By Lise Alves, Senior Contributing Reporter

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Brazilian minister in charge of political relations in the Bolsonaro’s Administration with Congress, General Santos Cruz, and National Indigenous Foundation (Funai) President, Franklimberg de Freitas, are scheduled to visit on Monday the region of the Belo Monte hydroelectric plant to verify reports of invasions of indigenous lands.

Brazil,Indigenous populations in Brazil have often been displaced and killed to make way for 'development'
Indigenous populations in Brazil have often been displaced and killed to make way for ‘development’, photo by Valter Campanato/Agencia Brasil

“Our work will always be in defense of the rights of indigenous peoples. This is our cause and we will spare no effort so that they are respected, heard and attended by all the fronts of government that may be necessary,” said Funai’s Freitas to journalists about the indigenous living near the Belo Monte plant.

The visit is the result of an agreement made with the indigenous people on January 17th, after a protest from group of indigenous closed down the BR-230 one of the Amazon region’s main highways.

According to the indigenous from the Araras Indigenous Land, groups of men have been invading their land to cut down lumber.

After the protest, indigenous leaders from the Middle Xingu region were received by government officials on February 7th in Brasilia. At the time, Santos Cruz assured that a government delegation would go to Altamira to verify the indigenous’ invasion claims.

In addition to the issue of invasion, indigenous groups are also concerned about the communities surrounding Belo Monte in case of a rupture of one of the dams built for the hydroelectric plants.

Last week Brazil’s Federal Public Ministry (MPF) again asked Norte Energia, company responsible for Belo Monte, for information on the Xingu river dam’s emergency plan

According to the MPF, during a visit by its officials it was verified that none of the twenty-five communities affected by the plant were trained in how to proceed in case of a dam disaster, similar to that of Brumadinho and Mariana.

“The people we talked to were unanimous in stating that they had never received training or information on an emergency plan for eventual break of the dam,” says a document sent to the Norte Energia by the MPF.


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