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The controversy behind South America’s ambitious infrastructure improvements

Excerpt from Foreign Policy

Jul 21, 2012 4:16 am

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From dams to highways, there are highly debated pros and cons to these projects, which disrupt the indigenous peoples’ way of life, but prepare the continent for future growth and development.

— Samantha Shankman

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A decade ago, South American governments introduced the Initiative for the Integration of Regional Infrastructure in South America (IIRSA) — a multinational initiative to connect and develop the continent. Since then, Brazil has spent billions of dollars on infrastructure in the region, but not everyone is happy about the direction of the development. Indigenous groups in the area say that rampant development — which includes projects that will dam rivers and introduce roads to remote areas, potentially changing the Amazonian landscape forever — will destroy their traditional way of life.

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