Denunciation of Situation in Goias

Wednesday, April 20, 2016
Info Source: 
MST web site

Goiânia, April 20. 2016.

The Landless Workers' Movement – MST – of Goiás State publicly denounces and repudiates the recent acts of criminalization of the struggle for agrarian reform promoted by sectors of the Public Ministry, the Judiciary and the Government of the State of Goiás.

At the time of commemoration of the 20th anniversary of the Eldorado dos Carajás Massacre (PA), and a week after the cowardly murder of two landless rural workers in Quedas do Iguaçu (PR), last Thursday (April 14), a police operation to arrest several MST activists was triggered by a judicial determination of the District of Santa Helena de Goiás (GO). The farmer Luiz Batista Borges, a member of the Father Josimo encampment, was arrested when he responded to a summons to provide information at the local police station. On the same day the police raided the house of the farmer Valdir Misnerovicz, a nationally and internationally known activist and advocate of agrarian reform and went to the Father Josimo encampment in search of farmers Diessyka Santana and Natalino de Jesus.

In a process carried out secretly in court, it is known that the formal claim for the prosecution is that the social activists form a criminal organization. The severity of such an accusation should concern not only those who struggle for agrarian reform in Goiás, but all the people who struggle in Brazil. It is a new level of political persecution, which occurs in the national context of a coup against democracy and against the popular forces.

In the past two years, the number of families in MST encampments in Goias increased from 600 to about 6,000 and it is against this reorganization of the struggle for land that the State is acting. The state's largest encampment was, until then, the Father Josimo Tavares encampment, located in Santa Helena de Goiás. This encampment is demanding the expropriation of the Santa Helena Mill, belonging to the Naoum Economic Group, which is already in recovery court with several labor debts and a huge debt to the Union. Despite these facts, the local judiciary is not seeking a peaceful resolution of the conflict. On the contrary, it rejected the process of the Treasury by which the Union could seize a portion of the large ranch to cover its debts, which it could then use for land reform.

The character of persecution and criminalization of popular movements is confirmed when we look at Ordinance n. 446 of April 12, 2016 of the Public Security Bureau of Goiás, which requires that the Civil Police and the State Military be in a state of "readiness", keeping its troops on alert for two months, restricting vacations, leaves and any other forms of absence for supposed "protection of public order and social peace" and "monitoring of possible crimes in urban and rural conflicts."

So we are alerting all the Brazilian people about this attempt to criminalize the struggle for agrarian reform and we are repudiating the advance of the police state in Goiás. In view of the illegalities and markedly political-ideological nature of the investigations and court proceedings we demand freedom for all those who are persecuted for their politics. Finally, we call upon the progressive social forces to react strongly against this attack on democracy and human rights. For our part, we reaffirm our commitment to stand firm in the fight against the big estates and any conservative forces, and thus contribute to building a society that is freer, with justice and solidarity.

Struggle, Build People's Agrarian Reform!

Landless Workers Movement – Goiás.