Antonia Melo da Silva spent 35 out of her 68 years fighting to preserve the Amazon and prevent the construction of the gigantic Belo Monte hydroelectric power plant in the Xingu River Basin. The Xingu River is a tributary of the Amazon River in the southwest of the state of Pará. On October 10th, her efforts were recognized with an award from the Alexander Soros Foundation in New York. The foundation promotes projects in civil rights, social justice, and education.

Antonia Melo

Antonia founded the Xingu Vivo Para Sempre (Live Xingu Forever) movement, which brings together communities of fishermen, rural workers, indigenous peoples, and religious and women’s organizations.

However, the movement was unable to prevent the construction of the hydropower plant.

Crédito: Marcello Casal Jr | Agência Brasil

Belo Monte is controversial due to its low productivity and its impact on the riverside and indigenous population. Construction began in 2011. After it goes into full operation in 2019, it will be the fourth largest hydroelectric power plant in the world, after the Chinese power plants in the Three Gorges and Xiluodu and Itaipu Binational, which Brazil and Paraguay share.

Questions – nivel III
– Why was Antonia Melo da Silva awarded?
– Why are so many people against Belo Monte?


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