Article Critique: Study on Belo Monte Dam Project

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An enormous 80% of Brazil’s electrical power is harnessed from its rivers. However a controversial dam project, the Belo Monte Dam, to be built on the Xingu River in the Brazilian state of Pará has thrown the country into uproar, with indigenous peoples and citizens alike protesting in their thousands. The project for what would be the third-largest dam in the world is projected to cost the Brazilian government in excess of around US $20 billion, generating 11,000 megawatts of electricity at full capacity, and has recently seen yet another halt in construction after the Rio Summit in August 2012, due to a court ruling that the indigenous peoples had not been consulted about the project as is law in Brazil. For a project conceived around twenty years ago now, this is a huge setback for the government. And with a predicted energy consumption increase of around 60%, Brazil needs clean renewable energy projects more than ever.
Stop The Belo Monte Monster Dam – Source 1
There’s been fierce protest, yet the government is still moving ahead with the Belo Monte project. Indigenous people’s lives will be affected by the flooding and 20,000 people displaced. The dam is energy inefficient, and a large amount of energy will be sold rather than go to the people. The government has forced this dam upon the population and has consistently lied, and corrupted tests. Analysis

This article was written by an Amazonwatch Pressure Group member, condemning the Belo Monte Dam and trying to convince the reader that it is not a viable project but is instead a near pointless development that will threaten the livelihoods of many indigenous Amazonian tribes. Even in the first sentence of the article it is clear that it is intended to be biased against the dam. With the quoting of the Brazilian government moving ahead “at any cost” quoted in inverted commas to imply the government’s insensitivity towards the operation, this is reinforced with the statement that the dam’s building dates back to a “military dictatorship”, designed to show the lack of choice that is being given to the civilians of the country. The use of facts and figures in the second paragraph tries to reinforce the huge size of the project with figures designed to shock you as to the size of the scheme, and the emotive language of words such as “force” to describe the number of people who must be displaced and to make the reader sympathise with them, to make it look as if the government is dictating this dam against the will of so many people, and “enormous” to describe the number of harmful gases that would be released into the atmosphere, to get the backing of those who are more environmentally minded and concerned about global warming and the greenhouse effect. The use of “however” to rebuttal every argument made for the benefits of the dam, such as that it “will also attract 100,000 migrants to the region” is used throughout the article. This is to show that each argument or opinion the reader could form can be nipped at the bud quickly with a counter-argument, and further reinforces the stance taken by the writer of the piece. Describing the plight of the Xingu’s “poor” farmers endears them to us, as well as calling the indigenous peoples “vulnerable”. This further tries to acquire the reader’s sympathies and rally them against the dam. The article states that the dam “will be one of the most energy inefficient dams in the history of Brazil”, followed by more facts and figures to back this up, and voicing the grave impact on the forests and indigenous peoples. Then the “government changed their approach” by changing the names of the dam and area from the original tribe names to those of their own, and selling the project as “one dam complex”, despite the fact that “the government knows that building Belo Monte is economically unviable unless more dams are built upstream”. In this way, the writer tries to make an enemy...
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