By Taís Souza
Dozens of popular movements, entities, organizations, and democratic personalities have taken a stand in repudiation of the criminalization of the peasant struggle that is taking place in Rondônia against the League of Poor Peasants (LCP) and the Tiago dos Santos Camp.
In Maranhão, approximately 25 entities and movements issued a joint note denouncing the reactionary attempt to criminalize the peasant struggle for the legitimate right to land. The entities also denounce the siege and violent eviction of landless families, carried out by the Military Police (MP) under the command of Governor Colonel Marcos Rocha (Social Liberal Party – PSL), on October 10; illegal and arbitrary eviction, disregarding all the prerogatives of legal defense of workers.
Among those entities are the Peasant Movement Forums, Networks for the Defense of the Rights of the Citizenry of the State of Maranhão, the Union of the State Bank of Maranhão, Brazil (SEEB/S), and the Central Trade Union and Popular Conlutas (CSP-Conlutas/S), the Association of the Residents in Rural Village Cedro (Arari/S), the Quilombolas Residents Association of the Village Fleixeiras (Arari/S), the Public Servants Union of the City of São Bernardo (SIDSERP-SB/A), Rural Workers Associations, Quilombolas of the Village Cheiroso (Itapecuru-Mirim, Maranhão), Quilombola Association of Village Carmo (Arari/A), in addition to several other community associations, residents, quilombolas** and workers of the state of Maranhão.
In the joint note, the movements affirm “to provide support and solidarity to the families of the Tiago dos Santos Camp and to the LCP, which due to the lies that spread with voracious speed creates in the families, children, women, and elderly people a situation of insecurity, with serious risks of these families suffering attacks by state forces, as in the case of Corumbiara.” They also state that their voices “rise up and join many voices of the people’s fighters, echoing our cry for a just country, without latifundia (large landowners), without hunger, and that guarantees the dignity of all Brazilians.”
MOVEMENTS AND POPULAR PRESS RESONATE DENUNCIATION
Other movements and personalities have made statements in support of the peasants in the Brazilian state of Rondônia against the criminalization of those who fight for their land or passed on the complaint, among them the Brazilian Center of Solidarity with the People (CEBRASPO) and the Brazilian Association of People’s Lawyers Gabriel Pimento (ABRAPO), that drive the solidarity campaign, in addition to the Workers’ League, the Struggle For Socialism (LPS), Popular Brigades of Marabá / Pará, Pastoral Land Commission of the State of Rondônia (CPT), the daily Causa Operária (Workers’ Cause) linked to the Party of the Causa Operária (PCO), Mídia 1508, and Casa Ninja Amazon.
The Popular Brigades of Marabá recall the history of the colonization of Rondônia and the cowardice used against the peasants, recalling: “in the face of the reactions and resistance of the people the Old State was always present with its repressive forces, with the participation of gunmen hired by landowners, to expel the populations from the areas of their interests, burning charities, torturing, arresting and murdering. Hence, hundreds of selective murders or through slaughters and massacres in these last forty years in the Amazon. With the criminalization done, the populations appear as criminals and businessmen, and landowners are treated as victims.”
And they sentence: “We, from the Popular Brigades, have come to defend the rights of the people, against any act of criminalization and oppression against them, and to show solidarity with the League of Poor Peasants , in the fight against the militarization of the Amazon and in the defense of the territories necessary for all quilombola families, indigenous, and peasant landless or with little land, and for the agrarian revolution” (featured in the essay).
The note of the Causa Operária daily states, “the criminalization of the League of Poor Peasants by the coup press is not new, they are even classified as criminals. It has been happening since years ago—and still continues to happen—where these same journalism companies have made an immense campaign that has lasted more than a decade accusing the LCP peasants organization of drug trafficking to justify a massacre against the leaders of the movement, especially one that occurred in 2016.” In addition, the paper summons: “it is necessary to denounce, organize, and mobilize the population in general against this genocide that is about to happen.” On the other hand, the CPT of the region, especially criticizing the pro-latifundio press, said that “through repudiation notes, materials, and audios on social networks, these media have opened their goal: criminalize the struggle for land, stigmatizing as terrorists and criminals social movements and human rights defenders.”
ACTION IN OURO PRETO / MG
As reported by the AND, on October 10, professors and students of the Federal University of Ouro Preto (UFOP), organized by Coletivo Engaja, held political action with banners and posters in Tiradentes Square in Ouro Preto/MG in defense of the peasants.
The support issued by the organizations was in response to the call from the LCP issued in a note, where it urges:
“May the true democrats and progressives rise up against this announced crime and the bloodbath against the peasants of the Tiago dos Santos camp.”
In a note CEBRASPO and ABRAPO stated “the mobilization made by CEBRASPO, ABRAPO, and other entities and activists defending the rights of the people was very important to prevent a massacre like what happened, for example, in Corumbiara, in 1995.”
Read the note of 25 democratic entities of Maranhão in full:
PUBLIC NOTE OF THE ENTITIES FROM MARANHÃO REPUDIATING THE CRIMINALIZATION OF THE PEASANT STRUGGLE, SUPPORT AND SOLIDARITY TO THE TIAGO DOS SANTOS CAMP AND THE LEAGUE OF POOR PEASANTS (LCP) OF RONDÔNIA
The forums and networks defending the rights of the citizenry of Maranhão and other organizations of civil society in Maranhão that sign this, come and make public their position against the latest events occurring in the state of Rondônia, with regard to the murder of Military Police, the attempt to criminalize the peasant struggle for the legitimate right to land and the violent eviction of landless families, which we do as follows:
1 – We had public knowledge through the large media that on the day 10/3, two MP’s of Rondônia were killed in area near the Tiago dos Santos Camp in Nova Mutum Paraná, District of Porto Velho. This led the police to raise as the main thesis that it was “the militias of the land” responsible, with clear intention of criminalizing the peasants who are in an area near the site where the MP’s were killed;
2 – According to news, the first Military Policeman, who was from the reserve, was killed while fishing on a friend’s farm, when he was shot, the second was killed when trying to rescue the body of the first MP;
3- These facts triggered successive unfounded accusations of hatred against the peasants and the League (LCP) and the sending of more than 60 men of special groups and promises of murder of the campers. In addition to preventing the entry of food for families and the violation of other basic rights of the camped;
4 – Thus, we want to repudiate any attempts to criminalize the peasants, their organizations, and their legitimate struggle for the right to land. Yes, many may not know, but, the Tiago dos Santos Camp is more than 600 families, 2,000 men, women, and children who fight for a public area of more than 57,000 hectares, which was criminally and illegally shackled, stolen, and used by the landowner Antônio Martins dos Santos, known as Gallo Velho, who was arrested this year in July in operation Amicus Regem (Friends of the King);
5 – We also vehemently repudiate the eviction action of the Tiago dos Santos Camp carried out by the MP of Rondônia under the command of Governor Colonel Marcos Rocha, PSL, on 10/10/2020 in an illegal, arbitrary way, disregarding all the prerogatives of legal defense of workers. A violent action that presents the true face of this police state that denies all the constitutional rights of the people.
6 – In the same way, we want to provide our unrestricted support and solidarity to the families of the Tiago dos Santos Camp and the LCP, which due to the lies that spread with voracious speed creates in the families, children, women and the elderly a situation of insecurity, with serious risks of these families suffering attacks by state forces, as in the case of Corumbiara;
Finally, we want to say, loud and clear, that our voices rise up and join many voices of the people’s fighters, echoing our cry for a just country, without latifundia, without hunger, and that guarantees the dignity of all Brazilians.
Struggling is not a crime!
United and organized people fight and win!
1- Fóruns e Redes de Defesa dos Direitos da Cidadania do Maranhão
2- Sindicato Estadual dos Bancários do Maranhão – SEEB/MA
3- Central Sindical e Popular Conlutas – CSP-Conlutas/MA
4- Associação dos Moradores Quilombolas do Povoado Cedro – Arari/MA
5- Associação dos Moradores Quilombolas do Povoado Fleixeiras – Arari/MA
6- Associação Quilombola do Povoado Carmo – Arari/MA
7- Associação do Povoado Félix – Arari/MA
8- Associação dos Moradores Quilombolas do Povoado Taboa – Arari/MA
9- Associação Comunitária do Povoado Santa Maria 2 – Urbano Santos/MA
10- Sindicato dos Servidores Públicos de São Bernardo – SIDSERP-SB/MA
11- Associação dos Trabalhadores Rurais Quilombolas do Povoado Cheiroso – Itapecuru-Mirim/MA
12- Associação de Moradores São Raimundo Nonato – Itapecuru-Mirim/MA
13- Associação de Moradores e Trabalhadores Rurais do Povoado Cassó – Primeira Cruz/MA
14- Associação dos Trabalhadores Rurais do Povoado Guaribas 1- Urbano Santos/MA
15- Associação Quilombola do Povoado Banana 1 – Vargem Grande/MA
16- Associação dos Trabalhadores Rurais do Povoado Laje do Curral – São Mateus do Maranhão
17- Associação dos Trabalhadores Rurais e Quilombolas do Povoado Flores – Anajatuba/MA
18- Associação dos Trabalhadores Rurais e Quilombolas do Povoado Perimirim – Anajatuba/MA
19- Associação dos Moradores Quilombolas do Povoado Assuntiga – Anajatuba/MA
20- Associação dos Moradores Quilombolas da Ilha dos Tesos – Anajatuba/MA
21- Associação dos Trabalhadores Rurais e Quilombolas do Povoado Flexeiras
22- Associação dos Trabalhadores Rurais do Povoado Campo das Bandeiras 1 – São Mateus do Maranhão
23- Associação dos Trabalhadores Rurais do Povoado Campo das Bandeiras 2 – São Mateus do Maranhão
** Quilombolas are the descendants of runaway slaves in Brazil