Seventeen years have passed since that fateful April 17. On that day in 1996, a march of rural workers organized by the MST was blockaded and attacked by military police in the city of Eldorado dos Carajás, Pará state. 19 people were killed on the spot and 2 others died days afterwards. The day of the Eldorado dos Carajás massacre has officially become the National Day of Struggle for Land Reform.
MST Occupations and Demonstrations
by Wesley Lima
On April 8, the MST in Bahia started a state march fighting for Agrarian Reform. The march, which had close to five thousand rural workers without land from nine regions of the state, started in the municipality of Camaçari and continued in the direction of Salvador.
MST leader Fábio Santos da Silva, assassinated on April 2 by 15 shots fired by gunmen in Iguaí, in the Southwest of Bahia, was buried on April 3.
The vigil for the body began in the Rural Community of Ribeirão das Flores and afterwards the body was taken to the City Hall of Iguaí, where the city can follow and share this moment of mourning and show solidarity with the grief of the family, friends, and men and women comrades in mourning.
On leaving the City Hall, families, friends, and MST activists held a march to the end of the city to accompany the coffin. On the way, a lot of music and chanting showed the people’s anger.
Under the Brazilian Constitution, landless families have the right to occupy arable land that is not being used in order to grow food to feed themselves.
Representatives of the State Secretariat for Human Rights, the State Program for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders and the Ombudsman of the Department of Social Defense visited, on Tuesday (July 3, 2012), the Gregório Bezerra encampment in the city of Altinho, rural Pernambuco (PE).
The visit had as its main objective to present the results of several investigations open to punish acts of violence.
The camp has been the scene of systematic violence by gunmen hired by landowners of the farm Serro Azul, owned by Luis Reis, since April last year. Since the beginning of this year, the landowner has become even more violent and verbal threats and intimidation came to blows.
On March 22, Reiss beat Eraldo Alves da Silva, known as Seu Antonio, a landless workers in the encampment, while he was kept under the barrel of a gun, accompanied by two gunmen.
By Jose Coutinho Junior
The Minister of Agrarian Development (MDA), Pepe Vargas, in an interview with Carta Maior declared the decrease in the coming years of the number of families settled pursuant to agrarian reform.
The minister also claims that the number of families living in the encampments has decreased. For Alexandre Conceição, from the National Coordination of the MST, the statements mask the reality of the Brazilian countryside.
Check out the interview with the Página do MST:
Dear Friends of the MST,
On behalf of my brothers and sisters of the Landless Workers Movement (MST) in Brazil, I salute you.
I write to tell you about the grave threats we are facing here in Pernambuco, Brazil, and ask for your help.
Relying on the absence of the state and on the collusion between judicial powers and local police, farmers in Pernambuco are intensifying violence against Landless rural workers in Pernambuco.
During the reoccupation of the Rio dos Santos estate in Bom Jesus das Selves in Maranhão last Saturday (25), a pregnant woman of six months was knocked down by estate owner and land thief, José Osvaldo Damião. She ended up losing her baby.
An elderly man of 72 years was among other workers assaulted by the landowner and his gunmen.
The year is ending and again we have the feeling of accomplishment for all the struggles, activities, and alliances that we’ve built and engaged in with all the various sectors of the working class. In another difficult year we had to carry out great struggles against agribusiness that continues its offensive against our lands, natural resources, and public investments.