The Jungle Highway
The depths of the Amazon are impenetrable, concealing people and entire communities behind their leafy curtain. The world will soon see many of its secrets, however, when a highway slices through the jungle to connect the Atlantic Ocean and the Pacific.
The Interoceanic Highway is the newest focus of development on the continent, emerging along the borders of Brazil, Bolivia, and Peru. This ambitious infrastructure project will give Brazil over-the-road access to Pacific ports and ultimately China, connecting two of the world’s biggest economies. The highway also will make it easier to reach places that until now have been isolated in the depths of the Amazon.
However, very little is known about the social and environmental impact of this monumental infrastructure project on the communities of those three nations.
We propose to report on how this highway affects the ecosystem and people of the sensitive Amazon region. Our crew will focus on three specific areas: Puerto Maldonado in Peru, Cobija in Bolivia, and Rio Branco in Brazil.
The project is the first initiative by
CONNECTAS, a new organization conceived by Colombian journalist Carlos Eduardo
Huertas during a Nieman fellowship at Harvard University. CONNECTAS fosters
reporting on transnational issues in the Americas (www.connectas.org).
The Jungle Highway project will examine the logging of native trees, population changes in our regions of study, changes in living conditions, and the evolution of illegal activities, among other aspects of the highway. We will return to the region two years later to determine the extent to which the project was completed, assess its long-term impact and highlight roles of key community leaders in each of these areas.
CONNECTAS is sponsoring the fieldwork and editing of the final project. A reporter will make a self-funded field visit to the region from June to August 2012. This Kickstarter campaign hopes to raise enough money to translate and publish the final multimedia project in English, Spanish, and Portuguese.
Achieving the funding goal – and surpassing it! – will not only signal support for this important reporting effort, it will demonstrate that people like you are interested in key transnational development issues in the Americas. And the additional resources will be invested in identifying and funding other similiar projects by CONNECTAS.
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