Located in the heart of the Amazon, Altamira is the second most violent city in Brazil and gathers in its region all the threats that the Amazon rainforest faces today. Headquarters of the Belo Monte hydroelectric, home to 9 important Brazilian indigenous nations, it was from the municipality of Altamira that far-right farmers set fire to the forest on purpose in 2019.
The year 2020 seems to announce an even worse year for deforestation in Amazonia. Even under the rain period, under an unprecedented health crisis, the deforestation has already raised by 51% in comparison with the same period last year, according to technical information from INPE (National Institut of Spacial Research).
The illegal mining is intensively active in some areas of Amazonia and it is expected to expand even more in the next months, as the environmental survey institutions were weakened by Bolsonaro's government and will loose force as the Brazilian army has been called to work on the pandemic crisis and all attentions are centred now on the political and health crisis.
“Altamira” is a story that aims to show the faces of the region, the consequences of an unruly urbanism and an exploratory capitalism completely indifferent to environmental issues and human rights.
Altamira city is the ground zero of the construction of the Trans-amazonica road, an utopian plan of the dictatorship in Brazil. During this time, in the 70's, people all over the country were called to come occupy the Amazonian forest, without any control and in detriment of Indians, nature and native people who used to live there. Today, the city is know for being the ground zero of the fires set in 2019, as it was here that farmers set fire on the forest on purpose las 1st August. The city concentrates one of the highest levels of deforestation in Brazil, where big international exploitation of mines are planned and vast lands of cattle are being settled. The environment in the region will be even more destroyed.
Belo Monte dam construction has brought a huge natural disaster, several fish species disappeared, water is polluted. Fishermen, Indians and local population who lived close to the river had to move to suburban neighbourhoods. They are suffering from poverty and health problems due to the imposed urban life, of having no more work and seeing their kids being killed, coopted by one of the biggest drug gangs war in the country. The city has grown fast and without law, it is a place where people fear to talk, fear to die.