Brazil Dam Collapse: Consequences Will Be More Devastating Under Bolsonaro

Welcome to The Real News Network. I’m Marc Steiner. Great to have you with us. The death toll from last week’s mining dam
collapse in Brazil has risen to at least 84, with another 276 people missing, at last count
that I’ve read. In terms of people missing and killed, this
is Brazil’s deadliest mining disaster on record, and the Vale mining company, which
operated the dam, has said it will decommission ten of its dams in Brazil, which represents
10 percent of the company’s output. This is a security precaution, as they put
it. But with this new government waiting to slash
environmental regulation and open more land to development and mining, we’ll see what
that really means. But what does this mining dam collapse mean
in terms of its overall environmental impact, and what responsibility does the Brazilian
government bear in it all? Joining me to discuss this is Fabiana Alves. She is climate and energy campaigner at Greenpeace
Brazil. And Fabiana, thanks for joining us today here
at Real News. Good to have you with us. Thank you very much. So this is–I mean, when you see the pictures
of what happened in Brumadinho, they’re horrendous and they’re frightening to look
at. But I’m curious, in the larger perspective
outside that town and what’s happened since, what we know. What will be the health impact of this collapse
on the people, on the animal life, on agriculture, on the environment? What are some of the things you’re watching
and worrying about? Yes. Three years ago we had the same type of disaster
in Brazil, very close to Brumadinho, the place that this disaster happened now, in the same
state, the state of Minas Gerais. And the disaster was done by the same company,
which is Vale. Val-ay, not Vale. Yeah. Yes. This company killed 21 people the last time,
and made a whole city completely disappear. And another one had to be evacuated and reconstructed. None was done. None of the cities that needed to be reconstructed
was reconstructed. The mud is a toxic mud. It’s already there in the place of the [ocean]
disaster. And they had not paid what the government
was charging for all the mess they have done in the past. So what I can say right now is that the trust
in the company is very low, because they have not done what they had to do in the past. So I have to see what they’re going to do
now. About the environmental impacts, they are
huge. The mud is toxic. So there’s a lot of iron in the mud, and
manganese. These two components are very toxic. And the last time Greenpeace coordinated six
different studies, independent studies, to see how was the impact, the environmental
impact and the social impact, because both things, we have to remember, are linked. And what we saw there is that the level of
toxins in the mud was very high. So that means that the mud is affecting people
that are in contact with it. Last time they killed a whole river, and that’s
what they’re doing–a whole river. We had a huge river, it’s called the Doce
River. They have killed the entire river and everything
there was around the river. They have not done the reforestation that
they needed to do. And let’s see how it’s going to be now,
because the mud is going to one of our biggest rivers in Brazil, which is Sao Francisco. And we hope that the mud stops at the hydroelectric
that we have in the middle of the way. I’ve also read that the way this toxic mud
is moving, that it’s, as you just said, affecting Brazil’s largest river, going
into Indigenous territory, as well. And people already have seen thousands of
dead fish floating in the water. So I mean, what do you know, what do we know
about the environmental impact so far? And what the effect could be in a larger area
if, in fact, you could? Well, what we know from the past, from past
experiences, is it’s going to everything that is around. It can contaminate the water, and also the
water on the underground. So if someone is taking water from deep underground,
this water may be contaminated, too. It’s necessary to check the water to see
how the water is. And it needs to be done all the time. Not just once, but once in a month, or even
more times, to see how these things are happening. Same thing for health impacts. From now on we need to see how people that
are close to this toxic mud, if they are presenting anything that could cause that could be a
problem in their health. So everything, all these, need to be close
seen by the enterprise. The enterprise needs to be there to do that. So, the president of Brazil, Bolsonaro, said
on Twitter that he and his administration would do everything in their power to prevent
more tragedies like this. But he’s also carrying out an agenda of
environmental deregulation. And if–and when you look back at the history
of the last 10 years, even with an administration in Brazil that represented the people in a
greater depth than Bolsonaro’s does, an administration that came from the left, you
still could not regulate this industry, you couldn’t stop it. So what’s your response? What should be the response, and what’s
your response to Bolsonaro in all of this? Well, Bolsonaro, he used to be in the Congress
very close to ruralistas. Those are a part of the Congress that tries
to put laws that makes environmental license more flexible, so easy to–infrastructure,
structures can can be easily done. They want to pass laws on that. Bolsonaro is linked to people in the government
that have already said that the environmental people are always exaggerating things. They do not–they have declared that they,
they want the country all for development, and that environment has nothing to do with
that. So he has a completely wrong way to see what
development and [economic] means. For example, if you see everything that happened,
people died, rivers died, and all the social impact. Those impacts caused economic impacts, too,
that they are not doing the right accountability on that. So we need to see how he’s going to do the
next steps for that. So it was interesting, I was reading an article
that showed these people scrawling on the walls in the town that–you said Vale is
how you say it? Vale? Yes, Vale. “Vale is a recidivist murder,” “Profit
is what Vale is all about,” “Vale can kill you.” So there were all these signs that were across
in that town after this disaster took place. So I’m wondering what kinds of environmental
policy would actually have to be put in place to stop these kinds of disasters, because
more could be coming. Well, environmental licenses are very important,
because that’s the moment that you say if it’s OK or not OK to do a project, an infrastructure
project. So it’s very important that Brazil has very
strong legislation on that, and that all states follow it, so we don’t have a competition
between states to see who gets more infrastructure and who gives more to the companies to have
them in their, in their states. This is important, but also–it’s also
important is physicalization. In Brazil we have we have no physicalizations
of all dams that we have in Brazil. We have more than 40 per cent of the dams,
they are not–we don’t know where they are. There are no transparency. Yes, there are no transparency of where they
are and what are the risks they are causing. So we need the government to see that. Another thing is the physicalization, it needs
to be done regularly, and it needs to be independent. We cannot accept anymore that enterprises
hire the people that are doing the physicalization in their dams. So these type of things can’t happen anymore. Well, Fabiana Alves, I appreciate your taking
the time to talk with us here at Real News today. I know you’re extremely busy, and going
out from Sao Paulo to Brumadinho yourself to see what’s going on. Look forward to talking to you again. Stay safe. I hope that people will be safe in that community. Thank you for joining us. Thank you. And I’m Marc Steiner here for The Real News
Network. Thank you for joining us. Take care.

12 thoughts on “Brazil Dam Collapse: Consequences Will Be More Devastating Under Bolsonaro

  1. It fucking crazy that these company's are aloud to keep operating business make them pay for the entire cost of a planer and repair any other dams that are obviously in bad shape so this does not happen again

  2. This company must get closed and pay, the CEOs must get arrested for life time
    They deserve no protection, all and every thing that belongs to the company must get confiscated immediately!
    There is no excuse

  3. The previous government shares the responsibility with.Vale for both of these tragic events.The new Bolsonaro administration will most definitely address this problem and do everything possible to correct in order to make sure that this never happens again.Today the death toll is around 90 souls and expected to reach 300.

  4. They don't care about these people. I'm sure they are very poor. Certainly won't get any better under Bolsanaros

  5. Give me a break. The socialist government of Brazil was representing the interests of the globalist elite – NOT the people. The worst environmental disasters happen under socialist governance. Regulation does not equate to doing the right thing (usually implemented bureaucratically top-down by people who are better qualified for cleaning toilets) and displaces responsibility onto the legislation rather than corporate individuals. REMOVING LEGISLATION placed the responsibility squarely back on the people in charge!

  6. The single most important issue in the world today is the real yellow vest movement which targets the head of the snake, the highly criminal globalist cabal and banking elit, destroying us like cancer. They have infiltrated every aspect of our lives and they are inches away from success! This is truly the root of all evil! They are working hard with their msm media to sway people away from what it’s about. You need to cover the true movement and inform people right now. This IS THE TIME. It is now or never. Please do a video on this in depth! Humanity is begging you.

  7. Profits to the mining company, costs to the communities and the state: the capitalist way to do it.
    Or another way: collect profits as long as you can, and then bankcrupt the company if you need to take responsibility.

  8. Nothing will happen to the dam owners, theyll get off and the president would have few million in his back pocket lets be honesy

  9. So there will be a fine that both agree on, and 1or 2 people will take the blame that had no control of what happened hear. So same old same old story.

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