Newsletter n. 230


Federal Judge Marcelo Dolzany da Costa of the 1st Court of the state of Tocantins issued a preliminary order yesterday (September 30) suspending the closing of the gates to fill up the reservoir of the Serra da Mesa Power Plant in the state of Goias. In his ruling, Dolzany questioned the absence of an environmental license for the plant. The preliminary order was issued in reply to a writ of prevention filed by state attorneys Mario Lucio Freitas, of Tocantins, and Rosangela Posahl Batista, of Goias, and also by public prosecutor Jose Maria da Silva Junior, who detected irregularities in the Environmental Impact Report which prevent any attempt to control negative impacts caused by the power plant. Another strong irregularity was denounced by Cimi and is related to the absence of an authorization from the National Congress, since the plant covers 10% of the Ava-Canoeiro indigenous land and will cause impacts in all the region of the states of Goias and Tocantins.

The writ of prevention filed by the state attorneys preceded a Public Civil Action that will be brought against Furnas Centrais Eletricas, the state enterprise responsible for the consortium which is building the plant. Backed by the preliminary order which suspended the filling of the reservoir, Cimi and other entities which support indigenous rights will now concentrate their efforts in this Action, through which Furnas will be forced to settle all the irregularities which were detected. They will also demand that the consortium wait for the decision of the National Congress on the matter before continuing to build the plant. Cimi believes that no one should be allowed to disregard the Constitution, as this can be a very strong precedent. "We will take advantage of this moment to resume discussions on specific laws for the use of water resources in indigenous lands", said Saulo Feitosa, Cimi's executive secretary. An important instrument in this connection is the Statute of Indigenous Societies, which has been discussed at the National Congress for five years but has not been passed so far.


Municipal elections will be held throughout Brazil, except in the Federal District, this Thursday, October 3. The participation of 82 indigenous candidates has been registered, five of whom are running for mayor, four for vice-mayor, and 73 for alderman in different parts of the country. This participation resulted from the need felt by indigenous peoples to occupy political spaces and fight the discrimination imposed by the non-indigenous society.

Most of these indigenous candidates are concentrated in the state of Mato Grosso do Sul, where 20 Indians from the Guarani-Kaiowa, Nandeva, and Terena peoples are running for aldermen in seven municipalities. In terms of number of candidates aspiring to hold posts in the executive branch, the state of Minas Gerais, located in the southeast region of the country, ranks first, with three Indians running for mayor and three for vice-mayor. It is the state where 50% of the municipality of Sao Joao das Missoes is covered by the indigenous area of the Xacriaba people. The hope of electing an indigenous candidate is strongest in the state of Amapa, where Indian Galibi Marworno, Joao Neves dos Santos, is running for mayor under the Brazilian Socialist Party (PSB) in the municipality of Oiapoque, located in the extreme north of the country. Joao Neves is being supported by the governor of Amapa, Joao Capiberibe (PSB).

Brasilia, 1 October 1996
Indianist Missionary Council - Cimi