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Rio dos Macacos Quilombo resists agreement preventing access to water

On Tuesday 13th June, a discussion was held, but no agreement was made to benefit the quilombola community of Rio dos Macacos – located in the same area as the Naval Village in Simões Filho. Representatives from a range of government institutions participated in the meeting to discuss the Navy’s proposal to remove quilombola rights.

The agreement proposes that the community only have access to water until public works are established; these include the construction of brick houses and income-promotion activities, such as the installation of a flour mill and a fruit pulp processor. These activities would be funded by the Department for the Promotion of Equality of the State of Bahia (Secretaria de Promoção da Igualdade do Estado da Bahia: SEPROMI-BA).

Immediately after the installation of these public works in the territory, the Navy will construct a large wall to prevent residents accessing water from the Rio dos Macacos dam and other regions in the area. The community does not agree to this exclusion from access to the river, where they fish and collect water to survive, “since no one can survive without access to water,” as local leaders say.

SEPROMI guarantees that R$ 8 million will be made available for these improvements, but this will only be released once the land entitlement process is completed – currently underway at the National Institute of Colonization and Agrarian Reform (Instituto Nacional de Colonização e Reforma Agrária: INCRA). Another problem is the lack of sufficient time to release the funds this year, while, according to SEPROMI, there is no guarantee that they will be available next year.

“The government is obliged to guarantee our rights. I only ask you to do your work. We will die if you take us away from our territory. The courts cannot tell me, nor my family, how I should live,” community leader Rosemeire dos Santos, better known as Rose, said to those present.

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