the Ribeira River valley, putting an end to the project is “an initial step” to prevent campesino, indigenous and Afro-descendant families from being driven out of the land where they live off traditional crops and fruits from the forest without damaging nature.

The dam will destroy a good part of the Mata Atlantica, a forest close to the eastern coast of Brazil, which has already lost 93 percent of its original forests.


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