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The International Day of People Affected by Dams and in Defense of Rivers is celebrated on March 14th with strong mobilizations in all continents.
Due to its scale and the strong concentration of investments in energy projects, Brazil is among the countries with more plans to build hydroelectric dams, reaching 1500 projects.
For this reason, the Movement of Dam-Affected People (MAB - member of Via Campesina Brazil) considers this is a key day in the agendas of this year’s struggles and mobilizations, which will serve as preparation for the National Meeting of the movement scheduled for early June.
MAB leader, Soniamara Maranho, told Real World Radio from Minas Gerais that in terms of the energy model, the energy sector workers are involved in addition to the
affected rural and urban families.
Today, over 70 per cent of people affected are not compensated at all, since there isn’t a body within the Brazilian administration that established a dialogue in order to identify those affected.
The platform against the energy model established that most part of what is paid by the population is destined to private shareholders of companies, while the workers of the sector increasingly lose their rights.
“Here in Minas Gerais, one worker of the distribution company dies every 45 days on average, they are in a process of privatization and their situation is absolutely poor”, said the Brazilian leader.
She also said that there aren’t great differences in terms of the commodification of energy in the countryside and the cities in Brazil: “our countryside is being industrialized by export agribusiness and mining; in many cases they are foreign businesspeople who can’t speak Portuguese, but who know how to profit with our territories”, she added.
While the finance to build hydroelectric dams in Brazil comes from public funds through the National Economic and Social Development Bank (BNDES), the rural and urban populations of the country do not benefit with access to energy and their working conditions are extremely poor.
“Today, more than ever, we know that the international struggle is necessary. This is how we interpret the legacy of Hugo Chavez. Today, March 14, we are facing the same problem in many countries: the capitalist, imperialist system, that is looting our natural resources. At our National Meeting on 3-7 June, in Sao Paulo, where Dilma (Rouseff, Brazilian President) will participate, we’ll discuss a new Popular Energy Project for Brazil that can also serve as an experience for the peoples of Latin America and the world".
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