By Mário Manzi
From the CPT
After two years of virtual presentation, the launch of the annual publication “Conflicts in the Brazilian Countryside”, by the Pastoral Committee on the Land (CPT), was carried out in person on Monday, April 18, at the headquarters of the National Conference of Bishops of Brazil (CNBB) in Brasilia. The publication, with data about the year 2021 and 14 analytical articles about conflict in the countryside, was presented at the press conference.
Participating in the launch panel: the President of CPT, Dom José Ionilton; Andréia Silvério, from the national executive coordination of the CPT; Guilherme Delgado, from the Brazilian Agrarian Reform Association (ABRA); Dom Joel Amado, Secretary-General of the National Conference of Bishops of Brazil (CNBB); Geovane da Silva Santos, the father of the boy Jonatas, shot to death on February 10 in the zone of the Mata de Pernambuco; Jaque Kuña Aranduhá, Indigenous Guarani-Kaiwá from Mato Grosso do Sul; Antônio Eduardo de Oliveira, Executive Secretary of CIMI; and Tales dos Santos Pinto, Coordinator of the Dom Tomás Balduino Documentation Center (CEDOC-CPT).
The movement of landless rural workers (MST) welcomed the panelists with the song “Not to say that I did not speak of flowers” by Geraldo Vandré. Opening the meeting, Dom Joel Amado, Secretary General of the CNBB spoke of the historical importance of the data released by the CPT: “Like the land, truth is a condition of democracy. A country that fears the truth, cannot be called a democracy. A people will be becoming mature, when, among other aspects, they commit to social justice in relation to land and also commit to truth. “
President of the CPT Dom José Ionilton recalled that “The CPT acts in a pastoral way with peasants in the quest for the common good, which is so many times threatened by wild capitalism, agribusiness, miners, timber, by illegal mining. The data about rural conflicts in 2021 is impressive. How many deaths, how many threats, how many unjust judicial evictions, how many people and families who have suffered violence.”
Coordinator of the CEDOC-CPT, Tales dos Santos Pinto presented some of the key conflict data in 2021, as well as cases experienced by traditional communities that exemplified violence in the countryside. In the last year there was an increase of 75% in the number of murders in rural conflicts in Brazil. The number of deaths because of conflicts recorded an increase of 1,100%.
See the data HERE.
Commenting on the data, then Guilherme Delgado, director of ABRA, qualified the importance of publishing the report as a counterweight in the context of the conflicts. “When illuminating with detailed information, in a certain way you hold back the oppressor, constraining those who are accused in the report. This is the primary role of the CPT report.”
Indigenous Guarani Kaiwá, Jaque Kuña Aranduhá has exposed the situation of religious intolerance that especially the communities of Mato Grosso do Sul suffer from, as well as situations of conflicts experienced by women. “You must believe in the voice of indigenous women, because they are voices that are being criminalized. We have denounced cases of religious intolerance. In the last two years, we have exposed 16 cases in which houses of prayer were set on fire. Boats have not stopped arriving in our territories and have affected us violently.”
Farmer and father of the boy Jonatas, shot to death at the age of nine in the southern forest of Pernambuco in April this year, Geovane da Silva, recalled the death of his son and made it evident that agrarian tension that extended for decades in the region. “We live in an area that is full of conflicts; it has happened a lot on our property, but we continue resisting, along with the 77 families that are there. To the point that they murdered my son. Several cattle breeding conflicts are spreading around us, but we continue to resist, asking the authorities to stop the conflict. Nothing was done”.
Executive Secretary of CIMI, Eduardo de Oliveira pointed out that “the current government systematically pits people against people and cons the indigenous peoples. It has increased the violence of the state through the performance of the Military Police. We had the murder of four Chiquitan indigenous people within its territory. We had the murder of Ari Tembé, within his territory. Armed militias with state connivance are active in Yanomami and Munduruku territory.”
Commenting on the speakers, Andréia Silvério, from the executive coordination of the CPT, raised the concern about the proposals of the National Congress and also the performance of the executive and legislative powers. “There is evident concern about bills that are trampled in the National Congress and also with the actions of the Executive Branch and, to some extent, the confidence of the Judiciary with the cases of violence in the Brazilian countryside.”
The press conference was transmitted on the National CPT channels on Facebook and Youtube. The audio of the press conference was also available on Twitter Spaces and can be heard HERE.
*Edited by Fernanda Alcântara