Evictions, murders and paralyzed land reform mark Bolsonaro government’s first year

29 murders until December 2019 in conflicts in the countryside, according to partial data from the Pastoral Land
Commission (CPT). Constant evictions have become reality once again in the Brazilian countryside, and even
with 66 land reform settlement projects ready to be carried out in various regions of the country, the Bolsonaro
government has not settled any families in these locations.

A report by the newspaper Folha de São Paulo showed that these 66 settlement projects correspond to 111,426
hectares for land reform in various regions of the country and would have the capacity to house 3,862 families.
The area is equivalent in size to the municipality of Rio de Janeiro.

Through a press office, the National Institute of Colonization and Agrarian Reform (Incra) told the newspaper that
“due to budgetary constraints in the year 2019, it was not possible to advance in the process of selection and
ratification of families in settlements created by the municipality,” but that the program would be resumed in 2020.
The modernization of the Agrarian Reform Project Information System (Sipra) was paralyzed by lack of money to
hire a software company, which “represented a disruption in system improvement deals.” About this issue, Incra
said that the update of the tool is “at a very advanced stage.”

According to the report, in the last 25 years the average of the number of settlers is 54 thousand families per
year, including 2019. The Bolsonaro government (without taking sides) has promised to distribute 600,000 land
titles in four years. However, the reality in the Brazilian countryside has shown us the opposite of this.

Amazon remains focus of killings in the countryside
According to partial data recorded by the CPT, there were 29 murders in conflicts in the countryside between
January and December 2019. 25 of them were in the Legal Amazon, 86% of the total. Pará, by far, leads the
ranking with 12 murders, followed by Amazonas, with 5, and Mato Grosso and Maranhão, both with 3. Rural
workers, landless and settled, among others, account for 21 on this path of death, which corresponds to 72% of
deaths. 8 indigenous people have been murdered so far, of these, 7 were leaders. That was the highest killings of
indigenous leaders in the last 11 years, according to CPT data. In addition to the deaths, the fire licks the forest in
the heart of the capital over new areas for expansion.

2019 was also the year we reached the milestone of 50 massacres countryside in Brazil since 1985. In these
cases, 247 people were killed in ten Brazilian states. According to its methodology, Pastoral da Terra recognizes
as “massacre” cases in which a number equal to or greater than three people were killed at the same time. In this
type of crime, the state of Pará is also by far in the lead with 29 massacres, followed by Rondônia, with 7, and
Minas Gerais, with 4.

The latest cases of massacre occurred this year in the municipality of Baião, Pará. On March 22, in the Salvador
Allende Settlement, the leadership of the Movement of Dam-Affected People (MAB), Dilma Ferreira Silva, her
husband, Claudionor Amaro Costa da Silva, and an acquaintance of the couple, Milton Lopes, were found dead
at the entrance to the residence, which functioned as a market. Two days later, three charred bodies were found
on a farm located near the vicinity of Martins. The farm is 14 kilometers from the settlement, where the first
massacre took place. The victims were Marlete da Silva Oliveira and Raimundo de Jesus Ferreira, farm
caretakers, and Venilson Da Silva Santos, the estate’s tractor driver.

Evictions keep in the violence high in the countryside
As regards territories, the Bolsonaro government’s onslaught against communities, camps, settlements and
traditional territories has increased considerably. In the state of Paraná, according to the Landless Rural Workers
Movement (MST), in just over six months, nine evictions were carried out, leaving more than 450 families
homeless and unsupported.

In Bahia, on November 25, 700 families were in the hands of the Military Police and the Federal Police, who used
gas bombs, pepper spray, destroyed the houses and injured the workers of the Abril Vermelho camps, at the
Salitre Project, in Juazeiro, Sr. Dorothy and Iranir de Souza, in the Nilo Coelho Project, in Casa Nova (BA). The
violent evictions carried out by the Federal Police carried out repossession orders in favor of the São Francisco
and Parnaíba Valleys Development Company (Codevasf).

On October 31, about 80 families from Camp Beleza, in the municipality of Aliança, Pernambuco, were evicted by
riot police, bailiffs and the fire brigade. The action destroyed all the planting of workers, as well as their homes.
The families occupied Engenho Beleza, unproductive, in 2015. The area was part of the Cruangi Plant. Since the
beginning of the occupation, families have made the area productive, planting corn, beans, cassava, yam and
vegetables, all in an agroecological way, in addition to building masonry houses.

Also in October, on the 23rd, at the Redemption Forum, in Pará, the 2nd Public Hearing of evictions was held,
referring to the Possession Reintegration Action of Fazenda Santa Lúcia, Pau D’Arco (PA), where 200 families
have liveed since 2013. At the scene, in May 2017, a Massacre killed one female worker and nine rural workers.
In this 2nd Hearing, the Chief Judge of the Agrarian Redemption Court, Dr. Haroldo Silva da Fonseca, upheld the
decision to evict the families. This eviction should take place from January 27 to 31, 2020, by the PM Special
Mission Command, if families do not vacate the property peacefully.

On August 12, part of the Community of Cajueiro in the rural São Luís, Maranhão, was evicted. Families had
occupied the area for several generations. 21 houses were broken down, without due formal notification in
compliance with the decision of the State of Maranhão Public Security Bureau to those injured, at least 48 hours
in advance, which should include the exact date and time when the eviction would be performed. There was also
no preparatory meeting with the Community for the removal of their belongings, which would avoid witnessed
conflicts. Nor was there prior notification of the relevant bodies and entities, such as the Public Prosecution
Service, Incra, Incra Regional Agrarian Ombudsman, State Agrarian Ombudsman, Public Security System
Ombudsman, Human Rights Commissions, City Hall, City Council, Brazilian Bar Association, Agrarian Police
Station, Public Defender, Guardianship Council and other entities involved with the agrarian/land issue.

Also during a peaceful demonstration by the Community of Cajueiro families and supporters at the door of the
Palace of Lions, headquarters of the state government of Maranhão, a large police force from the Flávio Dino
government’s Shock Battalion (PCdoB) fired gas bombs at people, violently and arbitrarily.

These are some examples of the hundreds of threats and violence against peasant territories in 2019. And 2020
still has no better picture.

Text by Cristiane Passos – Communication Sector of the CPT National Secretariat.
Image: Ana Mendes | Graphics: CPT Communication Sector

Translation: Friends of the MST