The road was built by the Brazilian dictatorship in the
1970s but never completed

When Brazil's President Lula began his second term in office, he immediately announced massive investment into the country's infrastructure.

One of his most high profile projects is to finish paving over the country's most controversial road - the BR-163.

Over 1000 miles long, the road starts in the centre of the South American continent and ends on the banks of the Amazon River.

Almost two-thirds of the road's length is a muddy track that cuts through the rainforest.

President Lula believes paving the road
will bring much-needed jobs to the area

Lula is determined his government can develop the road and preserve the environment. But environmentalists and indigenous Indians are incensed.

They claim the paving of the road will result in ecological disaster.

Filmmaker Alex Bellos travels the route, stopping to ask soya farmers, environmentalists and the landless poor if this is an impossible dream.

People & Power report from Brazil. 

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This episode of People & Power airs from Wednesday 27, February, 2008

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