URGENT ACTION NEEDED: Letters Could Help to Stop Evictions in Para

Dear Friends,

At this time, the social movements in the field in the state of Pará are facing another round of massive evictions because of an alliance between the state governor, the Judiciary of Pará and the large estate owners who are trying to destabilize the encampments and the settlements and thus prevent land reform from being carried out.

We ask for your solidarity at this time. We suggest that you apply pressure by contacting the authorities listed below, requesting an immediate halt to the process of restoration of ownership and ask the governor to immediately withdraw the police battalion that is spreading terror throughout the region.

We hope that we can count on all of you to confront once again the criminal Government of Pará. We are including below a letter from Via Campesina about the current situation with the evictions.

Sr. SIMÃO JATENE , Cabinet of the State Government, Pará
E-mail: redacao@agenciapara.com.br

Dr. JOSÉ CARLOS LIMA DA COSTA , Casa Civil do Governo do Estado do Pará Rodovia Augusto Montenegro, Km 09 - Cep: 66823-010 - Belém - Pará
Tel: (91) 3214-5500/5572/5554 , Fax: (91) 3248-1575

Dr. MANOEL SANTINO NASCIMENTO JÚNIOR. Special Secretary for Social Defense
E-mail: sedes@prodepa.gov.br

Dr. LÿBIO ARAÚJO MOURA, Titular Judge of the Agrarian Court of the Jurisdiction of Marabá - PA
Fórum Juiz José Elias Monteiro Lopes,
Rua Transamazônica, s/n
Bairro Amapa - Marabá - PA CEP 68502-290
Tel.: (94)3323-5824

Dr. MILTON AUGUSTO DE BRITO NOBRE, President of the Pará State Court of Justice


"Cursed be all the fences that prevent men, women, and children from living, loving, and being happy"

Dom Pedro Casaldáliga

Via Campesina-Pará, along with other social movements in the countryside, legitimate defenders of land reform, of equality in the countryside and protection for biodiversity in the Amazon, states that farmers know that the history of modern Pará is a history of lawlessness and violence. The governor, responsible for the international shame of the massacre of Eldorado dos Carajás, never changed his stand in relation to the land conflicts in the state.

The land occupations, instrument of winning the right to food, land, and job creation, has been intensifying in the last few years, because of the indifference of ITERPA, of the state government, shared by INCRA and by the federal government equally.

Land Reform is the constitutional and ideal way to bring security to the diversity of the forest. In the history of Pará, the social movements were the only ones who truly succeeded in broadening agroecology and carrying out the redistribution of lands and jobs in the state.

The state however persists without any concern whatsoever to carry out land reform in lands that violate the Brazilian Constitution because they are unproductive and speculative and do not respect the environment and the labor laws. The judiciary in Pará, cooperating in this practice, shows its authoritarian and contradictory character. The Jatene government, for its part, is more concerned with the media- and technocrat-oriented economic-ecologic zoning, implemented in government offices and without any base in reality, than in really preventing the claim-jumpers and ranchers from continuing to devastate the forest region.

In case the will really exists to put a brake on the deforestation of the Amazon region or even to eradicate slave labor, we the rural worker of Para, defenders of biodiversity, have known how to do it for some time: it requires expropriating the lands on which we are camped, that are now in the hands of the large estate owners who even disguised with the new clothes of "developers of agribusiness", are the big slave holders and environmental criminals of the Amazon region.

However we are certain that in the last few days this has been newly confirmed: the interests of the Pará government are contrary to ending slavery and the devastation of the Amazon. With the macro zoning already approved, they intend to create openings to intensify the legalization of the latifúndio and of an agricultural model that will greatly impact the environment and society.

Governor Simão Jatene personally came to Marabá to be acclaimed by the ranchers of the region when the macro-zoning was launched, which will open the doors to agribusiness, ending land reform and excluding once and for all the small farmers and the forests that remain. According to the agreement made earlier with the ranchers, the governor left behind a battalion of 200 policemen from the capital, heavily armed, to begin the savagery with which the small farmers are always treated.

In the last few weeks, the police battalion, taking their orders to restore ownership from the Judge of Marabá, Líbio Araújo Moura, which had already been agreed to with the ranchers some time ago. Once the municipal elections had passed, they began the "service" of evicting the 28 camps in the region, where 10,000 families live, work, and produce their food. With their customary savageness, they promise to uproot the farm plots and the landless and once again restore the unproductive estates, according to what had been ordered by the judiciary.

However, we state for the Judiciary and for the state government that peace in the countryside does not have to be secured on the basis of violence and hunger. They tried this many times in the countryside of Para and the thousands of families who run the risk of losing their chance of survival will not hesitate to give their blood in order for the judges and governors to learn that human dignity and the right to life cannot be restricted only to the rich.

The blockading of the roads represents a cry of sorrow and of resistence and an indication to the owners of power that they will not succeed in removing us from the land and from history as they have always done. We ask society to understand that when they take away a father's right to feed his child, struggling to the end and using every means is the only natural and dignified reaction.

All we want is for Pará to accept the democratic state of law, obey the Constitution and preserve the principle of environmental function of land, expropriating the occupied areas. We will not accept slavery and the disrespect of agribusiness; we want dignity, food, and jobs that can come only from Land Reform. We demand, finally, the immediate suspension of evictions and of the police presence before we begin any dialog.

We will resist to the end. We are convinced that either we build a Pará and an Amazon region that respects the small farmers and the forest or it is better to die struggling for this utopia.

Marabá, June 8, 2005.

Translated by Friends of the MST volunteer Charlotte Casey