Thu. Feb 25th, 2021

The Pimental dam and reservoir, part of the Belo Monte hydroelectric project. Belo Monte’s reservoirs drowned the traditional lands of the ribeirinhos. Image courtesy of Palácio do Planalto on Visual hunt / CC BY. The Belo Monte hydroelectric dam, Brazil’s largest infrastructure project in recent decades, has now been operating five years (though its final turbine wasn’t fully installed until 2019). Today, it is regarded by many as an economic and socio-environmental disaster, as it is generating less energy and profits than promised, was at the center of mass corruption while being built, and has caused enormous damage to the Xingu River, disrupting the lives of thousands of people living beside it. But some members of one of the severely impacted groups, the ribeirinhos, traditional riverine people, are fighting back. And in so doing, they are strengthening their­­ sense of identity. The ribeirinhos may have also just won the right to go home, or nearly so: they are on the verge of setting up a permanent, collectively owned Ribeirinho Territory beside the Belo Monte reservoir, an area of unflooded land close to the riverside locale where their families lived before the mega-dam was built. Their artful negotiation of an innovative agreement, if finalized, will mark the first time ever that a resettlement has been drawn up to accommodate the ribeirnhos’ traditional way of life. “The territory will give us what we need. [The forest lands there] are our bank, our pharmacy, our supermarket,” Rita Cavalcante, a ribeirinha, told Mongabay. Rita…This article was originally published on Mongabay
Sourced from Conservation news