MST and Allies of the Triangulo Launch a Campaign for Justice for Felisburgo
Last Saturday, February 15, 2013, about 100 of the workers of the MST and supporters of the Agrarian Reform, held an action to launch the Campaign for Justice for Felisburgo in the Settlement Emiliano Zapata, in Uberlândia, Triangulo Mineiro[i].
The campaign demands the conviction of the confessed plantation owner Adriano Chafik Luedyna, responsible for the Massacre of Felisburgo and for the seventeen gunmen who participated in the crime, apart from (1) the immediate expropriation, for purposes of agrarian reform, of the Nova Alegria plantation, where the massacre occurred, (2) compensation and redress for the victims, (3) ending violence against rural workers and (4) the implementation of land reform.
The launch took place during a meeting attended by more than 30 allies and friends of the struggle for land and agrarian reform, representing about fifteen organizations and entities of Triangulo Mineiro, in the Settlement Emiliano Zapata. Guests attended a theatrical performance that retold the suffering of victims of Felisburgo and a video - Justice for Felisburgo: 8 Years of Impunity, about the massacre. Then there was a discussion about violence on the countryside and Agrarian Reform, and socializing with barbecue.
According to a member of the national coordination of the MST of Minas Gerais, Vânia de Oliveira, the meeting was an important opportunity for dialogue and fellowship among the rural and urban workers, in relation to the debate and support for agrarian reform. With an alliance with a working class character, in so far as other segments of society are included in the Campaign for Justice for Felisburgo and start to demand punishment against landowners who kill workers in the state.
"It is crucial that other organizations act together for punishment of the killers of rural workers and an end to violence by the plantations in the countryside. Additionally, the partnership between the movements and workers’ organizations contributes to the defense of popular agrarian reform, land democratization and a change social structure," he explains.
The conviction of this landlord, confessed defendant of the Felisburgo Massacre, Adriano Chafik, is urgent in order to prevent of new massacres in the region. The Massacre demonstrates the continued violence of the plantation against rural workers in the countryside, due to the non-implementation of land reform by the federal government, that ensures decent conditions of life and work for rural workers.
In November last year, the Felisburgo Massacre marked eight years of impunity. The trial of landowner Chafik, the confessed mastermind of the Felisburgo Massacre should have occurred in January this year in Belo Horizonte, but was postponed and has not yet been rescheduled.
On November 20, 2004, Chafik and another seventeen armed gunmen invaded the Terra Prometida encampment in Felisburgo, Minas Gerais, murdering rural workers Iraguiar Ferreira da Silva, José Miguel dos Santos, Joaquim José dos Santos, Jorge da Silva and Juvenal Francisco Ferreira do Nascimento, the latter with 73 years of age. Twelve other workers were injured; among them was a child of only 12 years, who was shot in the eye.
Present at the meeting, were representatives of the Agrarian Revolution Forum of Triangulo Mineiro, Popular Movement for Agrarian Reform (MPRA), Movement of Struggle for Land and Housing (MLTM), Central of Popular Movements (CMP), Movement to Family Struggle of São José dos Cravos, Popular Youth Uprising, Socialism and Freedom Party (PSOL), Unified Socialist Workers Party (PSTU-Conlutas), Federal University of Uberlândia (Pro-rector of Extension, Culture and Student Affairs-PROEX, Center for the Incubation of Popular Solidarity Ventures -CIEPS, students), Federal University of Triangulo Mineiro - Uberaba, Municipality of Uberlândia and the Regional Board of Psychology.
[i] Triangulo Mineiro refers to a region in the western part of the state of Minas Gerais, a triangular area defined by the confluence of rivers. It is a rich agricultural area.