Stories written by Mario Osava
Mario Osava has been an IPS correspondent since 1978, first from Portugal, then from Brazil starting in 1980. He has covered events and processes all throughout Brazil and has recently been engaged in covering major infrastructural projects that reflect opportunities for development and South American integration. | Twitter |

Expansion of Soy Resurrects Key Railway Line in Brazil

The railroad can contribute to the economy, making transportation cheaper, but it is unlikely to foment equitable development in and of itself, apart from facing complex construction obstacles in countries like Brazil.The North-South Railway (FNS) is an excellent example. Thirty years after the start of its construction and three years after the central stretch began to operate, its viability is uncertain, even though it runs across an area of expanding soy production, which requires large-scale logistics to export."It only strengthens agribusiness, it offers nothing to family farms but environmental impacts," said Messias Vieira Barbosa, one of the coordinators of the Landless Workers’ Movement (MST) in Tocantins, a state in north-central Brazil, crossed from end to end by the FNS.Nor does it benefit the population in general, since it does not provide the passenger transport demanded by a movement to that end, said the activist, a geographer with postgraduate studies on land reform.Tocantins is a new agricultural frontier, where soy accelerates the concentration of land in the hands of a few landowners, in a process that will intensify with the railway, whose primary function is to transport grains to the northern port of Itaqui to be exported across the Atlantic Ocean.But even those who benefit directly complain about this new means of transport."The freight is still expensive, farmers are not happy because it has not brought down their costs," complained Mauricio Buffon, president of the Association of Soy and Corn Producers of the State of Tocantins (Aprosoja).[caption id="attachment_153895" align="aligncenter" width="536"]

Tocantins, a River of Many Dams in Central Brazil

Tocantins, the newest of Brazil’s 26 states, which was created in 1988 to seek its own paths to development in central Brazil, fell into the common plight of expanding borders, based on soy and hydroelectricity.

Landlocked, a Railway Remains Idle in Brazil

The rails have been laid - thousands of km of rails deteriorating due to lack of use, to the despair of those who believe that a country as vast as Brazil can only be developed by means of trains.

Moralist Upsurge in Brazil Revives Censorship of the Arts

It is not yet an official policy because censorship is not openly accepted by the current authorities, but de facto vetoes on artistic expressions are increasing due to moralistic pressures in Brazil.

Indigenous People, Guardians of Threatened Forests in Brazil

Indigenous peoples, recognised as the best guardians of the world's forests, are losing some battles in Brazil in the face of intensified pressure from the expansion of agriculture, mining and electricity generation.

White Elephants and the Urban Challenges of Brasilia

Two white elephants - a huge football stadium that draws almost no fans and an empty 16-building complex that was to be the new headquarters of the district government – reflect Brasília’s challenges as a metropolis, beyond its role as the capital of Brazil.

Slave Labour, Another Setback for the Government of Brazil

The wave of conservativism is testing its limits in Brazil, as reflected by a Labour Ministry decree that seeks to block the fight against slavery-like working conditions, which has been provisionally revoked by the justice system.

Cycles of Wealth in Brazil’s Amazon: Gold, Lumber, Cattle and Now, Energy

The burning down of the local forest, on Jun. 29, 1979, was the first step towards the creation of the city of Paranaita, in a municipality that is now trying to shed its reputation as a major deforester of Brazil’s Amazon rainforest and has named itself “the energy capital.”

Dams Hurt Indigenous and Fishing Communities in Brazilian Amazon

The dirty water is killing more and more fish and ‘Taricaya’ yellow-spotted river turtles every day. In addition, the river is not following its usual cycle, and the water level rises or declines without warning, regardless of the season, complained three Munduruku indigenous law students in the south of Brazil’s Amazon rainforest.

Hydropower Dams Invade Brazil’s Agricultural Economy

“After being displaced for the third time,” Daniel Schlindewein became an activist struggling for the rights of people affected by dams in Brazil, and is so combative that the legal authorities banned him from going near the installations of the Sinop hydroelectric dam, which is in the final stages of construction.

Small Farmers in Brazil’s Amazon Region Seek Sustainability

The deforestation caused by the expansion of livestock farming and soy monoculture appears unstoppable in the Amazon rainforest in the west-central Brazilian state of Mato Grosso. But small-scale farmers are trying to reverse that trend.

Energy Habits Are Changing in Latin America’s Cities

The Vaz de Souza’s were so keen on the solar water heater that they made it their mission and business, which prospered with the surge in innovation in their city, Belo Horizonte, recognised as the solar energy capital of Brazil.

Soy Changes Map of Brazil, Set to Become World’s Leading Producer

“Our wealth lies in the climate, not in the land,” said Antonio Galván, president of the Rural Union of Sinop, a municipality created just 37 years ago, which has prospered due to the continued expansion of soy in Brazil.

A Hostage to Parliament, Temer Sacrifices Indigenous Rights to Save Himself

Brazilians now have new reasons to yearn for and at the same time fear the parliamentary system of government. It facilitates quick solutions to political crises such as the one that is currently affecting the country, but it also further empowers reactionary forces and has led to backsliding on gains such as indigenous rights.

Brazil’s Shipyards – Victims of a Failed Reindustrialisation Process

“I have lived through three good periods and two bad ones,” prior to the present crisis in the Brazilian shipping industry, said Edson Rocha, a direct witness since the 1970s of the ups and downs of a sector where nationalist feelings run high.

Global Devaluation of Work Drives Up Unemployment in Brazil

In addition to driving up the number of unemployed people to 14.2 million, the severe recession of the last two years led Brazil to join the global trend of flexibilisation of labour laws in order to further reduce labour costs.

Large Landowners Jeopardise Indigenous Revival in Brazil

The attack with guns and machetes that left at least 10 Gamela indigenous people wounded, in the northeastern state of Maranhão, highlighted the growing threats against the resurgence and survival of native people in Brazil.

Brazil Drives New School Feeding Model in the Region

“I am going back to Panama with many ideas,” said Gilda Montenegro, a nutritionist with the Panamanian Education Ministry, after getting to know the school feeding system in the city of Vitoria, in central-eastern Brazil.

Mega-Projects Have Magnified Corruption in Brazil

It cannot be categorically stated that corruption has increased in the country in recent years, because there is no objective information from earlier periods to compare with, according to Manoel Galdino, executive director of Transparency Brazil.

Gold Mine Aggravates Tensions in Brazil’s Amazon Region

The decline of this town is seen in the rundown houses and shuttered stores, and the few people along the streets on a Sunday when the scorching sun alternates with frequent rains at this time of year in Brazil’s Amazon region.

Brazilian Dam Causes Too Much or Too Little Water in Amazon Villages

The Juruna indigenous village of Miratu mourned the death of Jarliel twice: once on October 26, when he drowned in the Xingu River, and the second time when the sacred burial ground was flooded by an unexpected rise in the river that crosses Brazil’s Amazon region.

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