Yanomami Issue Goldminers an Ultimatum

Yanomami Issue Goldminers an Ultimatum

Yanomami Issue Goldminers an Ultimatum brazil-miners-work_p81-128x96

In central Brazil, the Yanomami community of Paapiu have begun calling for the immediate expulsion of illegal gold miners occupying their land.

According to recent report by Survival International, “[the Yanomami] say they are prepared to use bows and arrows to expel the invaders themselves if the authorities do not take immediate action.”

In recent times, the Yanomami’s territory has become the center of a renewed gold rush that follows in the foot steps of the one that took place in the mid 1980s.

Back then, there were an estimated fifty-thousand miners overrunning the Yanomami’s land, which is roughly the size of Portugal.

“Paapiu, which had a local population of 400 Yanomami Indians, had become ground zero for the gold rush because it had one of the largest airstrips in the region. By seizing control of the landing strip, the miners transformed what was once a quiet missionary outpost into a bustling frontier airport. At the height of the gold rush, it was estimated that some two hundred and fifty planes were landing and taking daily,” says Geoffrey O’Connor, a film maker who extensively documented everything happening at the time – “local rivers being polluted with mercury, large mines the size of football stadiums being carved out of the forest, the forest being torched by miners to make way for new encampments, new hydraulic mining equipment and supplies being shipped in daily on cargo planes, the Indians sick with malaria and begging for food, and Indians running panic stricken at the sight of an oncoming plane.”

The gold rush decimated the Yanomami.

“After many years of campaigning,” however, “their land was recognized and the miners expelled,” Survival explains.

But now they are all coming back. At the moment there are estimated to be about 3,000 miners.

That number will continue to grow, and then history will repeat itself, unless action is taken now.

Support the Yanomami

Please take a moment to send a letter to President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, requesting him to take immediate action to uphold the constitution and protect the Yanomami’s rights and livelihoods. Visit Survival International to send the letter.



Brazil, France to sign agreement on defense, nuclear energy

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RIO DE JANEIRO, Dec. 16 (Xinhua) — Brazil and France will sign a cooperation agreement on defense and nuclear energy on Dec. 23, after months of negotiations, Brazilian media reported Tuesday.

The agreement will envision the construction of five submarines for Brazil, one of which will be propelled by nuclear energy.

France will be in charge of the submarines’ construction, while the part involving nuclear energy will be built by Brazil, with French technical cooperation.


Brazil wants UNSC to drop Iran nuclear case

Brazil wants UNSC to drop Iran nuclear case
Mon, 03 Nov 2008 07:31:05 GMT

Brazil’s Celso Amorim (L) and Iran’s Saeed Jalili (R)

Brazil says the UN Security Council should shelve Iran’s nuclear dossier and allow the normalization of the country’s enrichment case.

In a Sunday meeting in Tehran, Brazilian Foreign Minister Celso Amorim said the release of ‘positive’ reports by the International Atomic Energy Agency on Iran’s nuclear program proves that Tehran is rightfully entitled to enrich uranium.

The statement comes as a blow to Washington, which has accused Iran of pursuing a military nuclear program and has been a key advocate of UN sanctions aimed at forcing the country to suspend uranium enrichment.

Iran’s top nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili, who was present at the meeting, said that countries must maintain a balance between nuclear duties and rights.

“Damaging the balance will be tantamount to weakening the UN nuclear watchdog (IAEA) and indifference toward its goals,” the Iranian official added.

Iran and Brazil are both advocates of the Non-Proliferation Treaty and have condemned efforts to redefine the rights of nations seeking to attain uranium enrichment capacity.

“Any country that fulfills its obligations is entitled to enrich uranium (for civilian purposes),” Brazilian ambassador Antonio Jose Vallim Guerreiro said early October in an address to an IAEA board meeting in Vienna.

“Any new definition of the NPT is unacceptable,” Guerreiro declared.

Under NPT regulations, any state signatory to the treaty is legally entitled to enrich uranium for civilian purposes, such as electricity generation.

The Brazilian foreign minister arrived in Tehran on Saturday and has held a series of meetings with high-level officials, including Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

During his visit, the Brazilian foreign minister called on Iran to play an important role in the region aimed at establishing stability in Iraq and Afghanistan, and said that the expansion of ties with Iran is a priority in Brazilian foreign policy.


Brazil plans to build 50 more nuclear power plants

Brazil plans to build 50 more nuclear power plants

RIO DE JANEIRO, Sept. 12 (Xinhua) — Mines and Energy Minister Edison Lobao announced Friday Brazil plans to build 50 to 60 nuclear power plants in half a century, with each having capacity of 1,000 megawatts.

“The general idea is to build one plant per year,” he said during a visit to the construction site of Brazil’s third nuclear power plant, Angra 3.

The ambitious plan, a priority for the administration of President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, has yet to be approved by Brazil’s National Council of Energy Policy, he added.

The construction of Angra 3 started in 1984, but was halted for21 years. The decision to resume the project and expand the nuclear program was welcomed by Brazil’s industrial sector as a way to prevent an energy crisis in future decades, but environmentalists warned of the problem of the residues storage.

Angra 1 and Angra 2, both located in the southeastern state of Rio De Janeiro, currently have a combined installed capacity of 2,000 megawatts.

Besides the three plants, four others, two in northeastern Brazil and two in the southeastern part, are due to start operation by 2020.

It is said Brazil’s environment ministry will not allow Angra 3to start operation until the residues problem is resolved.

According to Lobao, the construction of Angra 3 is due to be resumed in April 2009 and will take almost five years to complete, at a cost of 7 billion reais (3.7 billion U.S. dollars).


Brazil Spending US$ 160 Million for Nuclear Sub to Protect Oil Fields

Brazilian nuclear sub The Brazilian government should spend US$ 160 million by the end of next year on the development of a nuclear-powered submersible to protect the oil reserves found recently off its coast, said Brazil’s Defense minister Nelson Jobim on Friday. The vessel, which officials hope to be complete by 2020, would be the first nuclear-powered submarine in Latin America and is being developed with Brazilian technology and lately French assistance.

Brazil does not have nuclear weapons. The submarine is the highlight of the Brazil’s new defense plan, which is to be made public on September 7, Independence Day.

Brazil is believed to have earmarked US$ 3.5 billion by the end of 2010 to upgrade its weapon systems, according to reports in the local media.

Speaking in Rio de Janeiro, Jobim said the upgrade includes provisions for a massive technology transfer from France, essential if Brazil hopes to have a nuclear submarine.

In February, French President Nicolas Sarkozy said France would transfer technology to Brazil for construction of the diesel-powered Scorpene attack submarine. It will serve as a model for a nuclear sub, Brazilian officials have said.

Brazil has discussed building a nuclear submarine for decades, and began a formal program in 1979. However with the return of democracy in 1985 plans were delayed and ultimately shelved and only last year Brazilian President, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, announced US$ 540 million in new funding for the program and for existing uranium enrichment efforts.

The nation has five conventionally powered submarines and is expected to incorporate several of the Scorpene class submarines in the near future. Chile is the other South American country which has two Scorpene submarines delivered two years ago.

Brazil has been discussing defense policy and revamping its armed forces capabilities on mounting worries about protecting the recently discovered massive off-shore oil reserves and the resources rich Amazon.