Brazil’s Landless Back to Highway Where They Were Massacred 10 Years Ago

On April 17, 1996, a confrontation occurred in Eldorado dos Carajás, in the southern part of the state of Pará, between members of Brazil’s Landless Rural Worker Movement (MST) and the Brazilian Military Police. The conflict that ensued left 19 rural workers dead and 69 injured.

The conflict began when the police decided to remove the MST members who were camped on the PA-150 state highway, which links the capital, Belém, to the southern part of the state.

There were 1,500 landless rural workers camped on the roadside protesting the delay in the demarcation of land for land reform.

MST Is Back

"Hello, listeners, here we are in Eldorado dos Carajás. You are listening to the Young Rural Worker Resistance Radio (Rádio Resistência Jovem Camponesa)", says the announcer, Ronaldo Terra, who is a youth member of the Landless Rural Worker Movement (MST).

The radio station is part of the infrastructure of an MST group camped out on Pará state highway PA-150, exactly on the famous "S" curve where the Carajás massacre took place exactly ten years ago.

The camp was set up at the beginning of April to mark the anniversary of the massacre, when 19 rural workers were killed and 69 others wounded, on April 17, 1996.

Since then the date has become the MST’s World Day for Land Reform. The camp consists of 19 "houses," each in memory of a dead MST member. There is also, nearby, a Landless Worker Massacre Memorial where 19 tree trunks each have plaques with the name of one of the fallen.

The Young Rural Worker Resistance Radio is on the air every day. "Well, actually, it is on whenever we have diesel fuel to run the generator," explains the announcer, Terra.

He says the radio seeks to "demystify" the wrong impressions many people, especially the press, have of the MST. It also orients MST members, especially young ones, he says.

ABr

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