Social movements oppose attacks on indigenous people in Mato Grosso do Sul

Friday, September 25, 2015

We are all indigenous and we are fighting for a Parliamentary Commission of Inquiry

The criminalization and killing of Indigenous People in the Brazilian state of Mato Grosso do Sul has only increased in the last years, as international agribusiness continues to expand in the Central Plateau, Pantanal and Amazonian regions.

The following press release was issued by the unions and social movements.

Together to build a fair and supportive Brazil

The social and union movements from Mato Grosso do Sul, who got together last September 22nd , reaffirm their full support to indigenous peoples’ struggle for their rights, such as the battle to reclaim their territory and at least the chance of a fair and decent life.

Once again, outraged, we denounce that in our Mato Grosso do Sul some of the farmers and their roughnecks have been working with some armed organizations and in less than a month they effected 12 (twelve) paramilitary attacks against Guarani Kaiowá, Tekohá Ñanderú Maragantú, Potrero Guasu, Guyra Kamby'I, Pyelito Kue and Kurupi. As a result of this war, Semião Vilhalva, Guarani Kaiowá’s leader, was murdered and three Indians were shot. Many others were injured by some rubber bullets, while others were beaten up. We have strong evidences that indigenous people have been tortured and there are complaints that a Guarani Kaiowá woman has been gang raped.

It’s worth mentioning that Ñanderú Marangatú, location where Semião was murdered, is an Indigenous land properly approved a decade ago. He, as so many other Indians, were murdered, not only by the state’s “coronelismo” (the political, social and economic power held by rich landowners), but also by the State’s slowness in guaranteeing the Federal Constitution.

At least 585 indigenous people have committed suicide and other 390 have been murdered in MS in the last 12 years. The state has 23 million bovines that coincidentally occupy 23 million hectares of land, which means 1 hectare per animal. Meanwhile, with the slowness and stoppage in the processes of demarcation, the estimated 45 thousand Guarani Kaiowá people continue squeezed in only 30 thousand hectares of their traditional lands.

And for our surprise, going on the complete opposite side of solving the problems of the conflicts of land in Mato Grosso do Sul, on September 18th, the approval of a Parliamentary Commission of Inquiry (CPI) was published in the state’s Official Gazette, proposed by the state deputy Mara Caseiro (whose political party is PCdoB), endorsed by other farmer deputies, created through an order signed by the president of the Legislative Assembly, Junior Mochi (PMDB), with the intent of investigating the actions of the Indigenous Missionary Council (Cimi).

CIMI is an organ that deserves all the respect for its seriousness, is bound by the National Conference of Brazil’s Bishops (CNBB) which, in its missionary act, gave a new sense to the work of the Catholic Church with the indigenous people.

This important organization believes the Indians are sources of inspiration to the revision of meanings, the history, the orientations, and social, political and economic practices built to this day, and it’s exactly what bothers the rural elite of Mato Grosso do Sul and, why not, Brazil’s as well. The existence of an entity, supported by the Catholic Church, that aims in defending our indigenous brothers and their rights is unacceptable to the reactionaries that only think about profiting, and never building a more impartial Brazil, supported by equality and solidarity.

We’re sure the CPI mentioned is part of the rural attacks strategy against the indigenous people and their allies. In this respect, united, we request that the Legislative Assembly of Mato Grosso do Sul also open a Parliamentary Commission of Inquiry to investigate the genocide of indigenous peoples. As we mentioned above, in the last 12 years 390 were murdered in MS, and practically no one was punished.

We can’t stand the passivity of those in power, especially coronels’ counter orders. We’ll go to the streets, take the squares, we’ll shout for everyone to hear our voices, for we won’t cross our arms and watch our dear Mato Grosso do Sul’s land be stained by the blood of our innocent indigenous brothers and sisters.


Movimento dos Trabalhadores Rurais Sem Terra - MST

Central Única dos Trabalhadores - CUT

Confederação Nacional dos Trabalhadores em Educação - CNTE

Federação dos Trabalhadores em Educação de Mato Grosso do Sul - FETEMS

Coletivo Terra Vermelha

Movimento de Luta Camponesa pela Reforma Agrária - MCLRA

Federação dos Trabalhadores na Agricultura do Estado de MS - Fetagri

Centro Ecumênico de Estudos Bíblicos - CEBI

Rede Nacional de Advogadas e Advogados Populares - RENAP

Centro de Documentação e Apoio aos Movimentos Populares - CEDAMPO

Tribunal Popular da Terra - TPT

Partido Socialista dos Trabalhadores Unificado - PSTU

União da Juventude Comunista - UJC

Partido Comunista do Brasil - PCdoB

Conselho Terena

Movimento das Mulheres Camponesas - MMC

Centro de Defesa dos Direitos Humanos Marçal de Souza Tupã y - CDDH

Irmãs Catequistas Franciscanas

Sindicato dos Bancários de Campo Grande e Região

Sindicato dos Trabalhadores Públicos Federais em Saúde, Trabalho e Previdência Social - SINTSPREV/MS