Tristes Tropiques

Following Simon Bolivar’s dream to unify South America, in 2003 Brazilian former President, Lula da Silva, started to move pieces to build the +5000km Interoceanic Highway, the first road that crosses South America from East to West; from the Atlantic Ocean in Brazil to the Pacific Ocean in Peru. This huge project provides Brazil a faster way to transport its vast natural resources to the Asian market.

During the 1970′s, under the Brazilian dictatorship, the military government also tried to cross the continent with the TransAmazonian Highway, a 4000km road across the Amazon rainforest, to run a long-awaited agrarian reform pending since the Abolition of Slavery, that would grant land access to the thousands of landless Brazilian people. The project failed and migrant families, that were building the road, got stuck in the middle of nowhere.

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The construction of both Highways has a severe impact on the fragile rainforest environment, such as deforestation, illegal hunting and fishing, massive crops for monocultures and pasture lands, illegal mining, pollution, soil erosion and loss of biodiversity. It is also affecting the local populations, introducing the drug and arms trafficking into the region, slaving underemployment and violence, and also damaging the life of ancestral indigenous communities.

This project aims to document the consequences of both sides of the dream to unify South America, what remains of the TransAmazonian project and the new path of the Interoceanic Highway.