(AA) commercial threats to Amazon region

Tue, 3 Sep 1996 00:19:11 +0200

Original Sender: tautz@ax.apc.org
Mailing List: NATIVE-L

From: Carlos Sergio Figueiredo Tautz <tautz>


Segue noticia e analise importantes para quem meche com Amazonia e/ou com
Mercosur. Nos nao conseguimos juntar muito as regioes, mas os homens sim.
Pessoalmente, eu nao tinha toda esta informacao, muito menos a analise
aventurada pelo autor. No minimo, eh bom prestar muita atencao. Maiores
esclarecimentos por iniciativa de voces, ou via quem me enviou, e que estah
no remetente, Ana Ponte.

- David H.

U.D.A. Union para la Defensa Amazonica
Written by Leobardo Acurero

!!!!!!! ATTENTION !!!!!!!

Commercial integration in South America iniciates the complete destruction
of the Amazon area

* Venezuela: The country that has the highest potential energy resources
in Latin America, under the scrutiny of MERCOSUR in order to penetrate the
Amazon area

* The Amazon natural area under threat of intervention and is viewed as a
physical obstacle to be overcome in the name of the regional development
integration plans of South America

* The signing of new agreements between Brazil and Venezuela will lead to
the total destruction of the last remaining jungle on this planet

Brazil, the South American country that has the greatest percentage of
Amazonian jungle is inviting Venezuela to join the Common Market of the
South, called MERCOSUR, either by joining directly with the other four
countries (Brazil, Argentina Uruguay and Paraguay ) or by bilateral
negotiations with Brazil itself.

Venezuela is located on South America's northern edge, with the Caribbean
sea on its northern coast. This country has the most intact tropical rain
forest in its southern part, the Amazon jungle. The southern boundary of
this jungle (more than 2.000 km long) has NEVER been developed nor used for
commercial traffics, and it joints onto such untoucheded Brazilian
northwest states, Amazona and Roraima.

possible through the construction of wide roads, channels, railways, etc..
Such development has to be done in a region (aprox. 5 million Km2) which is
entirely covered by a tropical rain forest and where some of the last
indigenous communities left in this world, including the well-known
Yanomami, live.

In this blind and rushed regional integration, so far no information has
been given on the devastating effects that it will have on the fragile
natural balance and life in the extensive Amazon jungle. On the contrary,
in the latest international events it appears that the countries involved
ignore the existence of the most important "lung" of the Planet.

This occured, for instance, during the Seventh Period of the Andean
Parliament, celebrated in Caracas, and during the Tenth High Meeting of
MERCOSUR hold in Miami. It happened too at the 50th Aniversary of the
United Nations, where the Presidents of both countries, Brazil and
Venezuela, joined toghether the unbelievable proposal of a maritime/fluvial
non-stop integration through the continent, from the Caribbean sea till the
River Plate, with the creation of a huge "South America power line", as
they called it.

It is obvious why the pressure is on. Venezuela has the highest energy
potential; its oil company, PDVSA, is the second largest company in the
world oil market, with a production of nearly 4 millions barrels a day and
with huge oil reserves still untouched under ground. Brazil, despite being
the largest industrial producer within the MERCOSUR countries, has a
deficit of more than 50% of the oil needs. This situation creates
limitations in realizing the development of the extensive north-western
portion of its territory, covered by dense jungle. Inside the same jungle,
but in Venezuelan territoy, there is the highest production of
hydroelectric power, aproximately 29.000 megawatts.

If Venezuela joins MERCOSUR, it will have no option, but to send a great
part of its hydroelectric power directly to the south, slashing straight
through the Amazon jungle.
Rafael Caldera, the president of Venezuela, will be returning to Brazil, to
Ceara's state capitol, Fortaleza, in December of this year, to sign the
final agreements to joint MERCOSUR.

New binational agreements between Brazil and Venezuela will destroy the
Amazon region.

During Caldera's previous visit to Brazil in May, the issue under
discussion was how much progress had been made in the construction of the
B.R. 174 highway, from Santa Elena de Uairen in Venezuela, to Manaus in
Brazil. It appears that the road will be finish by 1997 with the completed
400 kms not yet paved. Manaus is planned to become industrially stronger
by exporting its manufactured goods to Venezuela and the Caribbean, and
promoting the development which would cause the jungle's destruction.

Despite the fact that Brazil is the second largest cement producer in South
America, there is a lack of cement in the Amazon region. It is a long way
for Brazil to transport its cement from its coastal cities to Manaus.
Venezuela, only the sixth largest cement producer, has just opened a
cement-packing factory in Manaus where it stores 25.000 metric tons of
Venezuelan cement per month, to be distributed through the Amazon area.

Since 1994, oil sales have increased 137%. The agreements plan the building
of a refinery in northern Brazilian, by PDVSA and PETROBRAS, and an oil
pipeline from Venezuela to Brazil. Right now the venezuelan fuel
transported by trucks, has increased the gold mine activity in the
Brazilian state of Roraima.

Another agreement signed at Itamaray by the two presidents, Rafael Caldera
and Fernando H Cardoso, is the electrical interconnection of aproximately
1.600 kms long, fron the Guri Dam in the Caroni river basin, Venezuela,
crossing this high fragile ecosystem, through Boavista to Manaus.

A binational company to deal with energy commerce is being now discussed,
which would sell generators and cheaper oil products from heavy crude oil
discovered along the Orinoco river shore in Venezuela.

At Brasilia, in february 1996, during the fifth political meeting, a work
group is been created to deal with transportation matters. It started the
feasibility studies for the fluvial interconnection between the Orinoco
and Amazon rivers, through the Casiquiare channel in the venezuelan state
of Amazonas.

Other agreements deal with the expansion of border trade and mining
activities. Mining is illegal in the Amazonas state as well as in the
Caroni river basin in Bolivar state, both in Venezuela. But mine activities
development had invaded and devastated unspoilt indigenous natural areas,
have severely damaged the tropical rain forest, have contaminated the
rivers, and have eliminated so many unique species of flora and fauna.

Without a doubt, all those agreements are rapidly being put in place and we
still cannot understand why the international ecological movements HAVE NOT
It is absolutely URGENT that action must be taken to stop the loss of the
last tropical rain forest of the Planet.

Leobardo Acurero
Address: Carrera 6 entre calles 1 y 2, No. 1-81
La Playa de Sta. Isabel, Barquisimeto, Edo. Lara - Venezuela
telefax: (58-51)416739

Anna Sartorio de Ponte
telefax. (58-2)9862357-9867759
Apartado 66458 Las Americas 1061-A; Caracas-Venezuela
e mail: anaponte@ven.net
AVVA Frontera Gran Sabana
(Asociacion de Vigilantes Voluntarios del Ambiente
en la zona fronteriza de la Gran Sabana)