Up, Down, Ongoing, Latest: 12-08-28 Tuesday.
The decision was made on Monday, was reported in the Brazilian press Tuesday, and made it to some English outlets Wednesday:
From the BBC: Brazilian court halts Belo Monte hydro-electric dam project [dated on the 14th, but it wasn't there yesterday].
Better English coverage and with a hint about where TRF1 (Tribunal Regional Federal and in English [which also appeared since yesterday]) fits into the Brazilian court hierarchy can be found here: Belo Monte Dam Suspended by High Brazilian Court by Zachary Hurwitz at International Rivers.
Keep in mind that in March 2011 the headline was like this: Justiça autoriza retomada de obras em Belo Monte, and in December 2011 it was: Brazil dam company wins Belo Monte appeal.
So ... you could say it has been back-and-forth.
Antônio Souza Prudente is an interesting guy as you can read in this 2009 interview: Desembargador Souza Prudente fala sobre a missão constitucional da Justiça Federal e outros temas; and for once Google Translate leaves it almost ... readable: Judge Souza Prudente talks about the constitutional mission of the Federal Court and other topics. A staunch Catholic, quite conventional in his views - it could be as simple as a competent judgement based upon the law :-)
This struggle has been going on for a long time. David Suzuki tells some of the history from 23 years ago here (20 minutes, you just have to wait 30 seconds to hear of the seventy grand raised to support this very cause in a different Canada from the one we live in now), and Barbara Zimmerman tells an excellent story about it here (20 minutes - her focus is logging but it's the same struggle).
And sure, I am curious about this judge just now - but I know very well that the 'reasons' for his decision are with the indigenous nations of Brasil, with Tuíra Kayapó, with the organizers and participants of Xingu+23 who dug the trench pictured above through the damned dam in June of this year, with those who recently held Norte Energia engineers hostage - and so on ...
And I am not a praying kind of man, but since that is about all I can do for them from here I am doing it this morning; and especially that they stay watchful. I know they will.
In a clear demonstration of good faith Norte Energia has already said they will wait until they are officially notified before stopping anything. More evidence of their good will can be seen in this short video (4 minutes, and you don't need subtitles to understand contempt).
I will stay watchful as well and update this post as events unfold.
12-08-16 Thursday: Well, the Guardian is catching up: Belo Monte dam construction halted by Brazilian court. Arguments going from reduced deforestation through renewables to reduced need (on the government's part?) to carry on with hydroelectric development seem lame to me ... but whatever.
12-08-17 Friday: Norte Energia are stonewalling - to be expected.
Some background: A short message (with subtitles) from Antonia Melo, president of Movimento Xingu Vivo Para Sempre. And Gilberto Gil singing behind a Xingu+23 video (and a version of this excellent tune with subtitles - "Um por um," he sings, "one by one." And a recent (crowdfunded) documentary Belo Monte Announcement of a War (105 minutes) by André D’Elia, also on Vimeo - WATCH THIS FILM! (But best after you watch the Barbara Zimmerman interview mentioned above since she puts important qualifying perspective into who is stewarding what and why.)
12-08-18 Saturday: Still no 'official' notification? Apparently not - this from Agência Brasil yesterday:
As condicionantes previstas para compensar os impactos negativos causados pela construção da Usina Hidrelétrica de Belo Monte também deverão ser paralisadas a partir do momento em que a Norte Energia, empresa responsável pela obra e operação da usina, for notificada oficialmente da decisão da Justiça.Who knows what it means? It does seem like a veiled threat of some kind. Cheques promised to someone(s) somewhere somewhen that will be stopped?
The constraints provided to offset the negative impacts caused by construction of the Belo Monte Hydroelectric Plant will also be paralyzed from the moment Norte Energia ... is officially notified ...
And why has Norte Energia not been notified? Someone in Justiça getting cold feet? Dilma pulling strings? The ubiquitous tactic is to sow uncertainty by any means possible and hope that it ends in 'pizza', not just in Brazil where acabar em pizza is a common outcome but world wide.
Have to wait and see.
A bit more background: Worth reading this (much understated) Wikipedia entry on the Tucuruí dam, 1975-1984 with ongoing expansion begun in 1998 and not yet complete. This map may help you see that they are not so far apart.
12-08-21 Tuesday: Still no word on notification, but Edison Lobão, minister of mines & energy is upping the rhetoric: "... isso tudo custará ao povo brasileiro." / 'this will cost the brazilian people.' Keep in mind that 60% of this electricity is destined for industry ... whatever. Source: Agência Brasil, Lobão diz que atraso em Belo Monte pode prejudicar o país / Lobao says Belo Monte delay could harm the country.
BELO MONTE IS STOPPED!
Norte Energia have been notified and they have stopped. First from Amigos da Terra Amazônia as usual, sourced from Agência Brasil. Yes!
12-08-26 Sunday: Dilma Rousseff is bringing out the biggest guns she can muster to shoot down this judgement. On Friday Luís Inácio Adams, the Attorney General, asked Carlos Ayres Britto, the President of the Supreme Federal Court to suspend the judgement because of "irreparable damage to the national interest." Brito stalled for a whole 24 hours to consult with the cabinet. Things might change as early as tomorrow.
'Portaria 303' has been showing up in the headlines for a month and more - but I mistook it, confused 'portaria' for 'entrance', thought it had something to do with run-of-the-mill exclusion. :-)
'Portaria' is 'Decree'. Decree #303 of the AGU allows exploitation of aboriginal land without consultation. Hydroelectric plants, mines, plantations - fill yer boots!
So, a pincer movement then, a two pronged attack, a double whammy.
Here is Raoni Metuktire at the AGU on August 12th. His manner of discussion shown in these photographs is worth looking at very carefully.
I even begin to get a glimmering of the usefulness of the disk in his lower lip.
A few days later on August 14th Raoni Metuktire & Megaron Txucarramae meet with Luís Inácio Adams (Attorney General), José Eduardo Cardozo (Minister of Justice), & Marta Maria Azevedo (president of Funai - equivalent to Canada's Indian & Northern Affairs).
What is said obviously makes a big impression on these people given their actions on subsequent days.
August 27, Monday:
Norte Energia is whining, keeping the pressure on, saying the stoppage is costing 12 million a day. Numbers of municipal leaders, Mayors, come out in support of Belo Monte and repudiate the stoppage.
Protests are mounted at the AGU in Brasilia (from CIMI), at regional AGU offices, and two highways are closed.
An ally steps up. Deborah Duprat of the PGR, vice-procuradora-geral da República, Vice Prosecutor General.
But it's done and dusted in the afternoon: STF manda retomar obras da Usina de Belo Monte, and here in English: Judge overturns suspension of Brazil's Belo Monte dam. Carlos Ayres Britto resembles a vampire - and I guess just behaves as his nature dictates.
Fuck! They say 11,200 Megawatts, 11 Gigawatts, but it is less than half that in reality. And 60% of it destined for industrial use - who gets all of the output in the dry season then d'you think? They are bound and determined to drive this rig straight over the cliff. How stupid is that?
Decision: Monday August 13.
Work stops: Thursday August 23, 10 days later.
Resumes: Tuesday August 28.
This is not the end (but I must say it has got me down this morning - Tuesday - as I write this).