Update on the land struggle of the Tupinikim and Guarani
After the occupation of the pulp mills complex of Aracruz Celulose, which took place on 6 and 7 October 2005, Tupinikim and Guarani Chiefs and Leaders were in the capital Brasilia for a meeting on 27 November, at the Ministry of Justice. The meeting debated the way of how to proceed with the official demarcation of the lands, as quick and safe (legally) as possible.
As a result of this meeting, a Working Group, number 1.299/2005, of the FUNAI (official institution for indigenous peoples in Brazil) was installed on 4 November, aiming to complement and update the already realized studies in the period of 1994-1998, when it was defined that the 11,009 hectares, self-demarcated in May this year, are rightfully indigenous lands. The Working Group that has been created now will have a deadline of 30 days to finish its activities and report.
Criminalization of the demonstrations against Aracruz Celulose
While the indigenous struggle makes progress, Aracruz counterattacks starting to treat the supporters of the indigenous struggles, who are also members of the Alert Against the Green Desert Network, as criminals. The Network is composed of organizations, movements, entities, religious persons and citizens, who have joined forces with the cause of the communities that suffer from the negative impacts of eucalyptus monocultures, especially the Tupinikim and Guarani Peoples.
Over the past few days, four members of the Alert Against the Green Desert Network (Emil Schubert Lutheran Pastor; Luíz Alberto Soares Loureiro ex-trade-unionist and ex-worker of Aracruz Celulose, dismissed because of his support to the struggle of the Green Desert Network; Lígia Sáncio radio/tv announcer; and Elsa of such, coordinator of the Espirito Santo Social Forum initiative and others"), are being prosecuted by the company Aracruz Celulose because of their support to the indigenous land struggle.
In his decision of 26 October, the Judge Camilo José d'Ávilo Couto of the 2nd Civil and Commercial Court of Aracruz, accepts arguments of the company that these persons have given their opinion publicly against the main activity of the company and practiced "plunder" at the company's area, as a reference to the recent occupation of the pulp mills complex by the Tupinikim and Guarani. The Judge forbids these persons "to practice any perturbing or plundering" against Aracruz, affirming "the firm intention of these people to promote disorder, showing that they are oriented by anarchistic principles and ideas". If they do not respect this decision, they will have to pay a daily fine of R$ 5,000 (around US$ 2,300) each day, besides running a risk to suffer criminal penalties.
We want to make clear, once again, that the action at the pulp mills complex of Aracruz Celulose was entirely realized by the Indians and totally pacific, aiming to accelerate the land demarcation process. We were present at this action, to fully support this brave action and prevent the use of any type of violence against the indigenous peoples. We alert you about the manipulated and false information that Aracruz and other allied companies are spreading about this action of the indigenous peoples, with the aim of creating a climate of terror in the national and international public opinion about the Tupinikim and Guarani and their supporters.
We consider this court action typical for the Aracruz company and its strategy of separating the indigenous peoples from their supporters. We want to remember here that silently, more than 30 years ago, Aracruz destroyed around 35 indigenous villages, expelling their inhabitants, including the Tupinikim of the village of Macacos. The Aracruz pulp mills were constructed exactly on the place of this village. We imagine the despair of these people who did not know where, how and to whom to denounce all the violence they suffered, committed during military dictatorship.
We stress that Aracruz will not be successful in its main aim of this act of intimidation: to silence the voice of the supporters of the Tupinikim and Guarani and other affected communities that struggle for their rights, violated by this company. We will not silence our voices, nor can we because we have a responsibility to denounce the many negative impacts the communities that suffer daily the impacts of Aracruz and other companies activities.
These are environmental, social, economic and cultural impacts which we testify and about which we publish and make denunciations, so that the brazilian state, instead of legitimating and strengthen the actions of the company, start to respect the rights of these populations and implement changes in the present dominant and perverse development model to which we all are submitted. Our solidarity with the indigenous peoples! Our solidarity with our four members who are being persecuted! Alert against the Green Desert Network (Espírito Santo state)