Brazilian Daniel Soares da Costa Silva, a union leader member of the Rural Workers Union of Parauapebas (southeast of Pará, and 450 kilometers from capital city Belém) was murdered this morning driving his motocycle while going to the Carajás settlement, which belongs to Incra (National Institute of Colonization and Agrarian Reform.
His body was taken to the Coroner’s office, the Legal Medical Institute (IML) of Marabá, where an autopsy will be made. According to the Pastoral Land Commission in Pará, an organ from the Catholic Church, a group of gunmen waited for Soares close to the settlement.
It is the second murder of a popular leader and the third one linked to rural workers in less than four days inside Pará state. Saturday, February 12, the American missionary naturalized Brazilian, Dorothy Stang, was murdered in the town of Anapu.
She was shot six times. The first shot, in the nape, caused instantaneous death. Another five bullets were shot. Three of them hit the nun in the back an other two in the front.
The crime happened when Stang went to a meeting to organize efforts to build a community room in the settlement Esperança (Hope) located 45 kilometers from Anapu, the city in which the nun lived for 27 years.
Adalberto Xavier Leal, a worker, also was murdered last Sunday in Anapu. Leal worked for farmer Vitalmiro Bastos de Moura, suspect of being the instigator of missionary Dorothy Stang’s murder.
Data from Greenpeace’s report “Pará: State of Conflict” show that Pará state presents the largest number of murders linked to the dispute of lands in Brazil.
According to the report, from 1985 to 2001, close to 40% of the 1.237 deaths of rural workers in Brazil were registered in Pará.
For state coordinator of the CPT, Jax Pinto, this kind of crime will only end when the federal government starts to act forcefully, mainly in the border areas.