Death of Marcos Veron: a petition to Brazilian government to protect indigenous peoples
- Service: Non denominational Christian service to commemorate Marcos' passing, University Church, South St Stephen's Green, Dublin 2, on Saturday 8 February 2003 at 3:30 pm.
- Symbolic vigil: Brazilian embassy, Europa House, Harcourt Street, after the service, at 4:30pm
- A petition has been started calling on the Brazilian government to demarcate indigenous lands in order to help prevent similar events in future. Please contact LASC for further details.
Marcos Veron, a community leader of the Guaraní-Kaiowá people in Brazil, was murdered on January 12 2003.
You may remember him speaking at a public meeting in Dublin's Central Hotel in November 2000. Marcos, and another Guaraní-Kaiowá leader, Leia Aquino, were seeking support in Europe for their attempt to re-possess their ancestral lands, stolen from them by wealthy cattle ranchers in the 1950s.
The Takuara community, where Marcos lived, had re-occupied a fraction of the amount stolen from them by the rancher, but their presence on it was intolerable to him. The community had been subjected to a campaign of violent harassment by an armed gang employed and maintained by the landowner, and a baby had recently been shot.
In late 2001 the community was violently evicted from their land with the help of the military and police of the Brazilian State, with the use of rubber bullets and tear-gas, and forced back onto a reservation. Even their dead were dug up from the ancestral cemetery. These events were the subject of an article in LASC's Enlace magazine, and a letter-writing action to the Brazilian authorities, in early 2002.
Facing intolerable conditions in the reservation, the Takuara community again returned to their traditional lands on 12 January 2003. Later that day, employees of the rancher used extreme violence to remove the community from the area. After the confrontation, Marcos was found on a nearby roadside suffering from serious head and chest injuries. Reports differ as to whether he was shot or beaten to death. He died of his wounds just before midday of 13 January.
Donegal born Micheal Feeney, who works closely with the Guaraní-Kaiowá, said: "Marcos will live on in the struggle of his people."