Danny Glover visits Mariana and Barra Longa in support to the struggle of people affected by Samarco
The famous US actor and human rights activist visited the region affected by the dam rupture owned by Samarco.
Danny Glover fight in defense of Human Rights and against racism in the United States and in African countries. He is also an UN ambassador at UNICEF. The american actor visited Mariana and Barra Longa with his colleague James Early, also Human Rights activist.
At Bento Rodrigues, both were surprised to see the destruction and size of the disaster. They compared what they saw with Hurricane Katrina, a tropical storm that hit New Orleans in 2005. In both cases families did not receive any official alert and information and were no siren system. Although Hurricane Katrina was a disaster caused by nature and not by a technological/human failure. Another comparison is that the population in New Orleans is predominantly black and it's estimated that 80% of the people affected by Samarco in the city of Mariana are also black. Glover said about the coincidence with other situations in poor countries where black people live in more precarious regions or live in places which were peaceful but turned into uninhabitable places because of the impacts of large companies.
At Paracatu de Baixo they heard reports of residents who haven't left the affected region who reported their needs, problems they face, talked about their way of life in a region that was very peaceful. Milk producers talked about the uncertainty about the future. Women reported their problems and how their income is affected.
Glover and James could see the chaos in the region with the intense movement of machinery and trucks that upset people's lives. "Samarco just wants money: Jesus is up in the sky and money here on earth," Antonio Geraldo de Oliveira affected in Paracatu declared to the visitors.
In the city of Barra Longa where the mud destroyed the entire city, leaving over 70 families homeless, reaching about 90 farms, 100 house-yards, Danny Glover and James Early were received by its population, who are outraged against Vale and BHP Billiton, but are also organized to guarantee their rights.
The families reported the problems faced by the population, the excesses of the mining, the denial of basic rights, including the denial to an escape route if the Germano dam [another mining dam owned by Samarco in the region] breaks.
Danny Glover and James were touched and confessed that "in the many trips done to Brazil, this was the visit they could be most in direct contact with the people and the visit to Barra Longa was one of the most memorable moment of this coming to Brazil" . Residents prepared a gift for both containing cachaça made in the city, local embroidery and a Cd of Fafá da Barra, singer who released his fourth work and is a member of the local coordination of the Movement of People Affected by Dams, MAB.
"This is a very important moment for us. And it helps to tell the world that the people affected by Samarco in Barra Longa and throughout Rio Doce basin remains organized and have not lost hope in rebuilding their lives"summarized Serginho, also a member of the coordination of MAB in the city.
Beatriz Cerqueira, President of Central of Workers Unions (CUT) in the state of Minas Gerais, Rafael of the Movement of Landless Rural Workers (MST), which organized the coming of James and Danny to Brazil, accompanied by journalists of the newspaper Brasil de Fato were also present during this visit