Sting back on campaign trail to stop Amazon dam which would destroy 'real-life Avatar people'
Campaign: Sting in Venezuela where he claimed the Belo Monte dam would destroy lives
It was more than 20 years ago that Sting successfully campaigned to stop one of the world’s biggest dams from being built in the middle of the Amazon. Today, the former Police frontman was back in South America to spearhead protests over a revived threat to the indigenous Indians he championed. Speaking in Venezuela, Sting claimed the Brazilian government’s decision to press ahead with the Belo Monte dam would destroy a river and the lives of thousands of people who depend on it.
He helped put a temporary halt to the project in 1989 when he persuaded international backers to withdraw their financing. But buoyed by a strong economy, the Brazilian government is now moving ahead with the hydroelectric dam on its own, insisting it is an indispensable energy solution for the country. This time around, Sting has won the support of Avatar director James Cameron and actress Sigourney Weaver.
Speaking at a press conference in Caracas, the British star said: ‘I stand in solidarity with the indigenous people who are trying to stop it. ‘All of the reasons I fought against it 20 years ago are still there. 'It will destroy an entire river system and destroy the lives and culture of the people who live there and have lived there for thousands of years. ‘The dam is too far away from Sao Paulo to be any use to ordinary Brazilians. The plan is for it to be the first of six or seven dams, with even more destruction,’ he added.
Environmentalists and indigenous groups say the dam would lay waste to wildlife and ruin the livelihoods of those who live in the area to be flooded. They also say the dam wouldn't be financially viable unless several more dams are built upstream to add to the reservoir storage capacity. Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva insists the dam is essential for the country's future and will produce clean energy to support its expanding economy. He says it will displace 16,000 people. Activists argue that 40,000 will be forced to move.
When Mr Cameron joined protests against the project in Brazil last month, he compared the anti-dam struggle by indigenous people to the plot of his blockbuster film Avatar - which depicts a fictitious race fighting to protect its homeland from plans to extract its resources. The 11,000-megawatt dam would be the world's third-largest hydroelectric energy producer behind China's Three Gorges dam and the Itaipu dam on Brazil's border with Paraguay. Norte Energia, a consortium of nine companies, won the bidding for the contract to build the dam last month after the government prevailed over legal challenges that had temporarily halted the bidding three times.
Read more: DailyMail.UK
Read more: DailyMail.UK