By Aidan Cahill
Marcos Verrão, a community leader of the Guaraní-Kaiowá people in Brazil, was murdered on January 12 2003.
At the time of writing it is less than a week since the news arrived. The email which carried it would have been easy to miss - every week LASC receives hundreds of emails from Latin America, several of which describe political murders. This email, however, stood out - because Marcos Verrão visited Dublin just over two years ago as the guest of Trócaire and LASC.
The struggle for agrarian reform in Brazil is a long and painful one. The Irish more so than most should be able to empathize with a people's struggle for the right to their own land. The recent famine commemorations brought home to us how different history might have been if the 19th century Irish had been owners of the land they worked, and in greater control of their destiny.
By Jan Smith, Programme Officer for Brazil's CAFOD (Catholic Agency For Overseas Development for England and Wales)
Although the Indigenous People of Brazil constitute only 0.2% of the total population, these 300,000 people represent 215 different ethnic groups speaking 175 different languages. They are the most vulnerable section of Brazilian society, they are the poorest, suffer the highest incidence of infant mortality and the shortest life expectancy.
By Kathleen Bond, Maryknoll Mission Association of the Faithful
During the election of 1997, Margarida Perida da Siliva, beloved for her community work with youth in Pombal, Brazil, decided to run for mayor of the town to offer an alternative to the corrupt politics that dominate the Northeastern region. With little money, she ran the campaign from her home.
by Seamus Collins
When the Portugese arrived in Brazil in 1500 they thought they had landed in a paradise of untold wealth. They called it "El Dorado" or land of gold. The tragedy for the vast majority of Brazilians today is that their country has lost this imagined sheen… They struggle to survive with no land, money or basic services. Writes Seamus Collins, Trocaire's Latin America Project Officer.