At least 38 people were murdered in Brazil in 2005 as a result of rural conflicts, and 64 deaths, due to miscarriage, inanition (loss of vitality from lack of food and water), overwork, and absence of government policies, can in some way be attributed to these conflicts.
In 2004 there were 39 murders and 31 conflict-related deaths.
These figures appear in the book, Conflicts in the Countryside – Brazil 2005, which was launched this Tuesday, April 18, by the Land Pastoral Commission (CPT) at a ceremony in the headquarters of the Brazilian National Bishops’ Council (CNBB).
In this edition the CPT refers to the execution of the US-born missionary, Dorothy Stang, in the northern Brazilian state of Pará; the hunger strike undertaken by Don Luiz Cappio, the bishop of Barra, in the northeastern state of Bahia, in protest against the transposition of waters from the São Francisco River basin; and the death of the environmental activist, Francisco Anselmo de Barros, who turned himself into a human torch in defense of the Pantanal. Mention is also made of the Eldorado dos Carajás massacre, in April, 1996, when 19 landless rural workers were murdered.
During the first quarter of this year, the Land Pastoral Commission (CPT) registered three murders in rural areas, against 13 in the same period of last year. CPT National Secretary, Antonio Canuto, considers the current situation "much better."
Canuto spoke during the launching of Conflicts. He said that, during the same period, the number of persons participating in land occupations went up.
"Last year, there were 10,000 people in the occupations, and this year, there are already 16,000. This means that people are still fighting for land reform and are using the tools they have. Occupation is the only way they have to make themselves heard."