MST demands killers of rural workers be punished
The MST is demanding justice and is calling for the killers of farmers Vanderlei das Neves and José Alves dos Santos to be punished. Both were brutally murdered in ambush on the farm Pinhal Ralo, 16 January 1997, in the city of Rio Bonito do Iguaçu (PR).
“The MST regards the case as one among many which, in more than a decade, have left 19 rural workers dead in Paraná. They are political crimes, committed by the latifúndios [large landed estates] and agribusiness,” reads a release from the Movement.
Below is the release from the MST of Paraná.
We demand justice for the killed landless workers and punishment for the crimes of agribusiness.
After 14 years, the MST is still demanding justice and is calling for the punishment of the killers of farmers Vanderlei das Neves (16) and Jose Alves dos Santos (34) who were brutally murdered in ambush on the farm Pinhal Ralo, January 16, 1997, in the city of Rio Bonito do Iguacu (PR).
The trial, that takes place today in Laranjeiras do Sul (PR), has the chance of returning a debt owed by the State to these workers.
The incident itself occurred on the same day that the Federal Government was signing a decree disappropriating 16 of more than 87 thousand hectares of land belonging to the Araupel wood company (at the time called Giacomet Marodin, bought from Votorantim).
The area was occupied by more than three thousand families. Today, a section of the estate now comprises the settlement Ireno Alves, although the business still owns a vast amount of illegally appropriated land in the region.
The trial was postponed eight times, even though the conclusion of the inquiry had been reached quickly. Although the gunmen accused in the legal proceedings were “security guards” employed by the business at the time, Araupel and its proprietors were never held responsible.
Araupel has a history of assassination and clandestine burial of agricultural workers in the region. The security guards involved in this particular incident have been at liberty ever since.
The MST regards the case as one among many which, in more than a decade, have left 19 rural workers dead in Paraná. They are political crimes, committed by the large estates and agribusiness.
Among other cases, there is one the democratic sectors of society have not forgetten: the death of both Antônio Tavares (2000), killed near Curitiba during the Lerner government, and Valmir Mota de Oliveira, aka Keno (2007), killed by security guards of the transnational Syngenta in the Cascavel region.
Such impunity has already led the Brazilian state to be condemned by the Organization of American States (OAS).
A punishment of the killers in the 14 December trial in Laranjeiras do Sul would represent the first condemnation in court for the death of landless rural workers in Paraná.
We hope that this case sets a precedent for the return of an historical debt that the Brazilian state owes to the victims of violence meted out by agribusiness and their armed militias masquerading as private security guards, not just in Paraná, but in Brazil as a whole.
Translated by FMST volunteer Eric H. To volunteer to translate, click here.