Indigenous leader is beaten and murdered by landowners in southern Bahia
Against the armed gangs of the latifundium: the right to armed self-defense of Indigenous Peoples, Peasants and Quilombolas!
Armed bandits called the “zero invasion movement” made up of landowners, gunmen and police advance in Bahia with coverage from the PM [Military Police]. On January 21st, indigenous Maria de Fátima Muniz, known as Nega Pataxó, shaman of the Pataxó Hã-Hã-Hãe people, was shot dead in the Caramuru Catarina Paraguassu Indigenous Land and chief Nailton Muniz was seriously injured by gunshots, as were others indigenous people during an attack by the infamous paramilitary group.
Furthermore, the gang of more than 200 landowners who organized themselves and prepared the attack, set fire to 2 cars and other belongings of the indigenous people. A young Pataxó who resisted the cowardly attack was absurdly taken into custody by the military police, the same ones who covered that criminal and cowardly action, as the videos prove.
The armed gangs of the latifundium operate from within the old Brazilian State
Bahia has the second largest indigenous population in Brazil, more than 90% of whom live outside their territories, making it the state that has one of the highest concentrations of land ownership in Brazil. In the country, there is practically no demarcation of indigenous lands and quilombola territories and no Agrarian Reform policy, and the government claims that it does not have the resources for it. Meanwhile, 364 billion was released in 2023 for the agribusiness harvest plan.
The extreme right-wing landowners that were institutionalized in this old State, organized, armed and strengthened during the Bolsonaro government continue to act freely and encouraged by the government’s cowardice, particularly in Bahia. The approval of the Marco Temporal [law] represents a blow to the original peoples and further encourages these attacks. In December 2023, the Pataxó chief, Lucas Kariri Sapuyá, aged 31, was shot dead in an ambush in the same indigenous territory. In August last year, quilombola leader Mãe Bernadete Pacifico was murdered with 14 shots to the head.
Throughout the country, there are hundreds of attacks against indigenous peoples, peasants and quilombolas and their leaders and, as in the recent case, the police often act to provide cover for armed gangs of the latifundium, threatening, intimidating and disarming communities. Furthermore, there are several reports of police acting directly in these heavily armed paramilitary gangs, together with gunmen, through private security companies that arm, train, finance and command extermination groups, like the one that murdered Mariele Franco.
The governor of Bahia Jeronimo Rodrigues has now announced the creation of a PM company to “mediate” agrarian conflicts in the State. You see, the police kill the most poor favela residents and black people in Brazil; the police who turned their backs, pretending not to see the gang of landowners armed to the teeth announcing that they were going to attack the Pataxós; Now you will have the task of “mediating” agrarian conflicts! No. This is definitely not what peasants, quilombolas and indigenous people in Bahia need to live and work in peace on their lands.
Chief Nega Pataxó: Present in the Struggle!
Long live the recovery and self-demarcation of indigenous lands!
The Mãe Bernadete Camp resists
The Mãe Bernadete Camp in Carinhanha, formed by occupants who live on land abandoned by Calsete for over 20 years, has been resisting and denouncing the actions of these gangs of criminals involving gunmen, police officers, loggers, farmers, businessmen and even a lawyer (who would have received as a promise of payment a part of the confiscated land, where families live) who shamelessly uses his influence with the judiciary in the city and family relationships to intimidate and threaten the families and makes a point of ridiculously placing himself at the head of eviction operations, including cutting wires.
From January last year until this year, the local court judge has already issued 3 repossession orders against the families and carried out two police eviction operations, in conjunction with gunmen. The families returned and reaffirmed their conviction that the lands of Lagoa dos Portácios, which are embargoed due to Calsete’s environmental crimes, belong to the peasants, that if they are taken away a thousand times, they will return a thousand times because that is where they were born, grew up and have always lived!
Calsete, through its manager Lineu Fernandes, directly commands an operations base built along BR 030 [highway] after the land seizure, spends loads of money trying to recruit people in the city and region, falsely to be property guards, but they soon discover that they are actually being hired to be gunmen. Many poor people do not accept serving as cannon fodder and immediately dismiss the cowardly undertaking, others are risking their necks for rich people who don’t care about the lives of the people. And there are those who think they have influential contacts to protect them, scum, who have always exploited and trampled on the people’s necks to accumulate goods, serving the old colonels.
We repudiate yet another ongoing campaign to try to intimidate and criminalize occupant families. Several peasants are being summoned to give testimony at the city police station, accused of committing crimes, being pressured and threatened in an attempt to criminalize and individualize a collective cause. When in fact the crimes are committed by Calsete and its agents.
If you attack, remember, you can be attacked too
What all true democrats can understand by taking the history of our country and the struggle of our people against the secular violence of the latifundium is that more than ever, indigenous people, quilombolas and peasants, in the fight for their rights, in the defense of their leaders, their families and relatives, their sacred lands and territories, and their right to live in peace, must apply their legitimate right to self-defense, which can only be guaranteed by the struggling, organized and united people themselves.
There is no other way for the people to face the reactionary offensive that promotes massacres in the favelas of the cities and in the countryside leads to greater violence against indigenous people, quilombolas and peasants, greater criminalization of the struggle for land, more evictions, no agrarian reform, zero demarcations, greater coverage and impunity for latifundium crimes.
The response must be to take all the latifundium’s lands, greater organization and preparation to respond appropriately to attacks and stop the latifundium’s crimes. This is the path of the Agrarian Revolution, which will deliver land to all the poor of the countryside!
Long live the Agrarian Revolution!
Long live Camp Mãe Bernadete!
Palestine Resists! Palestine Will Triumph!
League of Poor Peasants of the North of Minas and South of Bahia