Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Chile's Beto Cuevas Launches Anti-Dam Video

Chilean rock star come environmental activist Beto Cuevas is continuing to play his part in an ongoing campaign to block construction of several massive hydroelectric dams planned for the Aysén Region of Patagonia. Cuevas, currently a resident of Los Angeles, California, is the former lead singer of the hit band La Ley, one of the best-known pop groups in all of Latin America.

The popular musician’s most recent contribution made its debut this week on the popular Web site YouTube. In a 4:30 video, Cuevas documents a trip he took earlier this year to southern Chile, where – together with a team of Chilean environmentalists and delegates from the influential U.S.-based Natural Resources Defence Council – he made a first hand inspection of Patagonia’s pristine rivers.

“As the lead singer of the band La Ley I’ve toured all over the world and I’ve seen many wonderful places, but nothing as beautiful or amazing as the wild lands of Patagonia, located in Chile, the country of my birth,” says Cuevas.

Of particular concern to Cuevas and other participants in a growing campaign to protect Patagonia’s waterways is the so-called Aysén Project. Planned by Spanish electricity giant Endesa and a large Chilean utility called Colbún, the Aysén Project is a US$ 4 billion plan to build two dams on each of the region’s two largest rivers: the Baker and the Pascua. Together the dams are expected to produce an estimated 2,400 MW, equivalent to about 30 percent of the energy currently available in central Chile.

The plan also calls for building the world’s longest transmission line, a 2,000-kilometer network that would connect Patagonia to Chile’s energy-hungry central and northern regions. The proposed electricity line, which would run through several national parks, calls for clear-cutting countless acres of wilderness area.

“Patagonia is so remote and untouched I had to transfer to three different planes to get to our destination. Just look at these mountains below,” Cuevas explains in his video. “It was hard to imagine that this pristine wilderness could be obliterated to make room for the world’s largest transmission line.”

Here is the full article.