Killers of Landless Leaders in Brazil Still at Large

On August 20, two leaders of the Landless Movement (MST) were assassinated (shot in the back) in the Brazilian northeastern state of Pernambuco. Josias de Barros Ferreira, 28 years old, and Samuel Matias Barbosa, 33 years old were killed at the Balança encampment in the city of Moreno.

The three suspected criminals (Cí­cero Soares de Melo da Conceição, Luiz Nanai  and a 16-year-old boy) who have allegedly assassinated Barbosa and Ferreira lived at the encampment and were viewed as infiltrators of local politicians by the inhabitants of the area. They tried to convince the families to leave the land.

Fifty-nine landless families have lived in Balança since 2000. In January of this year, Copergás business initiated negotiations for the families to leave so that they could build a gas pipeline. The landless movement said that the families would leave if they were settled in another encampment.

"We understand that Copergás wants to build this pipeline and we are willing to leave the land, but we cannot accept money. It is against the principles of our movement," explained Joba Alves, the Pernambuco state coordinator of the Landless Movement.

Ferreira and Barbosa were directing an assembly at the encampment. Melo was pressuring people to receive the indemnity money without a guarantee of a place to live or agrarian reform. A majority of the inhabitants voted to remain on the land and not accept the money.

On August 20, according to witnesses, Melo and Nanai ordered that the Landless Movement flag be removed from the encampment. Ferreira was then shot in the back and when Barbosa came to his aid, he, too, was assassinated. Even after shooting the victims, Melo and Nanai kicked, chopped, and mutilated the body of Barbosa before he died.

While the assassins who killed Barbosa and Ferreira are free, the police arrested Jaime Amorim, one of the national coordinators of the Landless Movement, when he was returning from the funeral of Barbosa in Itaquitanga, Pernambuco.

He was arrested for "bad behavior" at an anti-war march that took place in 2005. The mandate for his imprisonment was expedited by Judge Pereira Lafayette Neto with the allegation that Amorim does not have a fixed residence and his liberty represents a threat to public order.

Amorim does have a fixed residence in the city of Caruaru where he has lived for years with his family. (He was subsequently freed from prison on August 29).

According to Bishop Thomas Balduí­no, these sad episodes illustrate the criminalization of social movements by the Judicial System. The unequal distribution of land and wealth in the country is the principal cause of these conflicts.

www.mst.org.br

Tags:

You May Also Like

Brazilian Indians Take Over Indian Agency Office in Protest

A group of 23 Apolima-Arara from the Arara do Amônia indigenous land, located in ...

Carcass of a burned down bus in São Paulo, Brazil

Brazil: São Paulo, Bring In the Marines and Army, Navy and Air Force!

There is only one solution for this unfinished rebellion by São Paulo’s organized crime. ...

Lula Washes Hands on Cuban Dissident’s Death and Is Called Accomplice of Torture

Brazilian president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva denied on Wednesday, in Havana, that he ...

Brazil's former Agriculture Minister, Roberto Rodrigues

Brazil Betting Ethanol Will Change World’s Trade Relations

Brazil's agroenergy sector, especially ethanol, has recently attracted foreign investment of around US$ 1 ...

Decoration Made in Brazil Only for the Well- to-Do

At the Chacur store, which sells accessories for curtains in São Paulo, Brazil, details ...

Brazil Resigned to Corruption Image

Brazil’s Minister of the Federal Controller-General’s Office (CGU), Waldir Pires, declared, in a note ...

Brazilian Imports Grow 28%, Almost Double Exports Growth

The Brazilian Ministry of Development, Industry and Foreign Trade disclosed this Monday, September 3, ...

Brazil Allows Farmers to Use Non-Certified GM Soybean Seeds

Brazil’s federal government extended permission to use non-certified soybean seeds for the next growing ...

Biodiversity Depends Mainly on the World’s Rich, Says Brazil’s Lula

Brazilian President Luiz Inácio da Silva participated this Monday, March 27. in the opening ...

After New Scandal Brazil Is All Eyes at Polls at Election Eve

Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva has replaced his re-election campaign chief, Ricardo ...