Guarani-Kaiowá indigenous people attacked once again in central Brazil

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Source: Brasil De Fato / The Dawn News / July, 24, 2016


Three Guarani-Kaiowa people were wounded during an attack last Monday night (11), in the Indigenous Dourados-Amambaipeguá I land, in the Caarapó Municipality, South of Mato Grosso —central-western region of Brazil. The city is located 237 km away from the State capital, Campo Grande. A 32-years-old adult and two teenagers, of 15 and 17 years of age, were wounded while they were performing their ritual dances. It is suspected that landowners of the region were responsible for the attacks.

The 17-year-old boy is in a serious condition, because he has a bullet lodged in his chest. He is receiving medical attention at the Health Post in the reserve and is not under risk of death. The victims are still awaiting proper security measures to protect them in order to be transported to a hospital in the municipality of Caarapó. The Public Ministry, the Armed Forces, the National Security Forces and indigenous leaders are gathered to organize the transportation of the three victims to a hospital and to try to identify the authors of the shooting.  On June 14, almost a month ago, an indigenous man of the Kaiowa people, Cloudione Souza, 26, was murdered in the same place. The shooting wounded 10 people, including a kid, according to the testimony of the indigenous people.




Last week, the Rural Union of the region, the indigenous people and the Public Ministry signed a peace agreement in which the ruralists committed to stop using violence, and the Kaiowa people committed to stop reoccupying any more of their ancestral lands. The agreement was signed after the attacks of June. A week after that, the Kaiowás were attacked again, even though no one was injured.

Although they were fulfilling their part of the agreement, they were ambushed: “They came very slowly. At the front, there was a tractor with its lights on. Behind, came the the pickup trucks with their lights off. When they were close enough, they started shouting ‘get out of there, you scum!’, and they came in our direction”, said one of the witnesses of last Monday’s attack, who is a member of the Indigenous Missionary Council (CIMI).

“There, they turned the tractor’s lights off and turned the trucks’ lights on. Two men emerged and started shooting, then more men got off the truck and started shooting as well, and we all ran”, said another indigenous also wounded by the shooting.


The background of the conflict

Tension in the region is related to a dispute over the possession of the land. These lands historically belong to the Kaiowá people, but they were thrown out in order to cultivate them, and relocated in a smaller area. The Kaiowá are trying to get their ancestral lands back. “The reservoir where they put us is a small piece of land, shallow. It’s 3 thousand hectares big and there they put around 5 or 7 thousand people. It’s very confined. Since they were evicted from their own territories, in the 20s, they have struggled to go back to their traditional lands. In 2007, the Public Ministry forced the FUNAI (National Indigenous Foundation) to recognize the theft”, explained Matías Rempel, a missioner of the CIMI, who was on the location.

“Finally, in 2015, the report was concluded and the FUNAI published the recognition of 55 thousand hectares. The tension comes from the fact that the producers are gathering to demand the revocation of this measure, because it was published by Dilma’s government, as if her decision was illegitimate and they had to do a counter-coup. They are mad”, he affirmed. Since 2012, 10 “land grabbings” took place, one of them, after the attack in June.

Since the first attack, last month, the Security National Forces have stayed on the location to guarantee security. The Guaraní-Kaiowás claimed, however, that the forces ignored the call made at 9 p.m., when the population sensed something was wrong. Security agents showed up at 23 p.m., well after the shooting, and didn’t help with the transportation of the wounded people. The Ministry of Justice was consulted on the acting of the Security National Forces, but, so far, the request has not been answered.

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