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Ilha da Madeira, the consequences of the Progress

Luis was born in 1959. His father was a fisherman in Ilha da Madeira, working in the protected area of Baia de Sepetiba. Since he was child he was working as artisanal fisherman, like many of his 13 brothers. The area now is in danger and with it the whole community living there.

Ilha da Madeira is radically changed in the last 4 years. The area rich in mangrove forests, beautiful beaches and fish, has been chosen to become one of the new hubs for the storage and the transportation of the iron mining outside Brazil.
Most of the mangrove forest has been destroyed to make space to the new construction of Porto Sudeste. A hill divides the see from the storage space, and a tunnel was realized to allow the mining to reach a quay longer than 1km, where the ships will be loaded.
Two new train lines have been created to connect the new port to the existing infrastructure.
A neighborhood, called Vila do Engenho has been partially destroyed and incorporated in the construction area. Between the people resisting in the area there are Godinho and Auzerina, father and mother of Luiz, as well as Rogerio, the youngest brother of Luis.

As if that were not enough, the Brazilian Navy decided to create few meters aside a new base where to build their nuclear powered submarine.
Another tunnel was realized between the seaside and the storage space as to allow the transportation of the pieces of the future submarines.

None of the two new structures are at work at the moment (August 2014) but this will happen in few months when the construction will be completed.

The community of Ilha da Madeira is really worried about the consequences of this two big infrastructures. Up to now they just experimented the bad side of progress, lost of nature, of tranquillity, of quality of life, decrease in fishing space, and consequentially in fish production.

It’s difficult to imagine, in this situation, an improvement in people’s life condition. More easily the community we’ll be forced to live their houses because of the pollution caused by the mining and in few years there will be no more Ilha da Madeira.

This is the silent fight of the people to survive.

©Alessandro Rampazzo 2014