Highway To Heaven or Hell?

Lima is an amazing city with over 8 million of a population. You can sense the changes that are happening in society. Increased wealth and confidence and a booming economy. Yet we need to be reminded that the country still has a hinterland of rural communities which are being challenged by the enconomic improvement of the country. its strange isn't it with every economic improvement there are also moral and social concerns [youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zeCCCErKtAo[/youtube]One group of people in particular that are facing immense change are the communities on each side of the Interoceanic Highway. This is an Intercontinental Motorway running some 1600 miles from Brazil to Peru and indeed when it is finished you will be able to drive from the Atlantic to the Pacific Politicians and business investors see the highway as a dynamic symbol of South American integration and a way of opening new markets in China. There is no doubt this project has been talked about for years now it is happening people are proud of the project. You can see A giant banner alongside one freshly paved stretch of the $2.75bn (£1.7bn) highway declaring "Once a promise, now a reality." Many environmentalists and social commentators are warning that the highway will bring a whole string of new problems. One thing many are afraid of is the increase risk of AIDS being transmitted to the populations. The truth is the local people are not prepared for what is happening to them. I spoke with Professor Patricia Garcia of University of Cayetano and she explained about the fear of STDs and AIDS increasing because of the Highway. In an article written in the Guardian last year one leading academic has suggested, "It's not roads that destroy the Amazon, it's the people that come because the road provides better access," Ernesto Raez, director of the Centre for Environmental Sustainability at Cayetano Heredia University in Lima agreed with this "We shouldn't blame these people – most of whom are very impoverished. The problem is that the authorities are too weak to control this influx." There is also the Madre de Dios region, which has long been a draw for wildcat goldminers, who believe they will make their fortune because the price of gold has risen considerably over the past few years. The article in the Guardian continues, "Rainforest destruction is not the only concern. Aguirre, the governor of Madre de Dios, warns the road could also aid South American drug cartels. Recent years have seen Peru become one of the world's leading cocaine producers, with Mexican, Colombian and Brazilian gangs continuing to extend their tentacles into the country. "I wouldn't be surprised if this road became one of main drug-trafficking routes in the next few years," So Peru is changing yet the needs of the poor still remain. Our work in the Vine Trust is to continue to make alliances around the world with like minded people in order that we can change lives for the good I guess our motto holds good ' Connecting People To Change lives"
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