World Rainforest Movement

Brazil: Indigenous Group Blocks VALE Railway

The Pindaré Caru indigenous movement, composed of the Guajajara and Awá people, blocked the VALE multinational mining railway this past Oct. 3 in the town of Alto Alegre do Pindaré, State of Maranhão.

The blockade was mounted in protest to the loosening of Brazilian legislation on indigenous rights (measures such as PEC 215 and Resolution 303/2012 by the State Attorney General). The aim of this loosening is to make it easier for multinational companies like VALE to appropriate indigenous territories and thus benefit even further from the exploitation of these riches.

VALE, the second-largest mining outfit worldwide, with a presence in more than 30 countries, received the Public Eye Award early this year for being the worst company in the world. Nevertheless, VALE continues to insistently claim to be a socially and environmentally responsible business.

VALE currently promotes palm oil monoculture plantations in Amazonia, causing increasing impact on local populations ( In 2011 it also formed the group of companies in charge of building the Belo Monte hydroelectric dam, which will destroy at least 50,000 hectares of Amazon rainforest, in addition to inflicting numerous adverse effects on the peoples of Amazonia.