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BRAZIL / PERU
Big promises for the Amazon
4/30/2009
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Presidents vow to conserve rain forest while increasing bilateral trade and investment along the border.

The presidents of Peru and Brazil agreed to conserve the Amazon forest along their shared border, while stepping up integration and trade there.

Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva and his Peruvian counterpart, Alan García, ended their bilateral meeting in Rio Branco, in the Brazilian border state of Acre, on April 28, by signing six memoranda of understanding, including one to increase hydroelectricity integration between the two countries, and four agreements to improve cooperation between the neighboring nations.

Under the agreement, Brazil and Peru will begin studies to build up to six hydroelectric plants in Peru.

García said Peru may sell shares of state-run electricity company Electroperu to Brazil´s federally-controlled company Electrobras, to generate cash for new projects.

The Peruvian-generated electricity will likely be sold to Brazil.

While Peru is two-thirds jungle, 70 percent of its population lives on the coast, home to less than two percent of the country´s water supply. With Peru´s glacier´s rapidly melting, three years ago García faced criticism when he said Peru could sell hydroelectricity to neighboring Brazil.

Brazil´s president said that the new infrastructure projects and increased trade, which García called a “bing bang” of commerce and production, along the border should not damage the biodiverse Amazon rain forest.

Lula called the area “a unique sanctuary of humanity” and admitted that there “are those who want to kill the Amazon,” but he did not go into further detail.

Nevertheless, both leaders agreed to push forward with the construction of the Inter-Oceanic Highway, a controversial 2,600-kilometer highway under construction that will link Brazil´s Atlantic ports with the Pacific coast of Peru, and cut through both nations´ Amazon forest.
–Latinamerica Press.


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