BRAZIL - Association of people's lawyers denounce crimes against the peasants


BULLETIN OF THE BRAZILIAN ASSOCIATION OF PEOPLE’S LAWYERS – GABRIEL PIMENTA


April 2nd, 2021


AFTER THE ARREST OF MILITARY POLICEMEN, THE GOVERNOR OF RONDONIA AND THE PUBLIC SECURITY SECRETARY ANNOUNCE AND PRACTICE CRIMES AGAINST THE PEASANTS.

The Brazilian Association of People’s Lawyers-Gabriel Pimenta – ABRAPO publicly rejects the whole war operation that is being orchestrated by the Governor of Rondonia against the peasants of Manoel Ribeiro camp in Corumbiara, state of Rondonia/RO, Northern Brazil .


The more than 150 families of Manoel Ribeiro camp seized the Nossa Senhora Aparecida farm in August 2020. This farm is the last part of the old Santa Elina farm, the stage of an heroic resistance that took place in 1995, an episode that became known worldwide as the “Corumbiara Massacre”, when many peasants were killed by the police under the command of colonel José Hélio Cysneiros Pachá, who is today the security secretary of the state of Rondonia and is at the forefront of this illegal operation.


The whole war operation against the peasants of Manoel Ribeiro camp intensified soon after the operation of the Public Defenders of RO, which took place in March 23rd, that culminated in the arrest of three Military Policemen, one of them is a sergeant, Emerson Pereira de Arruda, of the 3rd battalion of Vilhena (RO); military officers Wagner Ferreira de Souza, Helton dos Santos Souza and the soldier Jander Nascimento de Oliveira. And more two employees of the Nossa Senhora Aparecida farm, Eduardo do Carmo Martim and Antônio Marcos Pires, one of them is the supervisor of the farm.


According to the investigation of the Public Defenders, the sergeant coordinated the service of gunmen in the region, was responsible for logistics and recruitment of the armed gang, many (unregistered) firearms and plenty of ammunition were found under the arrested policemen’s possession. Still according to the Public Defenders, the policemen tried to enforce ownership repossession operations on the region, without any mandate or judicial order.


Soon after the arrests of the Military Policemen and the verification of another gunmen group serving the landlords in the state of RO, through orders of the Governor Marcos Rocha (Colonel of the Military Police) and the arrest of the farmers, a police mega operation was set in the attempt of enforcing the criminal eviction of the peasants. In a press collective, the State Security Secretary, Colonel José Hélio Cysneiros Pachá, affirmed that he was “awaiting” for the “search and apprehension” mandate to be published so to begin the ownership repossession operation.


It is important to highlight that the press collective took place on March 29th morning, and in the same day at 11:20 o’clock the preliminary ownership repossession was conceded. We highlight that the preliminary was conceded, forced under the pressure done by the farmers, representatives of agribusiness on that region and the Government of the State, even after the manifestation of the Public Defenders reporting the arrest of the military and civil policemen that were making armed security for the landlords (the ordering part). We draw attention for the fact that the answer of the Judiciary was to concede the ownership repossession even aware of the crimes practiced by the landlords.


However, we highlight that when determining the ownership repossession, the judge determined that a ownership repossession plan should be drafted in the following terms:

“attending the guidelines established in the Resolution No 10, from October 17th 2018, from the National Council of Human Rights, with maximum enforcement deadline of three months from this decision, both due to the complexity of the enforcement as due to the aggravation of the COVID-19 pandemics, that was granted by the Recommendation No 90, from March 2nd 2021, from the National Council of Justice.


Immediately intimate the requisite for voluntary dis-occupation until the deadline for the enforcement of the mandate, on June 29th 2021. In the case there is no important in-flexion on the pandemics curve, this date will be altered until the operation could be fulfilled with political sanitary safety.”

As it can be verified at the passage of the mandate above, the judge determined the repossession, however, due to the scenery of pandemics and the Recommendation No 90, March 2nd 2021, from the National Council of Justice from 2021, it made clear that the repossession could only be enforced after the date of June 29th 2021, only if an in-flexion on the curve of the pandemic takes place.

However, the Secretary of Security, Colonel José Hélio Cysneiros Pachá, during the interview to the online portal “FolhadoSul” publicly announces that he will perpetrate the ownership repossession in a planned and intentional way “before the deadline determined by the magistrate”.

(https://www.folhadosulonline.com.br/noticias/detalhe/2021/chupinguaia-secretario-seguranca-diz-que-mandado-reintegracao-posse-sera-cumprido-em-fazenda-invadida)

We draw attention that after the arrest of the military policemen for gunmen service and ownership repossessions without mandate, the Secretary of Security announces that the state will assume the practiced crimes, which were hidden before, now under the protection of the Government.

What is clear is that the state instead of fulfilling its constitutional role to “realize the agrarian and land policies” and promote the access to the land, substituted the veiled work of the gunmen with official state action to favor grileiros1 landlords.

ABRAPO from now on demands the Public Defenders to investigate the crimes that were announced and practiced by the Government of the Rondonia’s State and by the Secretary of Public Security, and for it to result in the judicial, including civil, administrative and criminal responsibility of the agents that are clearly violating the law, and specially the mandate of ownership repossession!

ABRAPO also requires that Public Defenders continue the investigation and to charge criminally the landlords Antônio Borges Afonso (known as “Toninho Miséria”/ “Misery Toninho”) and the associates of the company called Agropecuária Caxibi Ltda due to recruitment of Military Policemen and civilians to “work” as gunmen. Those military Policemen and others coordinated this kind of “service” or gangs, that for many times tried to enforce illegal eviction and attacks against families settled in camps, intimidating the peasants on the roads and shooting with fire arms at the entrance of the camp.

According to denounces sent to ABRAPO, the gunmen were concentrated inside the farm’s corral. That structure was used as a hiding place and an operation base for their attacks against the peasant families. Several denounces showed that the gunmen used that place to store weapons and to supply for them to practice their crimes. In face of successive attacks, the families attacked the farm’s corral in selfdefense. Still, many violations of rights and crimes are committed against the peasants by the Military Police Command. According to what was denounced by the website planetafolha, the command of the Military Police has been pressing the local health secretaries to suspend the medical treatment of the settlers of Corumbiara and Chupinguaia, a flagrant crime, considered to be hideous, against public health! In the midst of the biggest sanitary crisis ever faced in the country, with an alarming number of dead, the Command of the Police forbids hundreds of families to have access to the health system.

(https://planetafolha.com.br/01/04/2021/pm-de-rondonia-impoe-cerco-que-impede-atendimento-medico-a-assentados-de-corumbiara-e-chupinguaia/)


ABRAPO is receiving many denunciations of abuse and violations of rights! More than a hundred families, among women, children and elderly are resisting the illegal operation, an operation that configures true torture and state terrorism! We emphasize the two peasants arrested reported that both were tortured. The peasants are detained in the Police Station of the city of Vilhena, Rondonia.

According to the denunciations, the police set a siege to the camp, where they attack the peasants with tear gas and pepper spray, despite shooting them with rubber bullets, using a helicopter flying over the camp. What they do is psychological torture against the workers that only seek a piece of land to plant and survive. In a inhuman practice, because more than to evict and arrest, the intention of the police and the message they send is to torture every minute, without truce or rest, they try to win through tiredness.

For the ABRAPO, the struggle for land is a legitimate right that is guaranteed in the Federal Constitution and are the poor peasants who in fact fulfill the constitutional social destination to property when they occupy and transform nonproductive areas into productive areas.

The public, social and collective interest must prevail on these areas, other judicial measure must prevail and be adopted instead of the ownership repossession, as for example, the conversion of the repossession measure in losses and damages, in the terms of the article 627 of the CPC.

There is a bankruptcy of the program of Agrarian Reform in this Country which increase the conflicts even more. However, such fact cannot serve as a judicial argument for the concession of a preliminary of ownership repossession against families that actually provide social and economic destination to the latifúndio [big portions of land] that were nonproductive before.


ABRAPO understands that the Judiciary Power must act in a way to promote public policies for access to land and to fulfill the constitutional precepts when the social inequality is not overcame and there is no prevalence of the People’s rights. “The popular pressure is a feature of the Democratic State of Law and the action of the popular movement aiming to implant agrarian reform should not be considered a crime, because it configures a collective right, an expression of citizenship and aims to concrete a constant principle of the Constitution of the Republic. And the Judicial Power cannot see criminal outlines on the participation in movements that seek the fulfillment of clear constitutional devices, which time relegate to forgetfulness, but they constitute a greater foundation of an agrarian reform that will only be concrete by the pressure put on the Public Power when, as it happens, the fulfillment of official norms, which were approved by the Constituent of 88 that established the rules of convenience of the Brazilian Republic, are alienated.” (Hélio Bicudo, International Tribunal of Crimes Against Latifúndio - Pará)

For ABRAPO, that Brazilian agrarian question will not be solved with ownership repossession but with democratization of the access to land, which is guaranteed in the Constitution, and demarcation of Indigenous and Quilombola lands.


We call all the democratic organizations to repudiate and denounce this crime by the State of Rondonia in order to stop this new illegal attack by the Government of Rondonia and to demand the Governor, the Public Security Secretary and landlords to be considered responsible due to their notoriously unconstitutional, illegal and criminal acts!

Brazilian Association of People’s Lawyers- Gabriel Pimenta – ABRAPO

Affiliate to the International Association of People’s Lawyers – IAPL

We call all progressive and democratic organizations, all defenders of people’s rights to denounce this new attack against the poor peasants!