World Social Forum: Eviction threat to Kaiowa Indians at Cerro Marangatu, Mato Grosso Do Sul, Brazil

Appeal to activists in Brazil and internationally

The statement below has been produced for distribution at the World Social Forum, Brazil highlighting a campaign organised by Joe Higgins, TD, Socialismo Revolucionario (CWI – Brazil) and the CWI against the recent threat to evict Kaiowa Indians from Cerro Marangatu. When Joe Higgins arrived in Brazil to visit this landless community, he immediately contacted the Irish Foreign Minister and he protested to the Brazilian embassy in Dublin. this pressure along with letters of protest to many Brazilian embassies internationally have obviously had an effect on the Lula administration. Representatives of the local authorities in Mato Grosso do Sul informed Joe Higgins that government officials in Brazilia have contacted them demanding information on the case.

Eviction threat to Kaiowa Indians at Cerro Marangatu, Mato Grosso Do Sul, Brazil

  • Demand lifting of Eviction Threat.
  • Demand that Lula signs the Ratification Decree (Decreto de Homologação) immediately.
  • Land for all landless people now.

Ninety families, comprising about 400 people from the Kaiowa Indians are facing a brutal eviction from their traditional lands at Cerro Marangatu, Mato Grosso do Sul, Brazil.

In 1988 these Kaiowa families occupied a 26-hectare area of their traditional land. In 1999 the Federal Government of Brazil sent a research group led by an anthropologist to carry out a survey. This group declared the lands in question as belonging to the Kaiowa.

In 2004 the Minister for Justice ordered the demarcation of the Kaiowa lands and demarcation posts were placed.

However, according to Brazilian law, the President of Brazil must sign a crucial Land Transfer Document(Decreto de Homologação). This has not been done so far.

Because the original plot of 26 hectares was completely insufficient for the 90 Indian families, they themselves were forced to move into part of their designated lands to sow crops for food.

The Indians have sown manioc, beans, potatoes and rice and bananas, managing with great sacrifice to get resources to buy the seeds. These crops are now growing.

Now, however, a federal judge in São Paulo has issued an order to the families to leave their lands and Federal Police could be used to evict them. This would mean the destruction of their crops. The Kaiowa are desperate. They have waited too long while their lands were colonised. They have nowhere to go. Many Kaiowa/ Guarani youth in despair at seeing no future have tragically committed suicide.

The families at Cerro Marangatu have decided to resist the eviction. They will stay on their land to defend their crops, their livelihoods and the lives of their children.

Last week,Joe Higgins, a member of Parliament in Ireland for the Socialist Party, visited Cerro Marangatu and spoke at a meeting of the Kaiowa community there. The Irish Socialist Party is a sister party to Socialismo Revolucionario in Brazil and a part of the Committee for a Workers International (CWI).

Joe Higgins sent a strong protest letter to the President of Brazil, Lula, and also demanded that the Irish Government and the Brazilian Ambassador in Dublin should express concern to the Brazilian Government. As a result, the Brazilian Minister for Foreign Affairs has sought intervention from the Special Secretary for Human Rights of the Presidency of Brazil.

Joe Higgins also had a meeting with the Vice Governor(acting Governor) of Mato Grosso do Sul, Senhor Egon Krakheche, a member of the Partido dos Trabalhadores,and put the indian demands to him.

Cerro Marangatu is one of hundreds of struggles for land in Brazil by both Indians and non Indians. A victory here would be a step forward for all.

Activists from Brazil and all over the world should pile on the pressure on the Government of Brazil to:

  • Lift the eviction threat on Cerro Marangatu;
  • For the President to immediately sign the Decreto de Homologação and to implement a full distribution of land to the landless.

Lula´s contact details:

Senhor Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva

Presidente da Republica

Praça dos Três Poderes,Palácio do Planalto

70150-900 Brasília/DF

Fax: 00 55 61 411 2222

Statement issued by Joe Higgins, TD (Socialist Party, Ireland), Socialismo Revolucionarion (Brazil), Committee for a Workers’ International

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January 2005