Tag Archives: land disputes

Killings of Brazil’s Indigenous Peoples highlight tensions of land disputes

By Jonathan Watts, August 8, 2013. Source: The Guardian 

Guarani and Kaiowa Indians are in conflict with ranch owners over the allocation of land in Brazil. Photo: Celso Junior/AP

Guarani and Kaiowa Indians are in conflict with ranch owners over the allocation of land in Brazil. Photo: Celso Junior/AP

Celso Rodrigues was walking by a river near his home in Mato Grosso do Sul, when he was ambushed by a gunman in a balaclava, shot with a pistol and then finished off with a rifle.

It might have been just another killing in Brazil, which has one of the world’s highest murder rates. But Rodrigues’s case has attracted international attention because he was a member of the Guarani ethnic group, which is at the heart of a fierce national dispute over indigenous rights.

In recent months, the national guard has been dispatched, a senior official has resigned and protests from both sides – tribes and landowners – have moved closer to the office of President Dilma Rousseff.

Police have arrested a farm manager, Ivonel Gabriel Vieira, in connection with the case. Survival International, which campaigns for indigenous people’s rights, claims that the murder was carried out on the orders of landowners.
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Filed under Actions / Protest, Corporate Globalization, Indigenous Peoples, Industrial agriculture, Land Grabs, Latin America-Caribbean, Political Repression, War

Venezuelan authorities arrest suspect of murder of indigenous Yukpa leader

By Ryan Mallett-Outtrim, July 5, 2013. Source: Venezuelanalysis.com

Romero was an iconic advocate for indigenous land rights in Venezuela. Photo: Panorama

Romero was an iconic advocate for indigenous land rights in Venezuela. Photo: Panorama

A suspect in the murder of Yukpa chief Sabino Romero was arrested in Caracas on Wednesday, but according to interior minister Miguel Rodriguez Torres, more arrests could be made.

Speaking to state broadcaster VTV, Rodriguez stated that the suspect, identified as Angel Romero Bracho, may have been hired by ranchers to assassinate the indigenous land rights activist.

“According to the information we are handling, 400,000 bolivars were offered for the murder of the Chief Sabino Romero,” the minister told VTV on Thursday. Rodriguez also stated that six suspected collaborators in the murder are currently under investigation by the criminal investigation body CICPC and the national intelligence agency SEBIN.

An outspoken advocate for land rights for the indigenous Yukpa people, Romero had, prior to his death, been involved in an unresolved land dispute with cattle ranchers in the Sierra de Perijá, a mountainous region in the west of Venezuela.
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Filed under Indigenous Peoples, Land Grabs, Latin America-Caribbean, Political Repression

Honduras: Aguán campesino leader arrested

By Bill Weinberg, February 12, 2013.  Source: WW4 Report

A contingent of some 30 soldiers and police agents arrested Juan Ramón Chinchilla, president of the largest campesino organization in northern Honduras’ Lower Aguán Valley, the evening of Feb. 8 in the central park in Tocoa, Colón department. Police then drove Chinchilla, who heads the Unified Campesino Movement of the Aguán (MUCA), 60 kilometers to a court in the city of Trujillo, where he was charged with “usurpation of land.” After a two-hour hearing, the judges released Chinchilla conditionally at about 2 am; he is required to stay in the country and to report to the court every Monday.

The criminal complaint against Chinchilla originated with Exportadora del Atlántico SA, the agricultural division of Grupo Dinant, a food product company founded by the wealthy Miguel Facussé Barjum. The Aguán Valley has been subject to violent struggles between campesinos and large landowners like Facussé since late in 2009, when MUCA and other campesino cooperatives occupied a number of estates they said were on land reserved for small farmers under an agrarian reform program from the 1980s. More than 80 campesinos have died in the land disputes, and Chinchilla himself was captured and beaten by hooded men in January 2011 and held for two days before escaping.

According to MUCA, the court’s decision to release Chinchilla so quickly was the result of solidarity from media groups and from hundreds of campesinos who headed to Trujillo the night of Feb. 8 and threatened to block roads if Chinchilla wasn’t freed. But the case against Chinchilla remains open. MUCA spokespeople say 3,081 campesinos have been arrested in connection with Aguán land disputes in the last two years, while the government of President Porfirio Lobo Sosa has failed to prosecute the region’s landowners and their security guards for violence against campesinos. (Lista Informativa Nicaragua y Más, LINyM, Feb. 9, viaFrente Nacional de Resistencia Popular,  Honduras); MUCA communiqué, Feb. 10, viaHonduras Tierra Libre)

In related news, on the afternoon of Feb. 2 a group of armed men gunned down the campesino Juan Pérez near the El Tigre community, about three kilometers from Tocoa, as he was returning home from work. Pérez, the father of nine, was a member of the Campesino Movement for the Recovery of the Aguán (MOCRA). Three hours later Williams Alvarado was murdered in the community of Taojica; he was a MUCA member who worked at the Flor del Aguán cooperative in the Aurora settlement. (MUCA communiqué, Feb. 3, via Vos el Soberano, Honduras; Adital, Brazil, Feb. 4)

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Filed under Bioenergy / Agrofuels, Food Sovereignty, Industrial agriculture, Land Grabs, Latin America-Caribbean, Political Repression