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4 September 2013 | Interviews | National Meeting of the Movement of People Affected by Dams | Resisting neoliberalism | Human rights
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Nearly 3,000 representatives of the Movement of People Affected by Dams (MAB) of Brazil began to arrive in Sao Paulo on Monday for their national meeting that will last until Thursday. The meeting aims to challenge the current energy model that affects them and benefits very few people.
MAB was created 22 years ago as “a reaction of the people affected to the aggression they had been suffering as a result of the construction of hydroelectric dams. There was no (there still isn’t) policy to protect the rights of the people affected by dams”, said MAB coordinator Luiz Della Costa in interview with the Social Movements’ Communications Convergence.
The national meeting aims to assess the work of the movement, as well as to discuss and think about future policies. Della Costa said that the fact that the meeting takes place in Sao Paulo has to do with the energy debate: “this is one of the biggest energy consumer centers. It is an industry workers area and also where big energy corporations are based. That is why we decided to bring this message to the people of Sao Paulo, to make an alliance between the peasants, the workers who fight for a popular energy project”.
Even though it is a national meeting, there are regional and international guests, such as representatives of movements of people affected by dams from other countries, the Latin American and Caribbean Forum of energy workers, organizations that support the MAB struggle from Europe and the US.
The reflection about the country’s and the region’s political situation will be one of the main issues to be discussed at the MAB meeting, especially after the massive demonstrations that recently took place in Brazil. “We are glad the young people are taking to the streets. It gives us hope that we can actually achieve the structural reforms our country needs and we won’t be hostages of big corporations”.
Political action will have a strong impact during the MAB meeting. On the third day of the meeting, over 500 activists of the Movement will go to Sao Paulo’s capital to distribute a special edition of the newspaper Brasil do Fato, about the people affected by dams.
On the last day of the meeting the Movement, together with allies, will move back to the capital to hold a big demonstration to demand the implementation of a popular energy project.
Photo: Social Movements’ Communication Convergence
A two-and-a-half year process of work which resulted in a meeting with several thousand Brazilian peasants; “a process that didn´t start now, and that won´t end here”, said Itelvina Massioli, national leader of the peoples´ struggle for land, agrarian reform and food sovereignty, in interview with Real World Radio after the 6th Congress of the Landless Rural Workers Movement (MST).
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