Featured image: Damania Cavanha, fighter of the Guarani-Kaiowá people. Source: AND
We publish an unofficial translation of the article of A Nova Democracia found here.
With deep sorrow we mourn the death of Damiana Cavanha, warrior of the Guarani-Kaiowá people, leader of the tekoha Apyka’i and great example to all fighters for her unbreakable persistence and unwavering combativeness. Mrs. Damiana, as she was known, died on November 7th at the age of 86 for reasons that are still unclear.
Damiana lived until her last day fighting for the demarcation of her lands, next to the BR-463. Born in 1939, she took over from her father the task of fighting to take back of her tekoha, when he was expelled by big landlords and their goons. She has led Apyka’i since 1990, living with her relatives in the middle of mono-crops and pesticides. In July 2016, almost 100 police officers from the PF, PM and PRF [Translator’s note: Federal Police, Military Police and Federal Highway Police], together with local paramilitary groups, were mobilized to evict the few families living in the land taken back. After this new expulsion, Damiana continued firmly on the surroundings of the tekoha, seeking to reorganize and saying she would fight there until the end – and so she did!
Over the years, Damiana has lost several family members, as victims of atrocities, poisoned or “mysteriously” murdered. Far from frightening Damiana, it only strengthened her warrior spirit to struggle even more decisively for her traditional territory. Overlapping the Apyka’i lands are farms leased to Usina São Fernando, which for a long time was managed by José Carlos Bumlai, a personal friend of Luiz Inácio. Usina, who received vast public resources during the PT governments, went bankrupt and is now in legal dispute, with a large part of the debt being forgiven. This is the face that the old Brazilian State presents to indigenous peoples: for some, lots of money and debt forgiveness; for others, all sorts of attacks and murders.
However, the death of Mrs. Damiana will not paralyze the Guarani-Kaiowá struggle to regain their territories. On the contrary, he only enriches it with his example. We believe that only by advancing in the Agrarian Revolution and Self-demarcation, taking all the land from the latifundium, the indigenous peoples’ inalienable right to their territory and to self-determination will be respected. When this happens, Damiana, your name will be in the pantheon of heroes of your people, honored as it should be!
Warrior Damiana: Present in the struggle!
Advance on the reconquering of land: Destroy the Latifundium!