Massacre’s Lesson: Brazil’s Landless Are Not Police Matter

Flávio Botelho, a Brazilian professor in the nucleus of agrarian studies at Brazil’s University of BrasÀ­lia, said that the most important lesson to be learned from the Eldorado dos Carajás, Pará state, massacre is that the government should treat movements of the excluded as a social rather than a police issue.

"The government and society should treat the protagonists and movements of people who are excluded from society with a non-police approach. They are actors struggling to survive in society, and, since they were not organized before, they were frequently dealt with simply as a matter for the police. A social problem was handled through a police approach," he said in an interview for Radio Nacional.

The professor emphasized that if attitudes do not change, new conflicts are unavoidable. "It is inevitable that in a society such as ours, where people are obliged to fight in various ways to survive, you have violent confrontations," he commented.

"I believe that violence is inevitable in Brazil to the extent you want to decrease social inequality, because it is impossible to decrease social inequality without the people who find themselves in an unfavorable situation struggling to overcome their problems, become subjects, and gain the status of political actors in our society," he went on to say.

April 17 marked the tenth anniversary of the Eldorado dos Carajás Massacre, in which 19 landless workers were killed and 69 wounded in a confrontation with the Military Police.

Agência Brasil

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