The Carajás railroad, regarded as the most efficient in Brazil, runs a loss-making passenger service for the benefit of the population. But this does little to make amends for its original sin: it was created to export minerals and crosses an area of chronic poverty.
“My nephew was eight years old when he stepped in the ‘munha’ [charcoal dust] and burned his legs up to the knees,” said Angelita Alves de Oliveira from a corner of Brazil’s Amazonia that has become a deadly hazard for local people.
They poured into shopping malls en masse to have some fun. But the reaction, a mixture of fear, admiration and heavy-handed repression, brought a new youth movement into being in Brazil: the “rolezinhos.”
Nearly every day, violence breaks out in a Brazilian prison. In January the focus has been on the northeastern state of Maranhão, where orders issued from behind bars wreaked havoc in the streets of its capital city, illustrating the scope of national prison anarchy.
The Itaparica hydroelectric power plant occupied land belonging to the Pankararu indigenous people, but while others were compensated, they were not. They have lost land and access to the São Francisco river, charge native leaders in Paulo Afonso, a city in northeastern Brazil.
Residents of the small community of Rio dos Macacos, made up of descendants of slaves in the northeastern Brazilian state of Bahia, reported to United Nations bodies that they were attacked by military personnel from the Aratu naval base, which occupies part of their land.
Valdenor de Melo has been waiting for 27 years for the land and cash compensation he is due because his old farm was left underwater when the Itaparica hydroelectric dam was built on the São Francisco river in Brazil’s semiarid Northeast.
Rodolfo Razão, an elderly small farmer in Mozambique, obtained an official land usage certificate for his 10 hectares in 2010, but he has only been able to use seven. The rest was occupied by a South African company that grows soy, maize and beans on some 10,000 hectares in the northeast of the country.
As they build huge hydropower dams, the Brazilian government and companies have run into resistance from environmentalists, indigenous groups and social movements. But the binational Itaipú plant is an exception, where cooperation is the name of the game.
Brazil has continued to develop nuclear energy despite the costs involved and the fact that the industry will never account for more than a small portion of the country’s energy production.
It took them three days to make the 2,000-km journey by bus from their Amazon jungle villages.
The number of femicides – gender-related murders – in Brazil has reached civil war-like proportions. In just 10 years 40,000 women were killed in this country merely for being women.
Thousands of small farming families in Pará, in the Amazon jungle in northeast Brazil, have turned to the African oil palm as a new source of income, through contracts with biofuel companies. Strange bedfellows, which poses cultural and economic challenges.
Energy consumption and production are undergoing fundamental shifts but the world is still on course to a 3.6 degree C hotter climate according a report released during the U.N. climate talks in Warsaw.
The green of the oil palm plantations is unbroken along kilometre after kilometre of red soil, devastated in the past by loggers and ranchers. The oil palm, a sign of alarm for some and of hope for others, is here to stay in the Amazon rainforest state of Pará in the extreme north of this country.