Belo Monte Dam: Brazilians can make good use of international support.

The Belo Monte Dam, if built, would be the third largest Dam in the world, right in the middle of Amazon forest. It is expected to be the most expensive construction in Brazilian history. It is obvious that, something with this magnitude would cause lots of discussion especially among the environmentalists and human rights professionals. As usually the environmentalists have been blamed to be against Brazil’s economic growth, besides that it is been said that Brazil will face blackouts if we don’t build more dams. Well, this is not quite true.

Why are there people who still think that the problem with Belo Monte is just a matter of environmental impacts? It's time to understand “environment” as a crosscutting theme and realize talk to discuss environmental issues opens doors to discuss politics, economy, culture and social change.

Belo Monte is there to prove it.

For those who still think that being against to Belo Monte is to deny Brazil’s potential to grow I say: if there is something against the country’s growth this is the tolerance Brazilians have to corruption. History repeats itself and in Brazil it means that politicians and executives become rich over diverting public money from over budget constructions. It is fundamental to stop granting impunity if the country really wants to consolidate its space on global scenario.

Belo Monte, which four years ago had its cost estimated in 4.5 billion reais (2.5 billion dollars), today is estimated at 30 billion reais (approximately 17 billion dollars). The largest amount of this money will come from taxes. What will they say when the scandals over misuse of public money from Belo Monte begins to appear? I bet you another 30 billion that there will be scandals like that.

Despite our lack of trust on our corrupt politicians a feeling of hope hit me last week: The Project Drop of Water (which in portuguese can also mean “it is the last straw”). The project was created by some actors and many other talented people involved in communication. The Drop of Water Project aims to transform anger into action, it creates an opportunity for the civil society to be heard. The first video of this project was inspired by a similar campaign carried out in the USA by Leonardo di Caprio in 2008 called "Vote+5", but in Brazil the campaign is to stop Belo Monte construction, which has already started.

The video shows crucial points of this controversial construction. It shows why this project is illogical from a social, environmental and even technical standpoint. Right after they released the video in Portuguese they also released another one with English subtitles. In less than five days the campaign has got almost 1 million signatures. Brazilians are doing their part to have their voice heard, I am sure that some international support will not hurt anybody.


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