Human Rights Secretary of PE Visits MST Encampment in Altinho
Representatives of the State Secretariat for Human Rights, the State Program for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders and the Ombudsman of the Department of Social Defense visited, on Tuesday (July 3, 2012), the Gregório Bezerra encampment in the city of Altinho, rural Pernambuco (PE).
The visit had as its main objective to present the results of several investigations open to punish acts of violence.
The camp has been the scene of systematic violence by gunmen hired by landowners of the farm Serro Azul, owned by Luis Reis, since April last year. Since the beginning of this year, the landowner has become even more violent and verbal threats and intimidation came to blows.
On March 22, Reiss beat Eraldo Alves da Silva, known as Seu Antonio, a landless workers in the encampment, while he was kept under the barrel of a gun, accompanied by two gunmen.
The next morning he opened fire on the families in the encampment, hitting two women and a teenager. On June 29, around 9:00 PM, Reis, accompanied once again by his gunmen, one member of the Military Police of Pernambuco, shot once more against the shacks where the landless families slept, among them several children. There were more than 10 rounds of pistol and 12 rounds of rifle shot. The marks of violence perforated the shacks.
Given this situation of continuing violence, the families of the camp Gregório Bezerra were admitted into the state program for the protection of human rights defenders, the State Department of Human Rights.
There will be presented results of investigations related to open proceedings against police officers and armed militia of the farmer, three investigations opened against Mr. Luis Reis: the beating of rural workers Eraldo Alves da Silva; the two shots that hit the encampment and a teenager on March 22; the threats made to another teenager, also camped; the representation made against the city attorney of Altinho, Dr. Geovany de Sá Leite, who encouraged and legitimized the violence of the eviction made by Military Police and staff at the farm on October 11, 2010.
Besides the immediate punishment of the landowner and the gunmen involved in acts of violence and public agencies that legitimized such violence, families at the Gregório Bezerra encampment charge that representatives of the state government may provide some answers about the agreement with INCRA, which will allow expropriation of farms in conflict for the advancement of the social interest.
The State Director of the MST beleives that it is unacceptable that the government continues allowing the orders and excesses of landowners with impunity, legitimizing the power of the colonels in the interior of Pernambuco to continue to order more than the rule of law.
The Movement argues that, to end the violence of the colonels, one must take what it gives them power: their land.