Eye on the Amazon: The Official Blog of Amazon Watch

A Tough Sell Indeed

March 19, 2013 | Adam Zuckerman

A Tough Sell Indeed

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Analytica Investments released a report titled A Tough Sell about the Ecuadorian government's attempt to auction off its southeastern Amazon to oil companies. It highlights the environmental, financial, and legal risks associated with the oil auction.

Environmental Risk

Analytica warns that the oil round would threaten "a biodiversity every bit as varied as that of the fabled Yasuní National Park to the North" where one hectare holds more tree species than exist in all of North America.

Ecuador's government is attempting to secure the funds to preserve Yasuní from oil drilling. At the same time, it is in the midst of a campaign to sell off a swath of primary forest over three times that size. The report says that this contradiction has made donors hesitant to fund Yasuní's preservation.

Analytica cites a study by the Universidad Andina, which finds that if oil companies operate as they did in the Northern Ecuadorian Amazon – an area that is still heavily contaminated from decades of oil exploration – they would deforest 185,000 hectares (over 450,000 acres) of the Amazon.

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The Gods of the Xingu Are on Our Side!

Norte Energia, not so much.

March 14, 2013 | Maíra Irigaray

Notes from the Amazon Watch Brazil field team, currently in Altamira.
Follow their journey directly here.

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Join the worldwide chorus calling for justice by urging Brazil's Supreme Court to rule on lawsuits against the Belo Monte Dam!

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Celebrating International Day Against Dams kicked off at 6 am today in Altamira, Brazil, gathering our signs and gear for a protest at the Belo Monte Dam's Transpositional System. This system was put into place to help boats cross the river once the dam closes it, sadly symbolic. For Norte Energia to obtain its loan from BNDES it had to prove that this system was operational; apparently they did since they obtained the loan. However, the system is not working and the river has become treacherous to cross since it is nearly closed and because it is high due to the rainy season. The system stands tall as a sacrificial monument to this monstrous project. In truth they are using a John Deer tractor with a trailer to move boats from one side to the other. The small wooden boats are very delicate and this system is very hard on them. Local people feel humiliated having to constantly interact with the company, waiting for their boats to cross, and in some cases being filmed by the company. It seems that they do not have much of a choice since the mighty river is very dangerous to cross.

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Voices of the Xingu: Interview with Karoline Militão

March 12, 2013 | Maíra Irigaray

Voices of the Xingu: Interview with Karoline Militão

Notes from the Amazon Watch Brazil field team, currently in Altamira.
Follow their journey directly here.

Justice Now!

Join the worldwide chorus calling for justice by urging Brazil's Supreme Court to rule on lawsuits against the Belo Monte Dam!

SIGN THE PETITION

I have started conducting interviews to share the stories of some of the impacted peoples of the Belo Monte Dam. Since working in Altamira I have come close to many of these people and I believe it is important to give voice to their struggles.

My first interview is with Karol and for me to talk about her isn't easy. She is only fifteen years old and in her face it's impossible not to notice a profound sadness behind her sweetness. I get emotional just when I think of her girly face hidden underneath her hoody and calling me aunt. Karol is one of four children of Sebastião. A farmer who over the past ten years had built a life on what has now become the Pimental Worksite of the Belo Monte Dam. Their family was expelled from their land fourteen months ago and as Karol and her sister like to say, "they never received even a kilo of salt in compensation."

I tried to interview Karol and I ended up sitting on the ground crying with her. It is important for me to have some humanity with my work here. I am not a journalist and have no intentions to be one. I cannot hide what I feel or think. I am against the Belo Monte Dam and Karol is one of the many reasons why I don't believe the government's lies and why I don't support their way of development at all cost.

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Uncontacted Group Kills Two Natives in Ecuador

Reprisals, "forced contact" campaign feared after attack in Yasuní National Park

March 11, 2013 | Scott Wallace

Waorani hunters in the Yasuní Rainforest. Photo  Credit: Scott Wallace

Native officials and conservationists fear possible reprisals in eastern Ecuador following an attack by uncontacted tribesmen that killed two Waorani Indians last week.

According to a preliminary investigation by officials from the Orellana Province public prosecutor's office, the victims were speared to death last Tuesday morning while walking near their village of Yarentaro, located along the Maxus Oil Road within the Yasuní National Park. The victims were identified as Ompore Omeway, 70, and his wife, Bogueney, 64.

An elderly woman named Nemongona is said to have witnessed the attack after she fell behind the couple during their walk in the forest. In a statement released by the Organization of the Waorani Nationality of Orellana (ONWO), the witness said the assailants belonged to a clan of Taromenane , a branch of the Waorani who spurned contact with evangelical missionaries in the 1950s and continue to roam the forests of Yasuní as nomads.

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Women Speak as Crimes Against Women Rise Around Belo Monte

March 8, 2013 | Maíra Irigaray

Justice Now!

Join the worldwide chorus calling for justice by urging Brazil's Supreme Court to rule on lawsuits against the Belo Monte Dam!

SIGN THE PETITION

On this International Woman's Day, 24 woman stopped traffic in the city of Altamira, Brazil for two hours in protest against the Belo Monte dam and the sharp increase in violent crimes committed against women as the project has developed.

Teenagers to elders claimed their rights as women against violence, prostitution, sexual abuse, and chaos created by the construction of the dam.

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