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Cablegate: Rio Radar - November 19

VZCZCXRO2756
RR RUEHRG
DE RUEHRI #0388 3231431
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 191430Z NOV 09
FM AMCONSUL RIO DE JANEIRO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 0029
INFO RUEHBR/AMEMBASSY BRASILIA 0025
RUEHRG/AMCONSUL RECIFE 0009
RUEHRI/AMCONSUL RIO DE JANEIRO
RUEHSO/AMCONSUL SAO PAULO

UNCLAS RIO DE JANEIRO 000388

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: ENRG PHUM ASEC EMIN SENV EIND BR
SUBJECT: Rio Radar - November 19

REF: RIO DE JANEIRO 353; RIO DE JANEIRO 329

1. (U) Rio Radar is a regular compilation of key economic,
political, commercial, and other developments in the states of Rio
de Janeiro, Bahia, Minas Gerais, Espirito Santo, and Sergipe. This
week's subjects:

NATION-WIDE BLACKOUT

2. (U) On November 10, a massive power outage affected 18 states,
leaving an estimated 87 million residents without power and leading
to persistent doubts over the cause, as well as concerns over
Brazilian energy infrastructure. In Rio de Janeiro, the blackout
lasted between two and three hours, shutting off electricity for
some 6 million residents and disrupting the water supply for over 1
million. According to accounts from the Ministry of Mines and
Energy and the National Power Grid Operator (ONS), lightning
strikes caused three transmission lines between the Itaipu
hydroelectric station and Sao Paulo to fail, causing a cascading
blackout that led to the loss of 28,000 megawatts - or 45 percent
of total Brazilian consumption at that instant - of electricity.
Experts outside of the government dispute this explanation,
however. Further Mission reporting on the incident and related
concerns will be provided septel.

UNHCHR PRAISES FAVELA PACIFICATION, WORRIED OVER POLICE VIOLENCE

3. (U) On November 10, 2009, the United Nations High Commissioner
for Human Rights (UNHCHR) Navanethem Pillay visited the favela
community of Santa Marta, the same favela Rio Principal Officer
toured on October 16 (reftel A). Minister for Racial Equality
Edson Santos and Rio de Janeiro State Secretary for Public Security
Jose Beltrame accompanied the visit. While praising Rio de
Janeiro's Favela Pacification Program and the efforts of Rio's
Pacification Police Units, or UPP, (reftel B) in bringing order to
the community, Pillay criticized the level of violence in other
favelas. "There still is an unacceptably high level of violence
and killings, especially from police actions," she said. According
to the Rio de Janeiro Institute of Public Security, Rio de Janeiro
military police were involved in some 10,216 killings related to
resisting arrest since 1998. During her trip to Brazil, Pillay
also visited Salvador and Brasilia.

NEW STEEL PLANT TO INCREASE RIO'S CO2 EMISSIONS BY 76 PERCENT

4. (U) According to forecasts by the Rio de Janeiro State Secretary
for Environment, a new plant under construction in Rio de Janeiro
state by steel manufacturer CSA (Companhia Siderurgica do
Atlantico) will emit 9.7 million tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) into
the atmosphere annually, increasing the city's carbon dioxide
emissions by 76 percent. CSA is a partnership between German
Thyssenkrupp Steel Group (73 percent share) and Brazilian mining
company Vale - CVRD (27 percent share). In response, the Brazilian
Minister of Environment and the Rio City Council's Environmental
Commission plan to "pressure" the company to seek new technologies
and plant millions of trees to mitigate the emissions.

5. (U) Thyssenkrupp is constructing the 6.7 billion USD plant - the
largest private investment in Brazil over the past 12 years - in
Western Rio de Janeiro state. The plant, which will produce over 5
million tons of steel plates per year, envisions the creation of
over 17,000 new jobs, as well as the construction of two new port
facilities.
HEARNE

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