03 March 2011
Source: Cool Earth
As recently reported on the Cool Earth news pages, three indigenous Amazonian leaders arrived in London this week to demonstrate against the proposed Belo Monte dam in Brazil and the proposed Pakitsapango dam in Peru.
"These projects will force my people from their land and end our way of life," added Ruth Buendia Mestoquiari, an Ashaninka leader from the same river where Cool Earth's Peruvian project is conserving rainforest.
The protest took place this Wednesday morning - as bankers were on their way to work - outside the Royal Exchange building, directly opposite the Brazilian state development bank's offices. Leading the vocal protest was Sheyla Yakarepi, an indigenous leader from the Juruna people in Para, Brazil, who has been fighting to protect their land for more than 20 years and is an unwavering opponent of the Belo Monte proposal.
Sheyla Yakarepi claimed that the bank's actions were violating indigenous human rights and destroying the Amazon. She asked through a megaphone:" we'd like to know what criteria the bank is using to decide which projects to fund in the Amazon"
"We are asking you for an answer, for respect and for transparency. We know that you intend to use public money from Brazilian taxes to destroy our environment. We know you are funding 80% of the Belo Monte projects and using workers money to do it," continued Sheyla.
"So I am here today to speak in the name of the Xingu people to ask you to stop spending this public money on destructive projects, respect the Amazon, respect my people, respect the Xingu river."
"Some day you will see that you can not eat money; you will see what will happen because of your destruction of the forest. We need to think about the kind of development we truly need and want".
Earlier in the week, a Brazilian judge blocked progress on one of the dams - Belo Monte - because of environmental concerns. The ruling will inevitable be challenged by the same forces who drove the project through Brazil's federal government.
The Belo Monte dam - planned for the Xingu river - if built would be the world's third largest and would devastate a huge area of forest. This dam and others proposed for Brazil and Peru are seen by some as building blocks necessary to provide energy to the country's rapid economic growth.