Barbara J. Fraser
Change is roiling the water around Santarem. The city already has a large port where riverboats call with passengers, and freighters load soy and corn from the country's agricultural heartland.
Mention of the Amazon is likely to conjure images of snaking rivers, seemingly endless forests, indigenous villagers and exotic animals. But poor harvests or a desire for jobs and an education drive people from rural areas to fast-growing cities, which generally are poorly planned and ill-equipped to deal with the influx of newcomers.
Science is showing that hydropower is not as environmentally friendly as once thought, and the struggles of the families uprooted by Belo Monte reveal the dam's dark side.
"Quilombolos," as the residents of quilombos are known, still suffer from the racism and discrimination that made the brutal slave trade possible in the first place.