Newsletter n. 223
INDIANS AND RURAL WORKERS DEMAND LAND REFORM AND THE END OF VIOLENCE IN RURAL AREAS
The National Women's Day for Land Reform and Against Violence in Rural Areas, August 12, was marked, in Brasilia, by audiences, demonstrations and a protest march at the Tres Poderes square. The day was organized by the National Movement of Female Rural Workers in remembrance of the murder of union leader Margarida Alves in the state of Paraiba 13 years ago. For this reason also, the Landless Movement (MST) chose that day to receive in Brasilia a monument designed by architect Oscar Niemeyer in honor of the 19 landless rural workers who were killed in Eldorado dos Carajas, in the state of Para (the monument is being shown in various Brazilian capitals on its way to the site of the massacre). In the protest march, which included the presence of two indigenous leaders, the Women's Movement issued a manifesto with six claims that was delivered to the ministries of Justice and Land Reform and to the UN office in Brazil.
The Indians and the female rural workers demand justice for the killers of rural workers, the revocation of Decree 1,775/96, the approval of the Bill for the Summary Expropriation of Land Areas for Land Reform Purposes and of another one which limits the issuance of preliminary orders for evictions and the approval of a bill transferring the judgment of crimes committed by the military from the Military Courts to the Courts of Law. They also demand the expropriation of land areas for settling 40,000 families.
The demonstration was attended by Hebe Bonafini and Marta Badillo, Mothers of the May Square of Argentina, Maninha Xucuru Kariri, representing Capoib, and Edna Marcal, daughter of Margal Tupay, who was murdered in the state of Mato Grosso do Sul; survivors of the massacres of Eldorado do Carajas and Corumbiara; representatives of the "Draught Widows"; Olinda Tavares, the mother of priest Josimo, who was killed ten years ago, and Mrs. Pureza Loyola, mother of Abel, who was rescued from a scheme of slave labor in the state of Maranhao. In the second part of the demonstration, the Landless Movement set up a permanent camp with Capoib's support to demand work, land and Land Reform.
CHAMBER OF DEPUTIES APPROVES SUMMARY EXPROPRIATION OF LAND AREAS FOR LAND REFORM PURPOSES, BUT DEPUTIES ELECTED BY FARMERS REACT
The Chamber of Deputies approved yesterday, by 343 votes against 13, a revised bill proposed by deputy Jose Luiz Clerot (PMDB-Paraiba) providing for the summary expropriation of land areas for land reform purposes. The revised text was based on bills originally proposed by deputy Jose Fritsch (PT-Santa Catarina) and by the Executive Branch. According to the approved text, the possession or ownership of land areas identified as of social interest for Land Reform purposes may be transferred to the Union. Today, this procedure may take years. The new procedure is expected to avoid conflicts such as the ones which led to the massacres of Corumbiara, in the state of Rondonia, and of Eldorado dos Carajas, in the state of Para. However, the bill may still be rejected in another voting session to be held next week.
The approval of the bill yesterday was possible thanks to an agreement between the government and deputies representing farmers, who in exchange for their favorable votes want the Chamber to approve a bill to amend the Land Law, so as to prevent the expropriation of areas invaded or occupied by landless rural workers. The amendments being proposed also provide for the possibility of declaring an area productive through judicial procedures one year from now, which cannot be done today.
Brasilia, 15 August 1996
Indianist Missionary Council - CIMI