Along Xingu, all are bracing for Belo Monte


The Amazon city of Altamira has something of the Wild West about it. On a hot humid evening, the bustling Xingu riverfront, lined with bars and snack stalls, is a cacophony of Brazilian country music, revving motorbikes and the thump of oversized bass woofers in passing four-by-fours. Somewhat disconcertingly, a brightly lit funeral parlor advertises “funerary services day and night,” and an attendant sits expectantly on the doorstep. In the controversy over Belo Monte, a massive, 11,233-megawatt hydroelectric complex planned near here, debate has appropriately focused in large part on the impacts that the US$11.6 billion power station will have on the region’s rainforest and indigenous communities. U.S. film director James Cameron, who travels here regularly to bolster the campaign against... [Log in to read more]

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