After warning that “fake news is a crime, it is not a ‘joke’ or a legitimate instrument of political struggle”, the Minister of Justice, Flávio Dino, announced, this Monday (11), that the Federal Police will investigate people who spread lies on the situation of the flood tragedy in Vale do Taquari, in Rio Grande do Sul.
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“This crime is even more serious when it refers to a humanitarian crisis, as it can generate panic and increase the suffering of families,” the minister posted on his X account (formerly Twitter). Dino added that “the Federal Police are already aware of the facts and will adopt the measures provided for by law”.
“Apologies for the error”
At least two people are identified as disseminating false news that alarmed the population of Rio Grande do Sul. One of them is the journalist Alexandre Garcia, ex-Globo and former spokesperson for the João Figueiredo government, the last of the dictatorship leaders of 1964. The other is the influencer and veterinary doctor Samara Baum, from Sarandi (RS).
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She even recorded a video saying that donations for the population victimized by the floods would only be distributed after President Lula arrived at the location, “to take photos and videos of the donations”. And that, in the meantime, people “would be starving”.
When asked about the lie, Samara hurriedly recorded a second video apologizing, saying she had expressed herself wrongly. The first video was released by Bolsonaro deputy Gustavo Gayer (PL/GO), who quickly deleted his post.
Opening of non-existent floodgates
On Monday (11), the Union’s attorney general, Jorge Messias, stated on his X account that he requested the National Prosecutor’s Office for the Defense of Democracy to investigate Garcia for disseminating false data about the floods.
“The rain was the original cause, but under PT governments, contrary to what environmental measurements recommended, three small dams were built that apparently opened the floodgates at the same time,” Garcia said in a video posted on the website of the ultra-right-wing Oeste magazine. .
It turns out that there are no floodgates in these dams. This was what the Rio Grande do Sul Environmental Secretariat pointed out in an official note issued on September 8th, in light of the rumors that began to spread.
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“In the case of the Ceran dams (Companhia Energética Rio das Antas), especially the one affected by the climate event (UHE Castro Alves), there are no gates and the spillway structure is of the free sill type, that is, the excess water passes through on top of the bus”, emphasizes the text. He also confirms that “no mechanical opening” occurred during the storm.
“Highest flow since construction”
On its website, Ceran informs that “last Monday, September 4th, the Antas river (name given to Taquari in the upper and longest part of its route) reached the highest flow since the construction of the plants and a one of the highest flows on record, in the case of a natural disaster of major proportions”.
Still according to Ceran, the dams, at no time, presented a risk of rupture.
The hydroelectric exploration of the Antas River was granted in 2001 to the group constituted by CPFL – Geração de Energia SA, with 65% of the shares; to CEEE-G (state-owned company from Rio Grande do Sul privatized in 2022), with 30%; and the Norwegian corporation Statkraft SA, with 5%.
Source: BdF Rio Grande do Sul
Editing: Ayrton Centeno