Up to Old Tricks, Eletrobras Aims to Divide Indigenous Tribes

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Eletronorte is leveraging their existing partnership with the Parakanã, originally displaced by Tucuruí dam, to weaken indigenous opposition to Belo Monte


International Rivers received a statement a few days ago from Brazilian indigenous federation COIAB illustrating how Eletrobras' state-owned company Eletronorte is playing the old trick of dividing and conquering indigenous people with bribes and threats in order to weaken opposition to Belo Monte Dam.

Since when does a democratic regime threaten the removal of welfare programs for indigenous people based on their conditional acceptance of a hydroelectric dam? Is Lula a lame duck, or a dictator "light"?

Any way you spin it, these divide-and-conquer tactics are blatant violations of the right to Free, Prior, and Informed Consent as defined by the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

Here’s the statement we received from COIAB. Read the original press release in Portuguese.

Eletronorte attempts to coopt indigenous leaders from the region of Altamira-PA

June 08, 2010

Indigenous leaders from the region reported being threatened by Eletronorte, one of the companies responsible for the construction of Belo Monte, during a meeting held over the past 4 days in Altamira, Pará.

The meeting occurred between June 4-7, 2010 and was organized by the Indigenous Peoples of the Xingu Basin. The purpose of the meeting was to promote a debate on the subject of Belo Monte.

The Indigenous Peoples of the Xingu River Basin were surprised on the first day of the meeting, when local indigenous representatives said that the Brazilian Government, through Eletronorte, blackmailed them into withdrawing their opposition to Belo Monte by threatening that they would lose access to FUNAI’s health care program, among other benefits legislated by indigenous law, if they continued to oppose Belo Monte.

Given this scenario some indigenous leaders of the region claimed to fear the damage this would cause and decided not to oppose the project.

The Belo Monte dam is the flagship project of the Growth Acceleration Program (PAC) drawn up by the Lula government, and will cause irreversible impacts to natural resources.

Indigenous peoples and local communities living adjacent to the Xingu River face their land and lives at risk with the approval of Belo Monte, and are now living in a moment of fear and insecurity due to a lack of public policies that support them.

Communications Department / COIAB: Leticia Campos

Sheyla Yakarepi Juruna – +55 (93) 8126-8674/9139-4388
Megaron Txucarramãe – +55 (66) 9618-52-40

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