BRAZIL - Leading peasants murdered by paramilitary band
December 16, 2018
On 8th of December a leading and a militant peasant of the Landless Peasant's Movement (MST) were murdered by a paramilitary group in the José Maria Pires camp in Mara Redonda, Paraíba.
The murdered peasants, José Bernando da Silva and Rodrigo Celestino, were coordinators of the camp, which was erected in July of 2017 on the great estate of Guarapu in Alhandra, Paraíba. The camp had been found completely desolated and unproductive and was turned productive by the now 450 families living on it. Now that the land is giving produce and the people, who work this land, are reaping the produce, the great estate owners, Grupo Santa Tereza, are claiming the land as theirs.
The paramilitary group consisting of two masked men invaded the camp in the evening and went straight for the house were da Silva and Celestino were staying. When they arrived at the scene, they started shooting round after round. Testimonies say a car was used to escape the crime scene.
MST has issued a statement repudiating this heinous crime and demanding for justice. They made themselves clear: It's not a crime to struggle!
The delegate of the old state, Lidia Veloso, currently investigating the case has stated that this land is "invaded land" and that the murders were not "a bar brawl". In other words she's saying that there was a reason behind these attacks and furthermore, that these attacks were justified. In her eyes it's justified to fight off people occupying land. Completely ignoring the fact that these people worked hard to make something out of the land. The large estate owners didn't even make use of it or need it until they noticed there was produce to steal and people to exploit. Without lifting a finger the Grupo Santa Tereza is trying to rob about 1000 people living on the estate of their homes and produce and making use of paid killers to do the dirty work!
If the struggle of the poor and landless peasants have shown anything, is that no matter how many times they try to run them over, just more people will run to their cause! Their struggle is not a crime, their struggle is justified!
Justice for José Bernando da Silva and Rodrigo Celestino!
Support the struggling peasants of the José Maria Pires camp!
Support the poor and landless peasants movement in Brazil!