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Brazilian Landless Workers Movement (MST) attacked in Minas Gerais

Sunday, November 21, 2004

Seven unknown men armed with guns invaded the Terra Prometida camp, in Felisburgo city, Minas Gerais, Brazil, and killed five members of the Brazilian Landless Workers Movement movement (MST). The Terra Prometida camp had been invaded by the MST in May 2002 and there were about 200 MST families living there at the time of the attack.

According to the Brazilian newspaper Agência Folha, police said 13 of the members of the MST movement were injured and five died. Four of them are still hospitalized. Two of them, Joaquim Batista da Silva and his son (a 12-year-old child), are in the Felisburgo Municipal Hospital. The other two, Valdemar Barbosa Lima and José Maroto Lima, are in the Santa Rosária Hospital in Teófilo Otoni city.

According to MST camp leaders the gunfighters set fire to MST tents and started shooting.

The police are investigating the case. The Workers Party (PT) has demanded the gunfighters' arrest and punishment.

The MST is an ideologically diverse movement of agricultural workers in Brazil officially founded in 1984. MST is for the equitable redistribution of Brazilian farmland. According to MST, in 2003 there were about 632 MST camps in Brazil. MST is a large organization with many bases throughout Brazilian cities. Their most visible tactic has been the occupation of mostly privately-held plantations and landholdings, sometimes armed with carving knifes and scythes.

Currently, MST receives help from the Brazilian government and donations from international organizations. The movement also receives funds by selling videos of their invasions.

Overall, a recent report on labor standards in Brazil has shown that conditions for laborers are poor [1].

Sources

  1. Keite Camacho,Cinco sem-terras foram assassinados em MG; quatro estão internados, ABr, November 21, 2004.
  2. Invasão em acampamento do MST mata 5 e fere 13 em MG,Agência Folha November 20, 2004.
  3. Mylena Fiori, PT exige punição dos assassinos de sem terra, ABr, November 21, 2004.
  4. Workers Party.
  5. the Brazilian Landless Workers Movement English-language page
  6. MST Official webpage (in Portuguese).
  7. MST International webpage.
  8. Alexandre Mansur & Gerson Camarotti, MST – Os filhos querem revolução, Época magazine, July 7, 2003.