“We urge the Government and the Federal Court not to order the eviction / expulsion, but enact our collective death and bury us all here. We ask you, once and for all, to decree our extinction / total decimation, as well to send many tractors to dig a big hole to throw and bury our bodies.”
Thereby, on October 8, 2012 in a letter to the Brazilian court, 170 Indians Guarani-Kaiowás of Mato Grosso do Sul came together in protest, in the center of Brazil, as a response to the news that the Federal Court had determined their expulsion from the land they inhabit at the river Hovy.
The history of Brazil is the story of the extermination of the Amerindian populations that used to live in the vast continent before the arrival of Europeans in 1500. For half a millennium the native people were enslaved, acculturated by Jesuit missionaries, expelled from their territory and massacred by pathfinders. Several ethnicities and languages disappeared. The remaining groups inhabit today meager reserves. Recognizing the irreparable crimes committed in the country against its native peoples, the Brazilian constitution of 1988 established that indigenous territories should be defined and protected by the state to ensure the survival of these fragile populations.
However, the course of history has not changed in the decades that followed. The process of demarcation of indigenous lands has been slow and sensitive to pressure large landowners and agribusiness. Today, for obstructing the country’s unruled progress and unstoppable expansion of monoculture, Brazilian Indians continue to be massacred and expelled from their lands and to be, as before, acculturated by the church – this time the evangelical.
The Indigenous populations have been suffering two forms of violence: on one side by the militias organized by landowners, on the other side by the State itself. In land disputes, the Federal Court tends to favor large landowners, in addition to not punishing their crimes. Legitimated by justice, police violently expel the natives of their territories, while the murderers of countless indigenous leaders and activists remain unpunished.
Also in the mandate of President Dilma Rousseff, the demarcation of Indian lands is not a priority. Agribusiness and the expansion of the monoculture of sugarcane and soybeans continue to be favored over native communities and the environment. The construction of the Belo Monte hydroelectric power plant in the middle of the Amazon forest – which will be the third largest in the world – despite the protests of environmentalists, indigenous organizations and academics, is just one example of how the government is willing to pay any price, whether human or environmental, to maintain its ongoing economic project for the country.
All over Brazil the culture and survival of many indigenous groups is threatened. The situation of the Guarani-Kaiowás (population 43 000), however, is particularly terrible. Their territories are too tight to ensure their survival. The nature around them is devastated, and the homicide rate in the region is higher than in war zones. Thus, kids suffer from malnutrition and the adults from alcoholism. Many, especially young people, hang themselves on tree branches.
Facing this situation and the threat of the expulsion news, the group of Kaiowás asked the government to exterminate and bury them in the soil where their ancestors lie, instead of condemning them to a miserable life. Therefore, we wish to bring everyone’s attention to these facts and to ask President Dilma Roseff to commit to the immediate demarcation of indigenous territories.
In spite of computing more than 43 thousand individuals, the lands occupied by the Guarani-Kaiowá represent only 0.1% of the territory of South Mato Grosso; less than 5% of the territory historically occupied by them.
- Since 2003 more than 500 Indians were murdered in Brazil.
- In 2011, only 51 cases were registered (which is equivalent to one Indian murdered per week)
- The state of Mato Grosso do Sul, where the Guara-Kaiowa live, register the highest number of Indian murders(62%).
- The land occupied by the Guarani-Kaiowá today corresponds to 0.1% of Mato Grosso do Sul, 5% of the historically territory occupied by them.
- The rate murder in the Reservation of Dourados, where they live, is 1.5 times higher than in regions states of declared war and 5 times higher than the national average.
- 90% of these homicides are not solved.
- Every six days, a young Guarani Caiová commits suicide. Since 1980, about 1500 took there own lives.
- In 2011, 26 cases were registered, most of them men between 15 and 19 years.
The dark side of green: http://vimeo.com/32577382
Brazil: The Cry of Resistance of the Guarani Kaiowá: http://globalvoicesonline.org/2012/10/25/brazil-guarani-kaiowa-indigenous-resistance/
Grüner Irrsinn: Äthanol: http://vimeo.com/32577382