Brazil: Landless and Indigenous Occupy Rio

Nearly 2,000 landless and indigenous Brazilians protested lack of land, titles and healthcare on April 16 as a part of the “Indigenous April” and Land Reform Campaign led by the Landless Worker’s Movement.  800 landless farmers took over the government office of land redistribution, and some 1,000 indigenous Brazilians occupied the Ministries Esplanade.


In January, Lula announced an economic stimulus package “for 10 dams, eight power lines, seven roads, three gas pipelines and two railroads in the Amazon region alone,” according to Reuters. On April 16, 500 indigenous protesters took over an Estrieto hydroelectric plant for 2 hours, and blocked a highway between the cities of Brasilia and Belém.  The plant is under construction, and will flood the land of many if completed.


Several other recent and upcoming actions are part of this campaign. On April 15, more than 2,000 landless families occupied the Pontal Sur irrigation project on the Sao Francisco River.  April 17 is International Peasant Struggle Day, and commemorates the 1996 massacre in Eldorado de Carajás, and April 19 is Brazilian National Indigenous People’s Day.  Groups hope to meet with President Lula to negotiate land settlements, greater access to medicines, and legal repercussions for the perpetrators of the Eldorado de Carajás massacre and other violence against landless Brazilians.