3 Land Activists Murdered in Brazil's Northeast

[10/31/2005] Escalation of Violence Against Landless in Pernambuco

Since Thursday, October 27th, the state of Pernambuco has seen an extreme escalation of rural violence. In less than 4 days, 3 rural workers have been assassinated and a number of encamped families have been ambushed by hired gunmen.

After suffering constant harassment from local landowners in the region, Hamilton, a leader of the Movement for the Liberation of the Landless (MLST), was brutally murdered in the town of Itaíba, with 18 rounds in his chest.

The following day, around 10 armed gunmen encircled an MST encampment, in Altinho. The landless hid in the farm's headquarters, where shots were fired at them the entire morning. The encamped families made a call to the police, who arrived once the gunmen had already fled.

On Saturday the 29th, 43 families from Tacaimbó celebrated their receiving of land titles, land that they had occupied since the year 2000, ignoring numerous threats from local landowners. One encamped rural worker, Antonio José dos Santos, left the settlement to purchase cigarettes and was later found dead with 14 stab wounds and indications of both physical assault and torture.

The president of the Rural Workers Union of Taquaritinga do Norte, known as Luiz, was assassinated on Sunday the 30th, when 2 shots were fired into his home.

The National Institute for Colonization and Land Reform (INCRA) of Pernambuco is pushing for an in depth investigation with the Federal Police to solve these cases.

The original text of the above article can be found in its Portuguese form by visiting: http://www.mst.org.br/informativos/minforma/ultimas1281.htm

SEE Other News Sources Covering the Violence:

CNN News [10/31/2005] – “Group: Brazil land activists killed