"For people living along the river, as they have for millenia, the dam will end their way of life. I implore the Brazilian government, and President Lula, to reconsider this projet." - James Cameron, AVATAR movie director
Last Saturday, April 24th, I was invited by my colleague, Felipe Benitez from Fenton Communications (DC), to attend a media event for his client. Felipe's client is the non-profit organization, Amazon Watch, which works to protect the rainforest and advance the rights of indigenous peoples in the Amazon Basin. James Cameron was going to be honored by indigenous leaders from around the world.
The media event coincided with the special screening of AVATAR, which coincided with the United Nations meeting on indigenous issues in New York City.
AVATAR has been embraced by many indigeous peoples worldwide, who see it as echoing their own story. Throughout Latin America for example, indigenous peoples have highlighted the parallels between the movie and ntheir own experiences dealing with private sector extractive industries and the development of Brazil's Belo Monte Dam - which if constructed, will cost $17.5 billion and will become the world's third largest dam. The impact? 20,000 indigenous peoples will have to abandon the rainforest and relocate to Altamira, where they will compete with migrants for scarce low-paying jobs.
James Cameron first visited Brasilia three weeks ago and since then, he has gone back a second time and the first day he came back the last time, went straight to have a conversation with Obama about the alarming issue happening so close to us. You can read James Cameron's personal letter to Brazil's President, Luis Inacio Lula de Silva here: http://www.amazonwatch.org/newsroom/view_news.php?id=2049
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