Indigenous rights

Count Down on River Xingu V

When fully operational, Belo Monte will be the third-largest dam in the world, constructed in one of the most important ecosystems on the planet: the Amazon rainforest. It sits on the Xingu River in Pará, a state in northern Brazil.

The 'Belo Monte' dam project has been making headlines since the late 1980s. Through protests and great international attention, the project was stopped at that time. The scene of an indigenous woman from the Kayapós people, who held her machete to the face of the then Head of the state energy company Eletronorte, has become a worldwide symbol of resistance to large-scale projects. During the presidency of Lula (2002 - 2010) the project was resumed. Since then, local indigenous groups have protested against the project together with fishermen, smallholders and national and international organisations - but this time with less chance of success. The big difference compared to the 1980s: today Brazil can finance the project itself and is not dependent on loans from outside.


In the provincial capital Altamira, the dam is under construction since 2011. Electricity for Brazil's "economic rise" and the world's hunger for raw materials, that's the official version. But behind the scenes it's all about "extra profits" worth billions for construction companies and politicians.
For the government it is a prestige project and part of various infrastructure programmes - 150 more dams are to be built in the Amazon region. In return, hundreds of thousands of hectares of rainforest are to be cleared and indigenous people and river farmers are to be driven out.

As part of the "Change the Power - (Em)Power to Change" project, Climate Alliance offers its member municipalities the opportunity to show the film "Count Down on River Xingu V" in their own city. Interested? Read more!

At the end of 2008, Martin Keßler and his team started shooting the documentary "Another world is possible - Battle for Amazonia". This was the start of a worldwide unique long-term observation of the conflict over large dams in the Amazon region. Five documentaries were released by 2015. The last film tells the story of the final stage in the construction of the mega dam - the flooding. As well as its history and background: the gigantic corruption scandal "Petrobras" about big Brazilian construction companies, the fight against and dam and the local movement.


You want to show the movie in your city or organise an event? Contact us! We are happy to provide you with the DVDs of the movie, public relation support and some further materials: climatejustice(at)

"We don't ask for anything, we just claim our rights."

by Leonardo Batista (Seu Aranô, Brazil)

  • @ Adrian Rheinländer for neuewut
    @ Adrian Rheinländer for neuewut

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