We send an energetic, supportive and full of hope embrace to the families of those whose life was taken by this corporate crime. Latin American rivers are the veins through which the hope and progress of the people circulate, so we salute with special affection the fishing communities, farmers, peasants and all the inhabitants of the Paraopeba river basin, for whom their means and ways of life disappeared.
This incident has precedents, in 2015 the rupture of the dam owned by the Samarco mining subsidiary of VALE in Mariana, caused similar events that were warned and ignored, leaving in evidence that the technical aspects to avoid similar catastrophes were not taken care of, or that the efforts invested were not the necessary ones.
However, after three years of that episode, hundreds of families in the Rio Doce have received no attention, are without a constant supply of water, and continue to be outcast and stigmatized by the effects of the damage. This story cannot be repeated, all the people affected by the breakage of the Samarco dam as well as the Feijao mine dams in Brumadinho should be attended with the participation of the VALE company, so we make an emphatic call to Fabio Schvartsman – director of the company- and to VALE shareholders and investors, such as Capital Research Global Investors, Capital International Investors, Standard Life Aberdeen PLC, among others, so that they make the right decisions to address their errors, leaving aside their interest to generate profits at the lowest cost, and prioritizing the humanitarian assistance and integral reparation of the victims. In the same way, we request that all the countries and investing groups working with VALE, immediately suspend their investment and start monitoring this company in detail.
Our solidarity extends to the workers of the company and their families since the episode involved the razing of the restaurant and other company facilities during lunch hours.
We note with concern that the mining company VALE has established that its mission is “the transformation of natural resources into prosperity and lasting development”; the repeated episodes of dams failures show that prosperity for the communities of the Rio Doce and Paraopeba basins was cut short, and the so-called development left the region in undignified conditions.
Therefore, it is necessary that the company internally rethinks its activities, and urgently establishes corrective and reparative measures in agreement with the affected communities, to be imparted by the Brazilian institutions in benefit of the affected families and the company workers.
These disastrous episodes in Brazil add to the risks and uncertainties that represent the cracks of the Yacyretá dam in Paraguay-Brazil; the technical errors in the construction of Hidroituango dam that keeps all municipalities in the Canyon of the lower Cauca River in Colombia on red alert , the construction of the Hidrosogamoso dam in the area of greatest seismic activity in Colombia, involving permanent landslides in the road that connects the city of Bucaramanga with the middle Magdalena region, incurring in greater risks, times and costs in the transport of cargo and passengers; the erosion landslides of the the Sinú riverbanks due to the operation of the Urrá I Hydroelectric dam, that keeps the community of Playón and other communities of the lower Sinú in suspense; the flooding of the machine house of El Quimbo dam in the Magdalena River; as well as the imposition of projects that have opted for murdering leaders that seek justice and guarantees of permanence in their territory, as is the case of Berta Cáceres in Honduras in defense of the Blanco River and against the interests of the company DESA; the massive massacres of indigenous communities to make way for the construction of the Chixoy dam in Guatemala, and other cases of defenders of rivers that remain in total impunity, including our fellow river defenderw Noe Vasquez from MAPDER in Mexico, Nilce de Souza from Brazil, and Miguel Ángel Pabón from Colombia.
This list of impacts and dramatic situations that show the unfeasibility and real costs of these projects should lead us to reflect upon the mining-energy model that is being developed and imposed on the local livelihoods. We must build alternatives to the unnecessary construction of hydroelectric dams and large metal mining projects, discouraging wasteful energy consumption and promoting recycling, approaches that social organizations have been building in the framework of promoting a fair and just energy transition.
We continue to pay attention to the development of the tragedy in Brazil, while we encourage the people to articulate, organize and advance in the defense of their rights as communities affected by dams and strengthen to Nationa Movement of People Affected by dams in Brazil – MAB.