Brazil: New Operations of War to Evict Several Peasant Areas in Rondônia

Featured Image: Popular Assembly of the Tiago Campin dos Santos and Ademar Ferreira Areas, October 2nd, 2021.

We publish an unofficial translation of the statement of the League of Poor Peasants found on the webpage Resistência Camponesa.

The old State started a new wave of reoccupation of land, starting with the Élcio Machado, Canaã and Tiago Campim dos Santos areas, where thousands of peasants have lived and worked for many years (in some cases for decades).

A commission of TJRO called “latifundium conflict commission” was set up with the participation of the judicial power, members of the Public Ministry, Human Rights Council, OAB, Guardianship Council, Incra, and other organs. Headed by judges Úrsula Gonçalves Theodoro de Faria Souza and another called Fabíola, this commission is going directly to several areas together with the police officers, in an attempt to identify people (to prosecute later), making false promises that they will guarantee land to those who are qualified in what they call an agrarian reform profile, and other nonsense. All with the aim of creating divisions among families and thus, weakening their resistance to the eviction operations that the police who murder the poor carries out.

All these people are already well-known to the peasants, they have already been in many cases of attacks and eviction operations against peasant areas, they have become aware of the countless crimes committed against the peasants, including the cowardly murders of honorable people (treated as bandits) committed by armed gangs of the latifundium and by the special murderous commands of the Military Police, and they did nothing. Even though they are aware of the countless crimes against poor peasants, the judicial power does nothing in favor of peasants, on the contrary, they maintain impunity for murderous police officers, land thieves and their armed gangs, while they seek in every way to repress and criminalize the peasant struggle.

The truth is that the judicial power has one objective, defending the interests of the rich and powerful ones while persecuting and condemning the poor people. All this talk that “everyone is equal before the law” is nothing more than nonsense, empty words. And it will not be now, suddenly, when the old State and its judicial power will change their essence as an instrument to guarantee the interests of the ruling classes, which in the case of Rondônia are the land robbers mainly.

It is common knowledge that in Rondônia the judicial power always acts with a double standard, complacent against the crimes of the latifundium, thieves of public land, and the old State, and on the other hand “rigorous” against the poor struggling for land. The “race record” of the judges who head this commission leaves no doubt that they have always acted against the interests of poor peasants. Let’s just look few examples.

When families in the Tiago dos Santos resisted the massive police operation in 2021, it was this same judge, Úrsula Theodoro, who did everything to delay the obligation to comply with the suspension of repossession determined by the STF and turned a blind eye to the police who maintained the illegal operation, until they murdered the companions Gedeon and Rafael. According to peasants in the region, this same judge is the land grabber of two lots of 800 alqueires [Translator’s note: A unit of measure. It is more than 1,900 hectares] on the Vilhena farm, from where hundreds of peasants were evicted a few years ago. In 2002, Úrsula ordered the arrest of poor peasants in the Lamarca area (in Theobroma), in a hearing she openly defended the interests of Jorge Chaparini, a landowner who claims to own the land and denied the peasants the right to express themselves, even through a lawyer.

In November 2019, judge Fabíola Sarkis ordered the Military Police to evict families from the Canaã area. She was also responsible for the imprisonment of the comrade Ruço for several years, unjustly accused of the death of a goon belonging to the latifundium bandit Antônio Martins, known as “Old Rooster”. The same judge also sentenced two peasants and a popular lawyer in 2006 for sayin the truth of the then commander the Military Police of Jaru, Ênedy Dias, guard dog of the large estate, leader of a paramilitary band that murdered several peasants and leaders, as well as poor young people on the outskirts of Ariquemes and Jaru.

This way of acting by the old State, now with Luiz Inácio as current manager, is nothing new. In their previous administrations, they applied the same policy of creating commissions, “Peace in the Countryside Commission”, “Agrarian Defense”, etc., to confuse and trick, giving false hope, distribute alms, while maintaining the agrarian situation unchanged and the invariable repression of poor peasants in struggle. At the time that the agrarian defense’s office operated, with the “latifundium’s defender” Mr. Gercino at its head, it was the same soap opera, they held public hearings where the agents of the old State pretended to listen to us, but their decisions had already been made. They did not hand over land, they did not regularize possessions, they did not prevent evictions, and the peasants were only given papers that were worthless. At that moment several leaders were murdered after identifying them in meetings that frequently had the presence of police officers, goons and the latifundium.

What they want to do now is the same opportunistic policy of confronting people against people, and thus making easier the repression. They want to do it like they did on the Santa Elina farm, where in 2011/12 they deceived families by saying that they had to leave the area for Incra to divide the land (but the land had already been divided and handed over by LCP). The families believed in the good faith, and what happened is that the families suffered a lot of losses, they changed all the divisions that have already carried out, leaving many lots dry, without roads, etc., and many families who already lived and produced there were expelled under allegations of not having an “agrarian reform profile” and in their place they put many flattering people and sponsored politicians of the Partido dos Trabalhadores. In addition, the families today “settled” in this area do not have the title to the land, only the “concession of use”, that is, they depend on the bureaucracy of Inca and can be expelled in any moment, under any justification, thing that happened to some families.

Or as they are doing now in the Gonzalo area, an area where families took the land in possession and produced in them for almost two decades ago, and now the government has returned to distributing basic food. Now, no one needs these alms, what they want is the right to the land and the regularization of their possessions, which if only adverse possession is considered belongs to the families by right!

Or as they are doing in some other areas, where the “brilliant solution” given by the judiciary is to force families to pay the landowner for the land on which they live and work. In other words, paying the land thieves for what already belongs to us!

Only the Agrarian Revolution guarantees land for the poor people of the countryside!
We will not leave our lands!

We all know that the government’s agrarian reform has been bankrupt for some time! Only those who struggle guarantee the land! Government in, government out, whether it’s Bolsonaro, Dilma or Luiz Inácio, all that the old State has offered us all these years are alms, false promises, and repression.

We will not be fooled again! In all the areas where this commission of deception, called the “land conflict commission” the general opinion of the families has been one: we will not leave our lands! They are watered with our sweat and the blood of several cowardly murdered peasants and leaders such as comrades Gedeon, Rafael, Amarildo, Amaral, Kevin, Esticado, Mandruvá, Élcio, Gilson and many others.

If they try to remove us from our lands, we will resist in every way possible! The roles can be reversed!

Out from our areas, murderous military police, dogs of the landowners!
Punishment for those who ordered and carried out the peasant massacres!
Enough of the nonsense and handouts! We will not leave our lands!
Regularization and titling of land held by peasants now!
Death to the latifundium! Land for those who work on it!

LCP – League of Poor Peasants of Rondônia and Western Amazon

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