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HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS

IN THE AMAZON:
CONFLICT AND VIOLENCE IN THE STATE OF PARÁ
HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS
IN THE AMAZON:
CONFLICT AND VIOLENCE IN THE STATE OF PARÁ

Comissão Pastoral da Terra — CPT


Justiça Global
Terra de Direitos

November 2005
Human Rights Violations in the Amazon: Conflict and Violence in the State of Pará

Coordination: José Batista Gonçalves Afonso, Sandra Carvalho, Darci Frigo, Leandro Gorsdorf and Sérgio Sauer.

Edited and Organized by Sérgio Sauer.

Research team: Antônia Lima dos Santos, Camilla Ribeiro, Darci Frigo, Felipe Prando, Jax Nildo Aragão Pinto,
José Batista Gonçalves Afonso, Julia Figueira-McDonough, Leandro Gorsdorf, Luciana Cristina Furquim Pivato,
Luciana Silva Garcia, Maria Rita Reis, Nadine Monteiro Borges, Renata Verônica Côrtes de Lira, Sandra Carvalho,
Sérgio Sauer, Tarcísio Feitosa da Silva.

Translation team: Phillippa Bennett, Julia Figueira-McDonough, Marsha Michel, Kristen Schlemmer, Elisabeth
Rottach, Carlos Eduardo Gaio and Emily Goldman.

Translation review: Carlos Eduardo Gaio, Emily Goldman and Phillippa Bennett.

Layout by: Sandra Luiz Alves

DADOS INTERNACIONAIS PARA CATALOGAÇÃO NA PUBLICAÇÃO (CIP)

S273v
Sauer, Sérgio.
Violação dos direitos humanos na Amazônia : conflito e
violência na fronteira paraense / autor: Sérgio Sauer ; [tradução:
Phillippa Bennett, Julia Figueira-McDonough, Marsha Michel e Kristen Schlemmer].
– Goiânia : CPT ; Rio de Janeiro : Justiça Global ; Curitiba : Terra de Direitos, 2005.
170p. ; 17,5x25cm.

1. Direitos humanos. 2. Conflitos no campo – Amazônia.


3. Posse da terra - Amazônia I. Comissão Pastoral da terra. II.
Justiça Global. III. Terra de Direitos. IV.Título.

CDD- 338.9811

JUSTIÇA GLOBAL TERRA DE DIREITOS COMISSÃO PASTORAL


Av. Beira Mar, 406 / 1207 Rua José Loureiro, 464 / 26 DA TERRA (CPT) –
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Phone: (+55 21) 2544 2320 Phone/Fax: Goiânia – GO
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www.global.org.br www.terradedireitos.org.br Fax: (+55 62) 4008 6405
www.cptnac.com.br
CONTRIBUTORS AND RESEARCH SOURCES
Associação de Mulheres Campo — Cidade de Porto de Moz
Associação de Pescadores Artesanais de Porto de Moz
Associação Solidária Econômica e Ecológica de Frutas da Amazônia (ASSEFA)
Associações Rurais Comunitárias de Porto de Moz
Colônia de Pescadores de Porto de Moz
Comissão de Direitos Humanos da Câmara dos Deputados
Comissão Interamericana de Direitos Humanos da OEA
Comissão Pastoral da Terra (secretariado nacional e equipes de Altamira, Anapu, Belém, Marabá e
Alto Xingu).
Comitê de Desenvolvimento Sustentável de Porto de Moz
Delegacia Sindical dos Trabalhadores Rurais de Castelo dos Sonhos
Federação dos Trabalhadores na Agricultura (FETRAGRI) Regional Sudeste/Pará
Fórum Nacional pela Reforma Agrária e Justiça no Campo
Fundação Viver, Preservar e Produzir (FVPP)
Gabinete da senadora Heloisa Helena
Gabinete do deputado Federal Adão Pretto
Gabinete do deputado Federal João Alfredo
Greenpeace
Instituto Brasileiro do Meio Ambiente e dos Recursos Naturais Renováveis (IBAMA)
Instituto Nacional de Colonização e Reforma Agrária (INCRA)
Instituto Socioambiental (ISA)
Justiça Global
Ministério do Desenvolvimento Agrário (MDA)
Ministério do Meio Ambiente (MMA)
Ministério Público Federal do Pará
Museu Emílio Goeldi
Plataforma DhESC Brasil (Projeto Relatores Nacionais — Relatoria do Direito ao Meio Ambiente)
Sindicatos dos Trabalhadores Rurais de Anapu, de Porto de Moz e de Rondon do Pará
Terra de Direitos.

LIST OF ACRONYMS
ATPF Autorizações para Transporte de Produtos Florestais
CATP Contrato Alienação de Terra Pública
CCIR Certificados de Cadastro do Imóvel Rural
CPI Comissão Parlamentar de Inquérito
CPT Comissão Pastoral da Terra
DHESCA Direitos humanos econômicos, sociais, culturais e ambientais
DRT Delegacia Regional do Trabalho
FETAGRI Federação dos Trabalhadores na Agricultura
FINAM Fundo de Investimento da Amazônia
FUNAI Fundação Nacional do Índio
IBAMA Instituto Brasileiro de Meio Ambiente e Recursos Naturais Renováveis
INCRA Instituto Nacional de Colonização e Reforma Agrária
ISA Instituto Socioambiental
ITERPA Instituto de Terras do Pará
MDA Ministério do Desenvolvimento Agrário
MMA Ministério do Meio Ambiente
MPF Ministério Público Federal
MST Movimento dos Trabalhadores Rurais
OEA Organização dos Estados Americanos
ONU Organização das Nações Unidas
PAD Projeto de Assentamento Dirigido
PAE Projeto de Assentamento Agroextrativista
PAS Plano Amazônia Sustentável
PAR Projeto de Assentamento Rápido
PA Projetos de Assentamento
PDS Projeto de Desenvolvimento Sustentável
PIC Projeto de Integração e Colonização
PIN Plano de Integração Nacional
PROVITA Programa de Proteção a Vítimas e Testemunhas Ameaçadas
PMF Plano de Manejo Florestal
RESEX Reserva Extrativista Florestal
SNCR Sistema Nacional de Cadastro Rural
SPVEA Superintendência do Plano de Valorização Econômica da Amazônia
STR Sindicato dos Trabalhadores Rurais
SUDAM Superintendência do Desenvolvimento da Amazônia
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
We thank all of those who provided information for this report and accepted
our request for interviews and information, especially our partner organiza-
tions in the state of Pará.
Special thanks go to Adamir Castro Lima, Adriana Ramos, Antônia Melo,
Antônio Expedito Ribeiro, Carlos Guedes do Amaral Jr, Cláudio Wilson
Barbosa, Dielly Pompeu da Silva, Dineusa Pompeu da Silva, Dom Erwin
Krautler, Elcia Betânia da Silva Nunes, Felício Pontes Jr, Francisca Castro
Fróes, Idalino Nunes de Assis, Sister Jane Dwyer, Joelson Pompeu da Silva,
João Laet, José Batista da Silva, Letrízia Fróes Duarte, Luis de Brito, Maria
Creusa Gama Ribeiro, Maria Eva dos Santos, Maria de Fátima Romoaldo
da Silva Nunes, Maria Joel da Costa, Marcos Rogério de Souza, Nilton
Tubino, Odair Matos Lima, Father Adernei Guemaque, Father Andoni
Ledesma, Father Danilo Lago, Father José Amaro Lopes de Souza, Father
Robson Wander Lopes, Raimunda Regina Ferreira Barros, Roselene do So-
corro Conceição da Silva and Vivaldo Ferreira Barbosa.
This publication is part of the cooperation project “Commerce-Development-
Human Rights”, implemented by the Center for Research and Documentation Chile–
Latin America (Forschungs – und Dokumentationszentrum Chile – Lateinamerika –
FDCL) and by the Heinrich Böell Foundation, with support from the European Union.
The opinions expressed in this publication do not necessarily represent those of the
European Union.
Justiça Global, Terra de Direitos and Comissão Pastoral da Terra (CPT) also thank
the Heinrich Böll Foundation, Ford Foundation and Caritas for their support to this
publication.
Table of contents

INTRODUCTION .......................................................................................................... 13

CHAPTER I
LAND OWNERSHIP AND AGRARIAN DYNAMICS IN THE STATE OF PARÁ ..................................... 23
1. ILLEGAL APPROPRIATION OF LAND AND TERRITORIAL MANAGEMENT .................................................................... 25
2. CONFLICT AND VIOLENCE IN RURAL AREAS ....................................................................................................... 33
3. THE PRACTICE OF SLAVE LABOR ....................................................................................................................... 40
4. IMPUNITY IN THE COUNTRYSIDE: ONE OF THE CAUSES OF VIOLENCE ................................................................... 45
CONCLUSION .................................................................................................................................................... 52

CHAPTER II
GOVERNMENTAL POLICIES FOR THE AMAZON AND THE STATE OF PARÁ ................................... 55
1. ECONOMIC AND ECOLOGICAL MACRO-ZONING (MACRO-ZONEAMENTO ECOLÓGICO E ECONÔMICO) ................. 56
2. THE PARÁ RURAL PROGRAM .......................................................................................................................... 58
3. FEDERAL GOVERNMENT PROJECTS FOR THE AMAZON AND PARÁ ....................................................................... 60
4. THE BR-163 PLAN FOR SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT ...................................................................................... 61
5. POLICIES FOR CONFRONTING GRILAGEM ........................................................................................................ 64
CONCLUSION .................................................................................................................................................... 70

CHAPTER III
Illegal Confiscation of Land and Violation of Human Rights:
The Case of Rondon do Pará ............................................................................................ 73
1. A HISTORY OF TERRITORIAL OCCUPATION ...................................................................................................... 75
2. ILLEGAL LAND OCCUPATION AND THE ............................................................................................................. 76
CONCENTRATION OF LAND IN RONDON DO PARÁ ............................................................................................... 76
3. THE STRUGGLE FOR LAND IN RONDON DO PARÁ ............................................................................................ 81
4. HUMAN RIGHTS DEFENDERS ......................................................................................................................... 84
CONCLUSION .................................................................................................................................................... 86

CHAPTER IV
ANAPU: PUBLIC FUNDS, THE FALSIFICATION OF LAND PROPERTY
DOCUMENTS AND ALTERNATIVE FORMS OF DEVELOPMENT ..................................................... 89
1. A HISTORY OF LAND OCCUPATION ................................................................................................................. 90
2. PUBLIC FUNDS AND AGRARIAN CONFLICT ....................................................................................................... 92
3. SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT PROJECTS (PDS) ................................................................................................ 94
4. HUMAN RIGHTS DEFENDERS: AN EMBLEMATIC CASE OF A MURDER FORETOLD ................................................ 97
5. HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS, IMPUNITY AND FEDERALIZATION ...................................................................... 102
6. CRIMINALIZING WORKERS AND ACTIVISTS .................................................................................................... 104
CONCLUSION .................................................................................................................................................. 108
HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS IN THE AMAZON: CONFLICT AND VIOLENCE IN THE STATE OF PARÁ

CHAPTER V
TERRA DO MEIO: THE FINAL FRONTIER OF FEAR ................................................................ 111
1. LOCATION AND CONTEXT ............................................................................................................................. 111
2. ENVIRONMENTAL DESTRUCTION AND VIOLENCE IN TERRA DO MEIO .............................................................. 114
3. STATE PRESENCE IN THE REGION .................................................................................................................. 118
CONCLUSION .................................................................................................................................................. 120

CHAPTER VI
SITUATION OF COMPLETE ABANDONMENT: THE CASE OF CASTELO DOS SONHOS .................. 123
1. HISTORY OF THE REGION’S OCCUPATION ...................................................................................................... 124
2. ILLEGAL LAND APPROPRIATION AND CONCENTRATION IN CASTELO DOS SONHOS ............................................. 125
3. CASTELO DOS SONHOS: ABSENCE, OMISSION, AND COLLUSION OF PUBLIC AUTHORITIES WITH LOCAL ELITES ... 128
4. POLICIES TO COMBAT DEFORESTATION ......................................................................................................... 130
5. THE STRUGGLE FOR LAND: THE BARTOLOMEU MORAIS DA SILVA ENCAMPMENT .............................................. 132
6. HUMAN RIGHTS DEFENDERS: THE CONTEXT OF PLANNED AND ANNOUNCED VIOLENCE ................................. 134
7. AN EXEMPLARY CASE OF HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATION: THE DEATH OF BRASÍLIA .............................................. 138

CHAPTER VII
THE STRUGGLE FOR ENVIRONMENTAL PRESERVATION: THE CASE OF PORTO DE MOZ ............ 141
1. THE LAND OWNERSHIP ISSUE ...................................................................................................................... 143
2. LOGGING EXPLOITATION IN THE REGION ...................................................................................................... 149
3. THE STRUGGLE FOR THE PRESERVATION OF THE ENVIRONMENT ...................................................................... 151
4. THE CREATION OF THE “VERDE PARA SEMPRE” EXTRACTIVE RESERVE ............................................................. 154
5. HUMAN RIGHTS DEFENDERS: FIGHTS AND THREATS ...................................................................................... 156
CONCLUSION .................................................................................................................................................. 157

CHAPTER VIII
RECOMMENDATIONS FOR THE STATE OF PARÁ ...................................................................... 159
1. RECOMMENDATIONS TO COMBAT VIOLENCE AND IMPUNITY .......................................................................... 159
2. RECOMMENDATIONS ON SLAVE LABOR .......................................................................................................... 160
3. RECOMMENDATIONS FOR THE PROTECTION OF HUMAN RIGHTS DEFENDERS .................................................. 161
4. RECOMMENDATIONS FOR AGRARIAN REFORM ............................................................................................... 162
4.1 RECOMMENDATIONS TO RONDON DO PARÁ, CASTELO DOS SONHOS AND ANAPU ............................................................. 162
5. RECOMMENDATIONS TO COMBAT GRILAGEM ................................................................................................ 163
5.1 SPECIFIC RECOMMENDATIONS TO ANAPU ....................................................................................................................... 164
5.2 SPECIFIC RECOMMENDATIONS TO RONDON DO PARÁ ...................................................................................................... 165
6. RECOMMENDATIONS TO TACKLE THE PROBLEM OF DEFORESTATION ............................................................... 165
6.1 RECOMMENDATIONS TO PORTO DE MOZ, CASTELO DOS SONHOS AND ANAPU ................................................................. 166
6.2 RECOMMENDATIONS TO TERRA DO MEIO ..................................................................................................................... 166
7. RECOMMENDATIONS TO COMBAT CORRUPTION IN PUBLIC BODIES ................................................................. 167

ANNEXES ...................................................................................................................... 169


ANNEX I — LEADERS OF SOCIAL MOVEMENTS AND OTHER ORGANIZATIONS
MURDERED IN THE STATE OF PARÁ ................................................................................................................... 171
ANNEX II — PEOPLE THREATENED WITH DEATH IN THE STATE OF PARÁ ............................................................ 173
ANNEX III — EMPLOYERS FINED FOR MAKING USE OF SLAVE LABOR
IN THE STATE OF PARÁ (PORTARIA 540, 15 DE OCTOBER 2004) ................................................................................................................ 179

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HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS IN THE AMAZON: CONFLICT AND VIOLENCE IN THE STATE OF PARÁ

Introduction

“We never know the hour of the attack. I can’t even go to church. They have finished with our
life while we still live. But I am going to continue until the end and I want that this history
not be a history of death, but a history of life, of the life of the rural workers.”
Maria Joel da Costa, president of the Rural Workers Union of Rondon do Pará

“I’ve lived in this area for 22 yearsz I work with all these people.... We came occupying the
land hand in hand, fighting . . . We looked for these PDSs already in 1994, because all these
people are migrants and left places where they don’t have the means to survive anymore, like
in the Northeast, because the forest is gone. So, our plan of many years is to create a sustainable
area, where there is a future, where the forest is not gone. . . . This project, that INCRA has
endorsed and supports gave us all the reason to create this project, by which the people are
going to survive in a dignified manner.”
Sister Dorothy Stang

T his research was motivated in large part by the stories of the lives of human rights
defenders such as union leader Maria Joel da Costa and missionary Dorothy Stang.
These two women are examples of the fight carried out by legal landowners, riverine
communities, the landless, rural workers, extractive reserve workers, and indigenous
communities, all working in defense of human rights and the preservation of the
Amazon.1
President of the Rural Workers’ Union of Rondon do Pará, Maria Joel da Costa
(widow of union leader José Dutra da Costa, known as “Dezinho,” assassinated in
2000), is an uncompromising activist for social justice and agrarian reform. Sister Dorothy
Stang was a missionary who fought for rural workers’ rights, environmental justice, and
the preservation of the Amazon. Sister Dorothy was assassinated and Maria Joel is one
of the many people who continue to receive death threats. The resistance and work of
these women, and that of many other courageous individuals, is a hallmark of the fight
for land in the state of Pará.

1
The English-language version of this report was made after the original launch of the Portuguese-language version;
thus, we have included herein a few updates in Chapters 3 and 4, in order to accurately reflect last-minute develop-
ments and present the facts as fully and precisely as possible.

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HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS IN THE AMAZON: CONFLICT AND VIOLENCE IN THE STATE OF PARÁ

The records of the Pastoral Land Commission (CPT), the social justice arm of the
Brazilian Catholic Church, illustrate a gloomy reality of more than 700 peasants, rural
workers, and human rights defenders assassinated in the last 30 years in the state of
Pará. The majority of the deaths were registered in the southern and southeastern regions
of Pará. Many of these deaths were clearly selective, as the victims were people who
performed important functions as labor and religious leaders and human rights defenders.
The objective of the assassinations is clear: to weaken the organizations and silence the
fight of the rural workers.
This deeply entrenched situation involving conflicts and violence in Pará is directly
related to the concentration of land ownership. This includes the illegal appropriation
of public land, known as “grilagem.”2 Pará has more than 30 million hectares of illegally
appropriated land. Grilagem has formed the context for various forms of human rights
violations. These violations range from the degradation of the natural resource base and
loss of biodiversity through the criminal extraction of forest resources, to the violent
expulsion and arrests of legal landowners, extractive reserve workers, riverine and indi-
genous communities, and other traditional populations that have occupied the land for
decades. The violations are exacerbated by the practice of modern-day slavery and
culminate in appalling numbers of assassinations of rural workers and their leaders.
Faced with this reality, in February of this year the Rural Workers’ Union of Rondon
do Pará, the CPT, Terra de Direitos (Land Rights, or TDD, a human rights NGO based
in Curitiba, Paraná), and Justiça Global (Global Justice, a human rights NGO based in
Rio de Janeiro) requested a public hearing with then Special Secretary for Human
Rights Nilmário Miranda and representatives of the Ministry of Agrarian Development
so that they could hear the history of threats, violence, and assassinations and take the
necessary actions that many organizations have requested for a long time. At that time,
Special Secretary Miranda resolved to hold a public hearing in Rondon, to which repre-
sentatives of the federal, state, and municipal governments would be invited, in addition
to members of the State Court and Public Prosecutor’s office.
Unfortunately, Maria Joel da Costa, a symbol of the resistance and struggles of the
rural workers, could not speak at the public hearing. Fearing for their lives, she and
other leaders had to make themselves heard through people from outside the state who
were capable of denouncing the leaders and illegal acts of the “agricultural bandits”
without risking their lives after federal authorities left the region.
The representatives of the federal government traveled from Rondon do Pará to
Belém, the capital city of Pará, to launch the Human Rights Defenders’ Protection
Program on 3 February 2005. In the public hearing in Belém, Sister Dorothy Stang

2
The origin of the term grilagem comes from the word grilo, or cricket. The practice of forging documents and
property titles included leaving (fake) documents in a drawer full of crickets. After a few days these documents would
have the appearance of a legitimate, old property certificate. This rudimentary, but efficient practice spread quickly in
the Pará región. Those who illegally appropriate land came to be called grileiros.

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HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS IN THE AMAZON: CONFLICT AND VIOLENCE IN THE STATE OF PARÁ

made serious accusations of threats and intimidations that she and other rural workers
of Anapu had been suffering from grileiros, loggers, and large estate owners. Their armed
militias, acting with the collusion of the judiciary, were impeding the workers from
living permanently on the Sustainable Development Projects (PDS).3 The federal and
state authorities failed to take effective measures regarding the serious accusations that
Sister Dorothy and others made in the public hearing in Belém. A few days later, on 12
February 2005, Sister Dorothy was assassinated by gunshot at PDS Esperança (a
settlement she had helped found).
On that tragic day of Sister Dorothy’s murder, Minister of the Environment Marina
Silva was in Pará, in the city of Porto de Moz, to inaugurate the “Verde para Sempre”
Extractive Reserve (RESEX). The Brazilian Intelligence Agency (ABIN) affirmed that
the assassination of Sister Dorothy was a “message” to Minister Silva and to the Brazilian
government. The objective of this violent action by the landowners was to intimidate
the government and its employees from implementing environmental and agrarian po-
licies and programs in the Amazon.
Unfortunately, the presence of federal authorities has never represented a guarantee
for the respect for the human rights of the poorest populations nor for the preservation
of the environment. Historically, Brazilian State action in the Amazon has been marked
by a profound dichotomy. On one hand, it has served ostensibly to establish a
concentrated model of land and income as well as predatory development (i.e. through
the creation and establishment of colonization projects, financing large infrastructure
projects, and offering subsidies to large estate owners and grileiros). On the other hand,
it has not guaranteed the rights of poor traditional populations. Moreover, this population
was integrated in an extremely ill-conceived manner, ending up as cheaply-paid or slave
labor.
In addition to the omission, collusion, and continued action directed by the State,
action by judicial and executive authorities usually favors grileiros, large estate owners,
illegal loggers, etc. The judiciary is quick to authorize police action to evict rural workers
and imprison their leaders, thus granting innumerable benefits to large estate owners
and grileiros. Wealthy landowners who order the murders and pay the assassins (i.e.
hired gunmen, or pistoleiros) are rarely imprisoned or brought to justice. Prison sentences
are not completed and gunmen often act in collusion with the police. For the crimes
that do make it to court, judicial action is only possible after many years of fighting,

3
The objective of the Sustainable Development Projects (PDSs) is to ensure the simultaneous peaceful settlement of
traditional inhabitants of the Amazon (indigenous peoples, extractivists, riverine communities, landless workers, and
farmers) in areas of environmental interest, while encouraging sustainable use and non-invasive growth, within a
context in which human rights are respected and protected. The PDS concept was created by INCRA through Porta-
ria/Incra/P nº 477, on 4 November 1999 and detailed in Portaria/Incra/P nº 1.032 on 25 October 2000. Information
available from Diário Oficial da União, Section 1, nº 240, 12 December 2002. Available from http://www.in.gov.br/.
See also Chapter IV, section 3.

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HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS IN THE AMAZON: CONFLICT AND VIOLENCE IN THE STATE OF PARÁ

combined with continued pressure and complaints from rural workers and national and
international human rights organizations.
The impunity covers up the criminal acts performed by these groups. There is no
effort made by the judiciary or organs of public security. The slow pace of justice is
biased and reflects a capitulation to political and economic pressures, thereby slowing
down or otherwise negatively influencing the progress of the legal proceedings. This
penal lag has affected the majority of crimes against rural workers. Clearly, impunity
feeds the vicious cycle of violence against workers in Pará.
Pará’s government and judiciary have acted with alacrity when penalizing workers
and their leaders. A prime example is the recent execution of more than 40 preliminary
eviction notices of farms occupied in south and southeastern Pará. Most of the notices
were completed in June 2005. Almost 5,000 families were affected. The judicial decisions
that granted these notices did not take into account the workers’ human rights (right to
work, food, shelter, education) and instead were founded on the “absolute right to
property.” Additionally, they did not take into consideration fulfilling the “social function”
of land, as mandated by Article 186 of Brazil’s Federal Constitution. Furthermore,
many of these plots do not constitute private property since they are “owned” by grileiros
who illegally appropriated the public land in the first place. In a significant number of
these preliminary eviction notices, the National Institute for Colonization and Agrarian
Reform (INCA) had already begun initiating proceedings to dispossess or retake the
properties in question.
There has also been an increase in criminal charges and persecution, including
arbitrary arrests, as ways for civil and military police and the judiciary to weaken the
social movements, rural workers, and their struggles. The judges refer to the landless
workers as idle people who promote social instability by occupying public land or illegally
appropriated land. In the process, they ignore the constitutional mandate requiring the
implementation of agrarian reform as a public policy.
Consequently, the state is virtually absent from the formulation and implementa-
tion of social redistributive policies, resulting in increased poverty and environmental
destruction. On the other hand, there is active collusion as described above that further
entrenches impunity, generating more violence and violations of the human rights of legal
landowners, peasants, rural workers, extractive reserve workers, indigenous communities,
and human rights defenders. One example of this “absence” is that, beyond not completing
their own publicly stated goals of agrarian regularization and the settlement of families for
the past two years, the federal government has blocked more than 50% of the Ministry of
Agrarian Development’s 2005 budget destined for agrarian reform.
This state “absence” is evidenced in the many conflicts and numbers of rural workers
killed or threatened. These conflicts have taken the lives of many leaders in Pará. The
most well-known case is the massacre of Eldorado do Carajás that took the lives of 19
landless workers in 1996. Unfortunately this is not the only case. The barbarity of large
landowners continues to victimize workers and human rights defenders.

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HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS IN THE AMAZON: CONFLICT AND VIOLENCE IN THE STATE OF PARÁ

News about the devastation and assassinations in Pará fill the pages of local, natio-
nal, and international newspapers, raising public awareness through the actions of
individuals, labor unions, and principally, the voice of human rights defenders in the
region. The link between a model of development based on massive agribusiness (inclu-
ding the rapid advancement of soy cultivation in the Amazon), the exportation of lumber,
and the exercise of political power based on the “ownership” (oftentimes fraudulent) of
private property (large landowners, grilagem, private militias, and assassins) consequently
produces illegal and predatory appropriation of natural resources, loss of biodiversity,
and endangering and loss of the lives of rural workers, legal landowners, riverine com-
munities, extractive reserve workers, and indigenous communities of the Amazon.
The agrarian chaos in Pará has increased to such a degree that the federal govern-
ment has on many occasions ended up expropriating public areas illegally “owned” by
large landowners and paying the “landowners” for them, due to pressure from the large
“landowners” and their private militias. A classic example of this situation was the
dispossession of the Fazenda Flor da Mata in 1998, located in São Félix do Xingu. This
area, fraudulently “owned,” was located in an indigenous area and employed slave labor.
In spite of all these illegal acts, the area was expropriated and the reparation (with payment
for the land and its improvements) given to the “owners” who held false land titles.
Defenders of human rights and the environment fight and work on behalf of a
development model different than the current one established in the Amazon region in
general and in Pará in particular. Such a model proposed by the defenders is based on
social justice, a sustainable environment, and respect for human rights. Maria Joel da
Costa and Sister Dorothy Stang are protagonists in this struggle. They are symbols of
the fight against “landowners,” loggers, and large estate owners who are murdering
people and criminally appropriating and destroying the Brazilian Amazon.
The constant complaints to government authorities, dispatching of ministers and
military or judicial task forces to the region, and actions such as the establishment of the
International Tribunal of Crimes of Large Estates in October of 2003 all seek to call
attention to the seriousness of the situation. This Tribunal raised the issues and de-
monstrated the systematic violation of human rights on the part of large estate owners,
committed with the collusion of state authorities. Various cases analyzed in this report
have already become exemplary in Pará.
There have been many actions and mobilizations undertaken as a direct result of
the seriousness of the problem. After Sister Dorothy’s death, for example, the National
Forum for Agrarian Reform and Justice in the Countryside organized a national and
international campaign, called “Agrarian Reform: Sustainable Development and Hu-
man Rights.” It was named thus in order to pressure the federal and state governments
to adopt effective means to investigate and hold accountable the criminals involved and
protect individuals under threat in Pará.
The CPT, Justiça Global, and Terra de Direitos undertook the present investigations
and prepared this report in order to contribute to the dialogue regarding the question of

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HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS IN THE AMAZON: CONFLICT AND VIOLENCE IN THE STATE OF PARÁ

violence and impunity that victimizes rural workers and human rights defenders in the
Amazon. This report has the following objectives:

l to place the need for agrarian reform, combating violence and impunity, and
promoting sustainable development on the agenda of Brazilian society with a par-
ticular focus being on raising the awareness of urban areas;
l to encourage immediate action from governmental authorities, particularly the

civil and federal police and judiciary, against impunity, environmental crime,
grilagem, and threats, intimidation, “disappearances,” and assassinations faced by
human rights defenders;
l to mobilize international civil society and human rights organizations, the Orga-

nization of American States (OAS), and the United Nations (UN) to pressure
different spheres of government (federal and state executives, legislative, and judi-
cial branches) to implement effective actions for agrarian reform, environmental
preservation/conservation, and the protection of human rights.

This report is based on the full spectrum of human rights violations. It is not
limited simply to the defense of civil rights (right to life, freedom of movement, physical
integrity); rather, it includes economic, social, cultural, and environmental rights
(ESCER). These indivisible human rights include the rights to land, a clean environment,
work, and water, among others. It is unquestionable that the discussion regarding ESCER
creates barriers which will be confronted in the context of the development proposals
for the Amazon, either on the part of the federal and state governments or private
individuals such as large estate owners, agroindustrialists, and loggers.
The debate around human rights violations recognizes the dimensions of reparation,
protection, and promotion of ECSER, demonstrating the difficulties and limitations of
access to these rights by rural workers in Pará. This extends the necessary benchmark in
order to guarantee human rights by the state and civil society’s sttrugle for rights. Hu-
man rights defenders defend their rights through their concrete, daily actions establishing
a direct correlation between their struggle and the oppression against them which attempts
to inhibit their role.
The present report focuses particular attention on the topic of human rights
defenders, a group not recognized by the UN until 1998. At that time, the UN declared
that human rights defenders were “individuals, groups, and associations of society who
promote and protect universally recognized human rights and fundamental freedoms”
(Resolution 53/144, 9 December 1998). In the expanded understanding of this concept
in the UN Declaration of Human Rights, “human rights defenders are every one who,
individually or collectively, act to promote and protect fundamental human rights.”
As a result of the recommendations of the Special Representative of the UN
Secretary-General on Human Rights Defenders, Brazil’s National Human Rights De-
fenders’ Protection Program was launched in Brasília in October 2004 by the Special

18
HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS IN THE AMAZON: CONFLICT AND VIOLENCE IN THE STATE OF PARÁ

Secretariat for Human Rights and re-launched in February 2005 in Belém). While the
Protection Program remains almost entirely on paper, its organizational mandate de-
clares that “the human rights defenders can integrate with unions, civil associations,
religious groups, community groups, social movements, individual human rights
defenders, police corporations, individuals defending the environment and combating
corruption, the Public Prosecutor’s Office, the magistrate, and state fiscal sectors and
other institutions.”
This concept of human rights defenders does not deal with a few isolated individuals,
but rather with all those who act in defense of human rights, including rural workers
and community leaders. Therefore, this report adopts a broad concept of human rights
defenders, as implied by the National Human Rights Defenders Protection Program.
From the initial line of this report, in the impressive deposition of Maria Joel da Costa,
to the murders of countless rural workers and leaders such as Sister Dorothy, action by
human rights defenders is the key to combatting daily human rights violations as well as
developing and implementing projects based on strengthening socio-environmental
stewardship and human rights.
This publication seeks to ensure that the stories of Maria Joel da Costa and so
many others in Pará do not remain in obscurity and to provide some degree of protec-
tion for them, such that their lives do not end tragically as happened to Sister Dorothy
Stang and dozens of other leaders assassinated in Pará in past years. The organizations
responsible for this report wish it to be an instrument for use by rural workers, riverine
communities, extractive reserve workers, legal landowners, other human rights defenders
of Pará, Brazilian government and Pará state officials, domestic and international acade-
mia, and international civil society organizations in their fight for the realization of an
environmentally sustainable agrarian reform that strengthens human rights as an
indispensable step in the direction of developing a truly sustainable Amazon.
Due to the vast territorial extension of Pará and diversity of the conflicts therein,
this research looks at certain geographical areas, themes, and battles as emblematic of
the reality of the average rural Paraense (a person from the state of Pará). The develop-
ment models established in the region have led to concentrated land ownership,
falsification of land titles, illegal lumber extraction, uncontrolled growth of agribusiness,
and in large part are responsible for the violence and impunity in the region. This
report analyzes the agrarian situation and violence in Pará (Chapter I) and explains the
relationship between environmental degradation, large estate owner actions, and hu-
man rights violations.
Chapter II discusses governmental policies and programs — designed and
implemented or in the process of implementation — as attempts by the government to
respond to popular demands for rights in Pará. The objective is not to establish an
exhaustive description and analyze all state programs, but to systematize some actions
of the state and federal governments, as examples of government policies implemented
in the Amazon.

19
HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS IN THE AMAZON: CONFLICT AND VIOLENCE IN THE STATE OF PARÁ

The governmental policies adopted to combat the illegalities and irregularities are,
where existent, extremely weak. The analysis of the policies and programs to combat
grilagem and environmental devastation demonstrates those policies’ fragility in
responding fully and in a timely fashion to the destructive actions that continue to
devastate Pará. Indeed, the present government’s policies continue being contradictory,
at the very least, because they look for ways to implement sustainable development
based on agrarian reform actions and environmental preservation policies, while
simultaneously devoting large amounts of public resources to stimulate economically
productive activities based on massive agribusiness expansion, promotion of environ-
mental devastation, and frequently, increase in the illegal appropriation of land and the
use of violence.
In addition to the denouncements and struggles of rural workers, the report
highlights the issues of deforestation, illegal land occupation, and human rights violations.
It analyzes the difficulties in the implementation of a sustainable agrarian reform program
and the demarcation of extractive reserves.
Representatives of the CPT, Justiça Global, and Terra de Direitos visited the com-
munities of Rondon do Pará, Anapu, Terra do Meio, Castelo dos Sonhos, and Porto de
Moz to gather the data included and analyzed in this report (Chapters III to VII). These
chapters illustrate the criminal acts of large estate owners, illegal land grabbers, loggers,
and oftentimes, criminal actions of government authorities themselves. The various
aspects of the struggle are described, focusing on the actions undertaken by legal lando-
wners, riverine communities, rural workers, and human rights defenders as they fight
for agrarian reform and sustainable development that will ensure better standards of
living for themselves, their families, and their communities, as well as the preservation
of the ecological integrity of the Amazon.
Among these fights and proposals for development for the Amazon, the fight of
the rural workers to establish PDSs deserves special attention. These are projects conceived
of by the social movements that make it possible to combine production and conservation
of the Amazon Forest. Additionally, various other proposals come from the lives and
experiences of these traditional populations with their environment, creating a form of
sustainable development not found in other models imposed on the region from without.
Recommendations are presented (Chapter VIII) that seek to contribute concretely
to this struggle, specifying for each the relevant entities responsible for undertaking the
suggested actions. This report is not an end in itself. Beyond being an instrument for
reporting and denouncing human rights violations and environmental destruction, it
seeks to contribute to the transformation of this grave reality found in today’s Pará.
In this sense, it could help in the work of defenders in the processes of resistance
and defense of social and economic human rights of the Amazon population.

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HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS IN THE AMAZON: CONFLICT AND VIOLENCE IN THE STATE OF PARÁ

21
HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS IN THE AMAZON: CONFLICT AND VIOLENCE IN THE STATE OF PARÁ

22
HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS IN THE AMAZON: CONFLICT AND VIOLENCE IN THE STATE OF PARÁ

Chapter I
LAND OWNERSHIP AND AGRARIAN
DYNAMICS IN THE STATE OF PARÁ

L ocated in the eastern part of the Brazilian Amazon, Pará is one of the states most
affected by the government’s Amazon-related policies, including its “agrarian policy”
with the implementation of various agrarian reform settlements.4 Also, incentives to
encourage exports and construction of infrastructure projects such as roads and drainage
systems have created new investments in the production of livestock that has in turn
increased social and environmental problems.
The official plans for the occupation of the Amazon were based on the belief that
the region was “demographically empty.” During the Vargas government in the 1940s,
the first official plan to occupy the western center of the Amazon was developed, inclu-
ding the area of highway BR-163. This plan was known as “The March to the West.”
The Secretariat of the Amazon Improvement Plan (Plano de Valorização da Amazônia,
SPVEA) was given the responsibility for organizing this project.
The military governments after 1964 defined a national integration strategy that
was initiated by “Operation Amazon,” whose ideology formed the basis of “Project
Rondon,” namely, to “incorporate but not to let go.” The strategy also included support
field investments and tax incentives from the Superintendency for the Development of
the Amazon (Superintendência de Desenvolvimento da Amazônia, or SUDAM). The
military governments transformed the capitalists of the south and southeast into large
landowners who invested in the region, favoring the expansion of livestock that destroyed
the Amazon Forest.5
In 1966 SUDAM was established by Law 5.173 as the legal substitute to SPVEA.
Created during the military dictatorship of General Humberto Castelo Branco, SUDAM
was part of a strategic plan by the military to promote the development and occupation

4
The majority of the settlement is concentrated in the southern regions of Pará, where for many years peasants have
fought for their right to access to land, i.e. settlements, or to remain on the land, i.e. maintenance and regularization of
possession of their plots.
5
Plan for the Regional Sustainable Development for the Area Influenced by Highway BR-163, Cuiabá-Santarém. Inter-
Ministerial Working Group. Decree of 15 March 2004.

23
HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS IN THE AMAZON: CONFLICT AND VIOLENCE IN THE STATE OF PARÁ

of the Amazon, diminishing regional inequalities through the integration of the region
into the rest of the country.6
In 1970, the government of General Emilio Garratazu Médici launched the Nati-
onal Integration Plan (PIN) with the objective to occupy and populate the immense
“empty space” of the Amazon. For that purpose, the National Institute of Colonization
and Agrarian Reform (Instituto Nacional de Colonização e Reforma Agrária, INCRA)
carried out an analysis of the land in the state of Pará, including for example, the area
that today forms part of the region of Anapu. This study confirmed that the area surveyed
had no private property, and all these areas could be incorporated in the plan for
occupation in the Amazon.7
One of the PIN projects was the construction of two big highways in the Amazon
connecting the region with the rest of the country — the Transamazônica and the
Cuiabá-Santarém. The state of Pará had accelerated and consolidated its physical
integration after the 1970s with the construction of these highways. The opening of the
roads Belém-Brasília (BR-010) and Cuiabá-Santarém (BR-163) transformed the history
of Pará.
The expansion into and human settlement through road construction has followed
different patterns during the past 35 years. There have been periods of faster expansion
(1975-85), slower (1986-1997), and an acceleration since then. These periods translate
into global rhythms of deforestation and violence, which are linked to the importance
given to dynamic sectors such as large agribusiness interests (mainly of cattle, minerals,
and the cultivation of soy).
The opening of new highways and accelerating process of land occupation in the
state of Pará has reactivated old economic activities, similar to what occurred in the
northeast, south, and west of Pará with soy cultivation and mineral exploitation. This
phenomenon has reactivated non-explored areas such as Anapu, Castelos dos Sonhos
(Altamira), Novo Progresso, and São Félix do Xingu. These new dynamics have
accelerated the process of uncontrolled exploitation of the territory, which in turn has
resulted in deforestation and a spike in violence involving new and old inhabitants of
those areas.
Since the Administration of Governor Almir Gabriel (1994), the state has prioriti-
zed investment in commodity products for export. The activities of new exploitation
areas and the reactivation of old ones is set up in this logic of investments on the
productive scale that dovetails with a national cattle-raising policy, which in turn is

6
Miranda, Verônica Maria. Analysis of the work developed by SUDAM and by SUFRAMA for the development of
the Amazon. Legislative Advisor of the Chamber of Deputies, February 2002. Available at: http://www2.camara.gov.br/
publicacoes/estnottec/tema14/ index.html/view? searchterm=SUDAM
7
Information from Greepeace: Grilagem de terras na Amazônia: Negócio bilionário ameaça a floresta e populações tradi-
cionais, available at: http://www.greenpeace.org.br/amazonia/pdf/grilagem.pdf.

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HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS IN THE AMAZON: CONFLICT AND VIOLENCE IN THE STATE OF PARÁ

centered in large production for export. The results of the implementation of this model
in the state have been violence, deforestation, unemployment, and profound misery,
affecting both cities and countryside.

1. ILLEGAL APPROPRIATION OF LAND AND TERRITORIAL MANAGEMENT

The illegal seizure/appropriation of public lands, known in Portuguese as


“grilagem,”8 is a motif in the history of the development of Brazil’s pronounced state of
land concentration. According to a survey carried out in 1999 by the federal govern-
ment, there are approximately 100 million hectares of land that have been illegally
seized by individuals in Brazil.9 This area is immense; it is equivalent to approximately
three times the size of Germany, twice the size of Spain, or 10 times the size of Portugal.

8
Grilagem occurs in various forms in different regions of the country; more generally it occurs with the connivance of
the Property Registrars that register nonexistent lands or supply false land titles. Grilagem de Terras — Perfil dos Propri-
etários/Detentores de Grandes Imóveis Rurais que não Atenderam à Notificação da Portaria 558/99, available at http://
www.incra.gov.br.
9
Livro Branco da Grilagem, p. 12, available at http://www.incra.gov.br, consulted on 20 July 2005.

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HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS IN THE AMAZON: CONFLICT AND VIOLENCE IN THE STATE OF PARÁ

Grilagem, according to data from the Pará state government, has been facilitated
by the weak system of land registry. It historically came about through the use of a
variety of mechanisms: falsification of titles and registries; written registries of purchase
and selling without appropriate legal documentation denoting that the properties had
been inherited from one’s forebears; invasion of areas to cut down trees and raise livestock;
and addition of new areas on ownership documents. Another key factor that permitted
the growth of grilagem was the overlapping responsibilities between federal and state
governments to carry out property registry during history. According to the Ministry of
Agrarian Development,
The grilagem of lands normally happens with the involvement of officers of the Property
Registrars who often register areas one on top of the other, that is, they exist only on paper.
There is also direct and indirect participation of governmental bodies that accept land titles of
vacant state or federal land to their political cronies, or even to nonexistent people, names
created only to cheat the registry’s office into receiving title to a piece of land. After obtaining
the land title from the public notary, the forger then repeats the same process at the state Land
Institute, before INCRA’s registry, and the National Inland Revenue Service. The objective is
to obtain registries that would give this fraudulent act a semblance of consistent legality.10
In 2000, the Chamber of Deputies established a Parliamentary Commission of
Inquiry (Comissão Parlamentar de Inquérito, CPI) to look into the occupation of public
lands, particularly through grilagem, in the Amazonian Region.11 This CPI concluded
that:
The notary and registry activity have greater importance in the context of grilagem because it
is through the drafting of certificates and registries that are apparently legitimate that the
titles will then serve to sustain the illegal appropriation of land.
The situation of grilagem in northern Brazil is more acute than that found in the
rest of the country. INCRA information states that this region is responsible for more
than half of the area suspected of grilagem in the whole of Brazil. The extension of
grilagem is astonishing: information from the Ministry of Agrarian Development in
2001 on properties covering more than 10,000 hectares demonstrate that 0.2% of the
suspected illegally occupied agricultural lands comprise 26% of the territory of the
region.12

10
Grilagem: balanço definitivo. Available at http://www.mda.gov.br, last accessed on 20 July 2005.
11
The Parliamentary Commission of Inquiry on the Occupation of Public Lands in the Amazonian Region was
created by Representative Sérgio Carvalho, among others, through Request nº 2/99, and was installed by an Act of the
Presidency on 14 March 2000, composed of 17 members. The final report and other documents related to CPI
workers are available at http://www.camara.gov.br/internet/comissao/.
12
Sabbato, Alberto Di. Perfil dos Proprietários/detentores de grandes imóveis rurais que não atenderam a notificação da
Portaria 558/99. Projeto de Cooperação Técnica INCRA/FAO. Projeto UTF/BRA/051.

26
HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS IN THE AMAZON: CONFLICT AND VIOLENCE IN THE STATE OF PARÁ

In this sense, the final report of the CPI on grilagem, presented on 29 August
2001, pointed to the existence of more than 30 million hectares illegally seized in Pará.
In the state of Amazonas, the numbers were equally high at 37 million hectares. In the
states of Acre and Rondônia, at least 1.5 millions hectares were identified as having
been illegally seized.
According to INCRA, the characteristics of landowners/managers of properties
suspected of grilagem in the north, as compared to that of other regions of the country,
are also different: the average size of large landholdings in the north is 69 hectares. The
north also has the largest number of properties per landowner (1,4 property per
landowner). Among the northern states, Pará has the largest average landholding size
per owner, approximately 88,000 hectares per owner.
Around 15 million hectares of land have only been included in the government’s
accounting when INCRA examined the landholdings of less than 10,000 hectares
registered in Pará registrar offices. Only the three main grileiros in Pará, together, claim
to possess approximately 20 million hectares (Carlos Medeiros claims to possess appro-
ximately 13 million hectares, the CRAlmeida (Cecílio Rego de Almeida) Group claims
another 6 million hectares, and Jari Celulose 3 million hectares).
The “Ghost Carlos Medeiros,” as we will see in more detail below, claims ownership
of 1,200 (false) property titles, spread over more than 83 cities and totaling more than
13 million hectares. INCRA is ready to conclude a survey that would include 300
irregularly titled proprieties whose ownership could not be proven with documents
from registry offices.
This process of land concentration in Pará13 has an essential component, beyond
the super-exploitation of work and natural resources (as a way to accumulate and
concentrate economic resources) and including grilagem14 of public lands. It can be said
that grilagem goes hand-in-hand with the successive circles of regional “development,”
particularly in terms of mineral wealth, lumber, livestock, and more recently, soy
production for export.
As for Pará, the report of CPI of the Chamber of Deputies describes in detail some
of the biggest cases of illegal land appropriation in Brazil. The report shows that one
single case refers to the illegal appropriation of roughly 12 million hectares, corresponding
to 8% of the land surface of the state of Pará or 1% of the entire country.15 As a
comparison, this single case represents the illegal appropriation of territory equivalent
to the total surface of Denmark, the Netherlands, and Switzerland put together.

13
The GINI Index for Pará is the 4th higher in Brazil (0.87), being above the national average of 0.86.
14
Confirming this fact, the report of CPI of grilagem analyzes the role of state authorities: “The successive governors of
the state were actionless before all this situation. And, in the few times that they served as mediators, trying to discipli-
ne the already chaotic agrarian situation of Pará, almost always favored the interests, by permitting concessions and
donations of lands and when alienating public areas with huge dimensions, promoting, with such unplanned actions,
and growing disaggregation in the previously agrarian structure.” (Final Report, p. 236)
15
Report available at http://www.camara.gov.br.

27
HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS IN THE AMAZON: CONFLICT AND VIOLENCE IN THE STATE OF PARÁ

This increase in forged documents started in the middle of the 1970s, when a
“person” by the name of Carlos Medeiros (proof now exists that he was an invention)
received an Adjudication Certificate that would have been transmitted through an
inheritance process of Manoel Fernandes de Souza and Manoel Joaquim Pereira. The
properties described in the certificate had been declared “legitimate” in 1975 by the
judge of the 2nd Civil Court of Belém, Armando Bráulio Paul da Silva, in an illegal
procedure.16
With ownership of this document and always through solicitors and representati-
ves, “Carlos Medeiros” began selling parts of the land to third parties, negotiating plots
of different sizes and spreading new fraudulent documents. With these false docu-
ments, countless land titles belonging to original communities and the land titles
belonging to owners of small, yet legal, plots were taken illegally. The judicial process
that produced illegal land titles disappeared from the Registrar’s office where the docu-
ments had been filed in 1981.
The files of this process were only restored (as with their disappearance, no one
knows who removed them from, or restored them, to the files) in 1993. That same year,
the judicial authorities decided that part of the areas sold by “Carlos Medeiros” should
be properly registered (that is, legalized). The inventory and all of the steps taken in that
process were then voided in 1995, when the Court of Justice for the state of Pará
granted a favorable decision to an appeal filed by Pará’s Land Institute (Instituto de
Terras do Estado do Pará, ITERPA).
During his testimony before the Parliamentary Commission of Inquiry of the
Legislative Assembly of Pará,17 journalist Lúcio Flávio described the actions of groups
that illegally occupy millions of hectares thusly:

Then, in reality, the origin [of these frauds] was orchestrated by Dr. Veigas. It was a group of
slick lawyers who frequented and circulated through the Court of Justice, one of whom is the
brother of an Appeals Judge, who invented the plot. From the moment that they invented the
“catch”, other smarter and more powerful judges started using it. The 22 cases of authorization
to forest management in areas of illegal land occupation “belonging” to “Carlos Medeiros,”
which Dr. Felício Pontes [Federal General Attorney of Pará] denounced here, is in fact a new
generation of smarter guys who are using this method to make huge amounts of money,
much more than what those who plotted the scheme were able to do.

16
According to the dates of the report, the mentioned judge was removed from the bench for committing various
irregularities.
17
Pará State Legislative Assembly set out this CPI in 1999 to “investigate denunciations of irregularities in the land
acquired by the CRAlmeida company in the municipality of Altamira, Pará state.”

28
HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS IN THE AMAZON: CONFLICT AND VIOLENCE IN THE STATE OF PARÁ

Reporting this incredible case of illegal land occupation in Pará, Flávio wrote:18

Pará offers a good example on the need to control external judicial power, one of the burning
topics currently in Brazil. The case involves the second biggest illegal land occupation in the
country and probably the world. This is an area located in the fertile valley of the river Xingu,
800 kilometers to the west of Belém, which is currently being impacted by new economic
activities. There are at least five million hectares of illegal land occupation and fraudulently
appropriated public lands, that might increase to seven million hectares.

The journalist continues:

With this size, it corresponds to six percent of Pará, the second largest state in the country.
This area, comprising 1.2 million square kilometers, is equivalent to the area of Colombia,
where 45 million people live (the population of Pará is 7 million).

The chain of ownership of this land, claimed by the CRAlmeida Group, shows
that it belongs to the government. The area was appropriated by the CRAlmeida Group
during the time when the government of Pará and federal agencies made leasing contracts
with private parties of areas producing chestnuts, rubber, and caucho19 . The contracts
were generally valid for one year; they automatically expired when not renewed. They
guaranteed the exploitation of products extracted from the forest.
Between 1995 and 2002, the state of Pará saw the consolidation of what is consi-
dered to be the largest landed estate in the world. This is an area belonging to firms such
as Rondon Ecological Projects and Industry; and Trade, Export, and Navigation of
Xingu Ltda (INCENXIL), covering six million hectares (60,000 square kilometers) in
the region of Altamira (Terra de Meio). Both of these companies are controlled by the
construction firm Cecílio Rego de Almeida. This estate extends beyond the entire territory
of six Brazilian states (Sergipe, Alagoas, Rio de Janeiro, Espírito Santo, Rio Grande do
Norte, and Paraíba).
According to the Parliamentary Commission of Inquiry of the Legislative Assembly
of the state of Pará, this large landed area was created through the illegal appropriation
of public lands belonging to INCRA, the National Indigenous Foundation (Fundação
Nacional do Índio, FUNAI), and the General-Staff of the Armed Forces.
With regard to the objectives of the firm Cecilio Rego de Almeida, after intense
societal pressure, ITERPA requested the nullification of registrations made in the registry’s

18
Lúcio Flávio Pinto, Grilagem: uma história confusa e uma moral nada recomendável, Jornal Pessoal, Belém, 2 Septem-
ber 2004. On January 21 2005, Lúcio Flávio “registered a complaint of aggression and death threat against him, by
businessman Ronaldo Maiorana and his security guards” (Ronaldo Maiorana is the owner of the largest communica-
tion entreprise of Pará). See Lúcio Flávio’s clarification note at http://www.amazonia.org.br.
19
Caucho is a variety of latex rubber.

29
HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS IN THE AMAZON: CONFLICT AND VIOLENCE IN THE STATE OF PARÁ

office of Altamira. The files of this legal procedure disappeared for two–and-one-half
years. When it reappeared, it contained a sentence (dated a month after the files had
disappeared) in favor of the illegal land occupiers.
Recently, grilagem suffered a setback as a result of attempts to confront these illegal
activities. The Office of the Federal Public Prosecutor filed a civil suit against the Brazilian
Institute of Environment and Natural Resources (IBAMA) and INCENXIL (Indústria,
Comércio, Exportação e Navegação do Xingu Ltda.), which is controlled by the CRAlmeida
Group, with the objective of blocking the compensation IBAMA would pay this company
for the confiscation of approximately 4.7 million hectares of land located in Terra do
Meio.20 It is noteworthy that these plots had false property titles, by-products of the
falsification schemes mentioned above. The Office of the Public Prosecutor obtained
protection in anticipation, preventing IBAMA from making any payments to INCENXIL
as compensation for the expropriation of the Curuá Ranch.
In the past, the struggles for land in the Xingu region were a result of disputes for
extractive products in the forest; currently, the battle is for mahogany, known as the
“green gold of the Amazon.” This comes at a cost of US$1,800 per cubic meter in the
European market, while locals receive only U$100 in the interior of the Amazon Forest.
Another difference in modern-day natural resource exploitation is that, where previou-
sly cultivators and traders were merchants and so-called “colonels” of the Pará oligarchy,
today they are big landowners from the south and center of the country, soy producers,
and multinational companies exploiting minerals.
According to the final report of the Parliamentary Commission of Inquiry in the
Pará Legislative Assembly in 1999,

...[T]he situation is so chaotic and critical that there exist cities whose registered area in the
registry office include individual properties larger than the given city’s territorial extension.
...[For example,] the city of Acará with a surface of 854,200 hectares has 1,040,112.7 hectares
registered in the registry’s office; Tomé-Açu, with a surface of 2,716,800 hectares, has 3,327,234
hectares registered at the registry’s office; and the case that has caused the most turmoil,
Moju, although having a dimension of 1,172,800 hectares, now has registered in the registry
office 2,750,080.4 hectares.

The grilagem of public lands, associated with illegal logging and deforestation,
represents other serious forms of violence that are often fostered by the same govern-
ment and judicial authorities. The process of grilagem has always been favored by state

20
In part of this area, the federal government created the Riozinho do Anfrísio Extractive Reserve on 8 November
2004. As the Presidential Decree authorized IBAMA to proceed with the dispossessions for social interests from
private owners, including any developments made on the land within the extractive reserve, certainly the government
would pay indemnity for federal lands that were grabbed illegally.

30
HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS IN THE AMAZON: CONFLICT AND VIOLENCE IN THE STATE OF PARÁ

entities. According to Flávio Pinto, ITERPA, created in 1975 with the mandate to
assume administrative control over lands, “ended up becoming a governmental body to
resolve the problems of wealthy groups interested in the land of Pará.”21
In evidence in the CPI of the Legislative Assembly, Flávio Pinto highlighted that

...Pará’s last attempt to exert administrative control over state lands occurred in 1975, when
ITERPA was created. ...Those who closely review the law that created ITERPA, will verify
that there it is full of traps for a few privileged law firms to use that structure for its partners,
its clients. ...As ITERPA transformed itself into a governmental agency to resolve the proble-
ms of big groups interested in acquiring land in Pará, I feel that ITERPA did not fulfill its
function.22

The official agencies for the environment and agrarian reform, at both the state
and federal levels, did not adopt effective measures in order to prevent the growing
illegal appropriation of public lands. The agrarian chaos in Pará reached such a proportion
that on many occasions, the federal government expropriated — with the payment of
compensation — public areas illegally obtained (griladas) by large landowners. A classic
example of this situation was the expropriation of Fazenda Flor da Mata in 1998, located
in São Félix do Xingu. This area had been illegally acquired and was located in an
indigenous territory and had slave labor therein. In spite of all these irregularities, the
area was expropriated and the “owners” compensated (payment for the land and deve-
lopments therein) for a value 25 times higher than what the “owners” had paid for the
forged property titles.
The grilagem of lands therefore forms the backdrop for many forms of human
rights violations in the state of Pará. These violations range from the denial of an
ecologically balanced environment and the illegal extraction of forest resources, to the
violent expulsion and imprisonment of small farmers who have peacefully occupied the
land for decades. These violations increase in tandem with the use of slave labor and have
resulted in the assassinations of a shocking number of rural workers and their leaders.
The illegal seizure of public lands is closely related to the violations of human
rights in the Amazon region in general, and in Pará in particular. Firstly, it is an essential
component of the process of concentration of land, which in turn contributes to violations
of economic, social, and cultural rights. These violations are thus strongly associated
with the loss of territories by traditional populations, small farmers, and agricultural
workers.
The resources approved by SUDAM had financed improvements for which
compensation was later provided, when the landowners were forced to give up the
public lands they had taken, thus constituting a “cycle of compensation” and a close

21
Deposition of Lúcio F. Pinto to the CPI of grilagem, Pará State Legislative Assembly.
22
Idem.

31
HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS IN THE AMAZON: CONFLICT AND VIOLENCE IN THE STATE OF PARÁ

alliance between public resources and grilagem. In truth, SUDAM’s public resources
had thus actually promoted the grilagem of lands in the Amazon, because first of all,
illegally appropriated lands served as “guarantees” for accessing loans. Secondly, the fictitious
projects of investments in cattle required the presentation of projects with areas available
for its implementation, hence again stimulating the grilagem of public lands.
In many cases, the illegality of the titles of the false “properties” serves as a factor
motivating large landowners to utilize force, violence, and corruption to guarantee their
continued ownership and stop the intervention of public entities attempting to regula-
rize land ownership. Furthermore, various official documents, among them the Plan
for Combating Deforestation, point out that an essential measure in public policies
aimed at reducing the environmental degradation of the Amazon is to fight grilagem.
The challenge involving the conflicts and violence in Pará is set in a context of an
absence of official administration of the territory, mainly as relates to the control over
border areas and the gravity of the agrarian question. The State is either negligent,
conniving, or acting forcefully in these situations, marked by the illegal appropriation
of natural resources, legal titling of landed property (thereby inciting the illegal
appropriation of public lands), and violence. This is made possible through police actions
in eviction operations and by private militias, who attempt to restrain the actions of
organized social movements. The slowness of the judicial process and historical impunity
serve to exacerbate these problems.
While the territorial management on the part of the state is a subject even more
serious in border areas, it actually involves virtually the entire territory of the state. In
Pará, the data are alarming: from more than 124 million hectares, only 40 million
hectares (nearly 32.1% of the state of Pará) are officially registered in the National
System of Rural Registry (Sistema Nacional de Cadastro Rural, SNCR). However, more
than 84 million hectares (about 67.8% of the state) are not registered in SNCR.
This situation is even worse if we consider the statistics of the agricultural properties.
Of the areas registered (32.1% of the total), about 24 million hectares constitute only
26,000 properties, while the rest (16 million hectares) is owned by 84,124 individuals.
This results in only 111,000 registered properties, which form more than 30% of the
total area of the state, demonstrating the high level of agrarian concentration in Pará.
The detailed analysis of the properties in Pará registered in the SNCR confirms the
above thesis. Of the 111,000 proprieties registered, about 100,000 (90% of the total
registered) have areas of up to 500 hectares, covering 7.3 million hectares. These lands
correspond to 18% of the registered area. While 5,414 owners (6% of the total), each
covering more than 500 hectares, own more than 50 million hectares, that is about
25% of the total registered areas. Most of these rural properties measure between 2,000-
5,000 hectares.23

23
Data from INCRA’s National System of Rural Registry (SNCR).

32
HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS IN THE AMAZON: CONFLICT AND VIOLENCE IN THE STATE OF PARÁ

The data indicate the lack of management on the part of the state, conniving with
the illegal appropriation of public lands, not taking measures to collect or register public
lands, not giving incentives to register private properties, etc. Additionally, these data
confirm the high rate of land concentration and further strengthen the allegation that
state governments assist in the concession of titles to the large estates.
The local and federal governments do not publicly acknowledge this chaotic and
disturbing scenario, but they know that the situation is grave and calls for an effective
strategic plan with short- and long-term facets. With the “opportunities” in Pará being
close to an end24 due to the accelerated expansion of the economy, representatives of
agents of agricultural businesses are eager to acquire more lands. This challenges the
state to provide solutions on territorial management, or otherwise, conflicts will increase,
followed by violence, death, and environmental destruction.
A significant part of the agrarian conflicts and environmental problems is the result
of the implementation of settlement projects promoted by the military governments
(1964-1985). Under the motif of the Statute of the Land (Estatuto da Terra), agrarian
policies were based on the distribution of new agricultural areas as a way to diminish
the pressure for land in the south, southeast, and northeast of Brazil. The settlement
projects, motivated by the government’s propaganda and resources, led to the migration
of millions of families in the direction of the Amazon. The absence of promised gover-
nment assistance to new settlers once they arrived in the Amazon, however, produced
new points of conflicts and disputes over land, increased the levels of violence, and
produced greater ecological destruction in the region.
The biggest challenge is Pará’s history of inequitable management of public lands.
The state has always pushed for, and even planned, the economic cycle, including offering
fiscal incentives to big investors that enabled them to acquire lands in the Amazon. Pará
has couched its rhetoric in the terms of “freedom of competition” to justify the inaction
in terms of the appropriation of illegal lands. It connived with grilagem of large extensi-
ons of land, in the hopes of encouraging investment in projects such as cattle ranching,
as it was seen as a way to actively promote economic development. The result, however,
has been the continued concentration of land, which has in turn generated violence and
poverty in rural Pará.

2. CONFLICT AND VIOLENCE IN RURAL AREAS

The state of Pará is infamous, both nationally and internationally, due to its severe
and violent conflicts over land ownership, which in the last decades have victimized

24
An end to opportunities means the accelerated advance of productive fronts focused on forest management, mineral
extractivism, and agribusiness. These fronts occupy and illegally appropriate the last available plots of land, even then
they still contain protected flora.

33
HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS IN THE AMAZON: CONFLICT AND VIOLENCE IN THE STATE OF PARÁ

hundreds of agricultural workers, union and religious leaders, lawyers, environmenta-


lists, parliamentarians, and other human right defenders.
The changing nature of conflict over land in the non-central areas is due to the
clash between two opposing economies and resulting competition for the same land:
poor small farmers undertaking subsistence agriculture versus large firms and landed
estates with monoculture export-focused agriculture. Thus we see the wave of immigrants
running towards the border in search of access to work and freedom, thereby becoming
trapped in a capitalist type of subordination. According to Martins, “In the border
areas, an endemic conflict between appropriation of free land by independent farmers
and the conversion of land in capital is taking place.”25
Alfredo Wagner, analyzing the changing nature of agrarian conflicts in the Amazon,
affirms that: “The agrarian conflicts in the Amazonian region were formally recognized
as a relevant issue for government intervention in the second half of the 1970s. Despite
the repressive actions, the conflicts are getting bigger and creating barriers to the imple-
mentation of agricultural, timber, and mineral projects that threaten the preexisting
system of settlement.”26
Wagner relates that in the military period as well as in the years of democratic
transition, Brazil treated the questions relating to conflicts and violence in the field,
mainly in bordering areas, as part of the state bureaucracy. The federal government
failed to effectively prioritize the control of the endemic clashes in the interior of the
Amazon. According to Wagner,

The inconsistency between the intensification of land conflicts and the irregular and uneven
governmental intervention in the region has constituted itself in a striking feature of the
agrarian structure in the Amazonian region in the past two decades. During this period, the
prevailing official view was of a technocratic understanding of the conflicts, and particularly
of the violence. These factors were both considered as inherent to the modernization of
agriculture and to the development of productive forces in a new agricultural region. The
deepening of social tension was interpreted as a natural phenomenon resulting from
confrontations in the context of brutal force and coercion. The subjugation through violence
of different groups of farmers regionally known as posseiros and peões and of several indigenous
groups, despite not provoking public statements of moral disapproval, implicitly manifested
itself as a “necessary fact” that was peculiar to the economic processes and the structural
policies of the “border.” This situation can be observed in both explicitly dictatorial periods
(1964-85), as well as in periods defined by the “transition to democracy” (1985-89). Without
knowing major reviews of these cumulative tendencies, it reproduces intrinsic cultural standards

25
Martins, José de Souza. Fronteira: a degradação do outro nos confins do humano. São Paulo. Hucitec, 1997.
26
De Almeida, Alfredo Wagner Berno. O intransitivo da Transição: o Estado, os conflitos agrários e a violência na Amazô-
nia. In: Amazônia — fronteira agrícola 20 anos depois. Museu Emílio Goeldi, 1991, p. 263.

34
HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS IN THE AMAZON: CONFLICT AND VIOLENCE IN THE STATE OF PARÁ

to the formation of large estates verified in ancient periods of colonization. The principle of
subordination of the peasants through coercive acts and through modalities of banditry and
weaponry reveals itself to exist historically alongside the consolidation of large territorial
property, which was founded upon a model of access to the means of production through the
destruction of preexisting systems of ownership and in the adoption of immobilization me-
chanisms, that is, forms of slavery through debt, an extreme modality of repression of the
workforce.

The majority of the conflicts that involve the agrarian question are associated with
the practice of banditry, a recent phenomenon that started also to inhabit the daily
routine of land occupations. This phenomenon in Pará and the Amazon dates to appro-
ximately 30 years ago. But in this aspect, the hired gunman (pistoleiro) differs from the
cangaceiro or the northeast bodyguard (capanga). The pistoleiro has a different historical
and social origin.
The hired gunman’s role is to “protect” from “invasion” (on the part of landless
rural workers) the great extensions of land obtained illegally by large landowners but
that lie unoccupied and unproductive. A hired gunman can be contracted to kick farmers
off of occupied lands, assassinate their leaders and union members, and/or “help” the
police to evict rural workers. As the number of police officers is insufficient to the task
of forcibly removing rural workers from lands they have occupied, large landowners
continue to hire gunmen to reinforce the police contingents in charge of these expulsions.
Under the tolerant eye of the state, private firms and grileiros form private militias
to “monitor” and provide “security.” These militias are in fact hired to guarantee the
ownership and defense of large landed interests in the Amazon.27 It is thus that the large
landowners and local authorities come to share common objectives — the landowners
seek to acquire more land illegally (or keep that which they have already acquired illegally)
and the authorities ignore the participation of the militias in order to ensure that the
landowners support them politically/financially.
Even with the process of re-democratization of Brazil after the fall of the military
regime, the state was not able to regain the power it had previously enjoyed and that
informally it had given to large regional landowners to help them “restore agrarian
order” and thereby control the continuing confrontations. The central origin of the
hired gunmen in the Amazon is clear: it is the result of the power “distribution” betwe-
en the federal and state governments and the representatives of the new capital that
were set up in a disorderly fashion in that region starting in the 1970s.

27
The strategies adopted by landowners and grileiros to fight the work of rural workers and human rights defenders
include setting up clandestine “security firms,” using heavy armament, training sessions, and attacks on camped workers.
The website of the Rural Democratic Union (União Democrática Ruralista, UDR) presented, in July 2002, an article
entitled “Private Security of Rural Properties: A Right,” justifying the arming of landowners for their own “self defense.”

35
HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS IN THE AMAZON: CONFLICT AND VIOLENCE IN THE STATE OF PARÁ

For many decades, the state tolerated this division of police power, ignoring the
denunciations of the CPT and other organizations of the participation of gunmen in
the police and the formation of private militias. This blatant pattern of human rights
violations developed deep socio-political roots that exist today in the region. Today, the
government tries to retake control over this situation that serves as a great source of
embarrassment to Brazilian society; however, it has had great difficulty overpowering
and controlling these outlaw forces.
Pará is the state in Brazil with the largest number of conflicts and deaths related to
the land issue. In fact, in the last 10 years, the relative numbers of land-related conflicts,
murders, and death threats are extremely high, as can be seen in the table below.

TABLE 1: CONFLICTS IN PARÁ 1994-200428

1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 TOTAL

Land Conflicts 35 38 63 60 37 86 53 115 110 136 104 837

Assassinations 12 14 33 12 12 9 5 8 20 33 15 173

Death Threats 42 54 24 29 11 36 17 46 78 61 103 501

Source: Cadernos de Conflitos no Campo — Pastoral Land Commission, 2004.

The registry of the CPT shows that from 1971 to 2004, 772 farmers and other
human right defenders were assassinated in Pará, with the majority of those deaths
(574) being registered in the southern and southeast regions of the state. Between 1971
and 1985, 340 of those assassinations in agrarian conflicts were registered. In the second
half of the period (1986-2004), 432 farmers were victims, demonstrating the persistence
through time of the level of existing violence in Pará.
It is important to note that during the Fernando Henrique Cardoso Administrati-
on (1995-2002), according to data collected by the CPT, 271 agricultural workers and
leaders were assassinated in conflicts related to land ownership in all of Brazil. Of these
murders, 113 were agricultural workers killed in Pará during the tenure of Governor
Almir Gabriel, corresponding to 41.69% of the national number of murders. During
the last year of the Cardoso Administration (2002), 20 agricultural workers were
assassinated in Pará, corresponding to 46.51% of the national total (43 cases).

28
The CPT defines as “land conflicts” the actions of resistance and confrontation for the possession, use, and ownership
of the land, and for access to natural resources, e.g. seringais, babaçuais, or chestnut trees, when they involve small
farmers living on the land (posseiros), settlers, populations from Quilombos (communities of descendants of African
slaves), eventually hired workers, small leaseholders, small proprietors, occupiers, landless workers, workers of the
extractive industry such as seringueiros, processers of babaçu, coconut, chestnut gatherers, etc.

36
HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS IN THE AMAZON: CONFLICT AND VIOLENCE IN THE STATE OF PARÁ

Between 1985 and 1994, the number of agricultural workers killed in Pará
corresponds to 39.23% of all of those killed nationally in land-related incidents. During
the period 1995-2002, two years of major proportional participation of the state on the
total national assassinations of agricultural workers were registered: 1996 with almost
72% of the cases of murdered rural workers coming from the state of Pará, and 2002
with almost 47%. In no year between 1964 and 1994 were there identified higher
proportional numbers as in 1996 and 2002. These numbers clearly indicate the continuity
of violence in Pará, including the fast growth in the proportional participation of Pará
in the total number of murders nationally.
During the first two years of the Lula Administration, this level of violence did not
change: there were 48 assassinations in Pará. The hope that there would be an increase
in the implementation of agrarian reform policies led to a steep increase in the number
of families in encampments and occupations of large estates. The extremely slow pace of
the government in expropriating land provoked a violent reaction by large estate owners,
culminating in the murders of dozens of workers and their leaders.
As an example of the tragic and increasing pattern of violence in Pará, more rural
workers were assassinated during 1995 to 2004 (169) than in the first 15 years of the
military dictatorship (1964-1979), when 89 workers were killed. These were precisely
the years usually considered the most repressive of the popular movements.
The official data are even more worrysome. At the end of 2002, the Special
Secretariat of Social Defense of the state of Pará published a study entitled “Inventory of
the Registers and Denunciations of Deaths Related to the Ownership and Exploitation of
Land in the State of Pará 1980-2001.” In this survey, the data covering 1995-2001
indicate that 328 murders were committed in Pará related to conflicts over the ownership
and exploitation of land. The sources of this study are criminal registers specialized in
agrarian conflicts of the Pará State Civil Police.
During each year in the period 1995-2004, Pará held the national record of murders
of rural workers in conflicts related to land ownership. In that period, there were 128
assassination attempts and 459 death threats against agricultural workers and other
defenders of human rights in Pará.

TABLE 2: PERSONS THREATENED WITH DEATH IN THE STATE OF PARÁ

Raimundo Deumiro de Lima dos Santos Maria de Fátima Moreira

Benedito Freire Cícero Pinto da Cruz

Raimundo Pereira do Nascimento Geraldo Margela de Almeida Filho

Dionísio Pereira J. L. S. (53 anos)

Ednalva Rodrigues Araújo Francisco de Assis dos Santos Souza

Sebastião Alves de Sousa Gabriel de Moura

37
HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS IN THE AMAZON: CONFLICT AND VIOLENCE IN THE STATE OF PARÁ

José Agrício da Silva Pe Amaro Lopes de Souza

filhos de José Agrício Idalino Nunes Assis

Raimundo Vicente da Silva Adernei Guemaque Leal

Tereza Ferreira da Silva Antonio Ferreira de Almeida Silva

Gilson José da Silva Raimundo Nonato dos Santos (Índio)

Francisco de Assis Soledade da Costa Raimundo Nonato Costa Silva (Italiano)

Ivanilde Maria Prestes Alves Manoel


Genival Soares dos Santos Antonia Melo da Silva

Raimundinho Claudio Wilson Soares Barbosa

Maria Joel Dias da Costa José Claudio Ribeiro da Silva

José Soares de Brito Odino Ferreira da Conceição

Antonio Gomes Frei Henri des Reziers

Maria do Espírito Santo Elias Pereira de Sousa

Cordiolino José de Andrade Eloina Estevão de Araujo (Maria)

Geraldo Soares Fernandes Deurival Xavier Santiago

Tarcisio Feitosa da Silva Raimundo Paulino da Silva

Carmelita Felix da Silva Sebastião Rodrigues de Castro

Sandra Barbosa Sena Maria Gorete Barradas


Source: Pastoral Land Commission (Pará regional office)

In absolute and proportional terms, the violence against rural workers surpasses
any national reference. In 1996, 33 rural workers were assassinated in Pará. This number
represents 4.79% of the total number of homicides (688 cases) in the entire state that
year. In that same year, there were 54 assassinations of agricultural workers in Brazil,
corresponding to 0.21% of the total number of homicides (42,131). The proportion of
homicides of rural workers and total number of homicides in Pará was 39 times higher
than the national average for 1996.
During the period 1995-2004, the assassinations of agricultural workers became
more selective, aiming to reach the principal leaders of social movements. The objective
was to hinder the strengthening of the workers’ organizations that fight for agrarian
reform, environmental protection, and human rights. The assassinations of Onalício
Araújo Barros (known as “Fusquinha”) in 1998; José Dutra da Costa (known as “Dezinho”)
in 2000; Ademir Alfeu Federicci (“Dema”) in 2001; José Pinheiro Lima (“Dedé”) in
2001; Bartolomeu Morais da Silva (“Brasília”) in 2002; Ivo Laurindo do Carmo in 2002;
Ribamar Francisco dos Santos in 2004; and Sister Dorothy Stang in 2005 are clear evidence
of a new pattern of violence against agricultural workers in Pará.

38
HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS IN THE AMAZON: CONFLICT AND VIOLENCE IN THE STATE OF PARÁ

Also during the period 1995-2004, the physical violence against rural workers
greatly expanded to many parts of Pará, outside of the south and southeast where the
violence had been traditionally focused. The violence thus moved to areas of expansion
of the agricultural fields, along the Xingu River (Altamira and São Félix do Xingu) and
Curuá River (Novo Progresso), where important leaders of agricultural unions have been
systematically assassinated. The deaths of Bartolomeu Morais da Silva (“Brasília”) in 2002,
Ademir Alfeu Federicci (“Dema”) in 2001, and of Sister Dorothy Stang in 2005 are also
examples of this new phase of repeated physical violence against popular leaders.

Demonstration at the “S” Curve,


where the Eldorado do Carajás
Massacre took place on 17 April
1996. Photo by João Laet.

“Red April”, south of Pará, 2004.


Photo by João Laet.

Rural workers being arrested in Marabá.


Photo by João Laet.

39
HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS IN THE AMAZON: CONFLICT AND VIOLENCE IN THE STATE OF PARÁ

3. THE PRACTICE OF SLAVE LABOR

Unfortunately, Pará not only stands out nationally for its assassinations in rural
areas, but also in other crimes such as slave labor, grilagem of public lands, illegal defo-
restation, violent evictions, death threats, among others. Sadly, this daily violence has
marked the lives of the poor population and the Amazonian ecosystem.
According to data from the National Campaign to Fight Slave Labor, coordinated
by the CPT, there have been more than 300 large farms denounced for the crime of
slave labor in the last five years, involving more than 10,000 workers. In response to
these denunciations, the mobile monitoring units of the Ministry of Labor freed about
50% of these workers.
In the past two years, despite the continuous oversight, slave labor continues to
persist on the majority of the big farms in Pará, a situation that does not appear to
bother the executive authorities or the judiciary of Pará. The Terra do Meio region holds
the highest concentration of slave labor in the country. CPT estimates indicate that
close to 10,000 workers are kept enslaved in the region.
The situation of slave labor in Pará is widely known and documented. Repeatedly
in the last few years, the press has warned of the horrors lived by millions of agricultural
workers. The members of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR)
of the Organization of American States (OAS),29 on the basis of a visit they made to
Pará in 1997, indicated that:

The same situation of poverty and lack of opportunities provoked by the bad distribution of
access to land and services leads to exploitation, in conditions of servitude, of the agricultural
workers. The Commission proved the existence in Pará of groups who took advantage of these
conditions to drive the workers to other states to situations of semi-slavery, establishing a
climate of insecurity and illegality through physical aggression against workers as well as their
leaders. Their impunity is assured by the slowness and outmoded nature of the judicial system,
as well as the lack of effectiveness of the authorities in preventing and punishing these activities.

The IACHR concluded its report by recommending that Brazil “adopt legislation
and effective policies to put an end to the conditions of servitude and of criminal actions
of contractors who perpetuate this situation. To create special conditions of security and
ensure the full respect of the rights of agricultural and union leaders, especially in areas
where there are major denunciations of persistent work in conditions of servitude.” These
recommendations were not taken into consideration by the Brazilian government.

29
Inter-American Commission on Human Rights of the Organization of American States, Report on the Human Rights
Situation in Brazil, Washington, Organization of American States, 1997, p. 133.

40
HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS IN THE AMAZON: CONFLICT AND VIOLENCE IN THE STATE OF PARÁ

Clear examples of the failure of official initiatives to halt the repression of enslaved
workers is the recurring tax recognized during the period 1995-2002. The Brasil Verde
Farm in Xinguara was denounced in 1996 (78 slave workers) and the following year it
was denounced again for the same crime (49 slave workers freed). The Santa Lúcia
Farm in Curionópolis was denounced by the public authorities in 1996 (133 slave
workers) and again in 2002 (25 slave workers). Between the 117 large farms denounced
in 2002, 27 had already been denounced for using slave work in previous years.
In 2002, the Forkilha Ranch, located in Santa Maria das Barreiras, property of
Jairo Andrade, was denounced by the Ministry of Labor for once again using slave labor
in several inspections over 10 different years. The large plantation Rio Vermelho, located
in Sapucaia and belonging to Grupo Quagliato, was denounced nine different years for
continuing to use slave labor.
In 2003, the federal government launched the National Plan to Eradicate Slave
Labor, as a collaboration between various agencies in the executive and judiciary along
with civil society, with the mandate of eradicating all contemporary forms of human
enslavement. The plan represented a joint effort aimed at improving the administrative
structures of the Mobile Surveillance Group (a special task force that inspects rural
areas accused of using slave labor) of the Ministry of Labor and Employment, the
Federal Public Ministry, and the Public Ministry for Labor issues, developing specific
actions for promoting citizenship and combating impunity, developing specific actions
of designed to build awareness and capacity.30
Pará is the focus of the National Plan for the Eradication of Slave Labor, not only
due to the concentration of large landed estates that use slave labor, but also because
several of its municipalities recruit workers who end up as slaves.31 The plan foresees
specific actions for each Brazilian state, including the following for Pará: 1) six permanent
units of the Mobile Surveillance Group of the Ministry of Labor and Employment; 2)
creation of public prosecutor offices in the municipalities of São Félix do Xingu, Xinguara,
Conceicão do Araguaia, and Redenção; 3) installation of offices of public defenders in
municipalities of Pará; 4) installation of Labor Courts in the municipalities of São Felix
do Xingu, Xinguara, and Redenção; 5) implementation of a mobile unit of the Regional
Representative of the Ministry of Labor in the south of Pará; 6) permanent presence of
the federal police investigating cases of slave labor, with a minimum of 60 investigators

30
Report available at http://www.mte.gov.br/Empregador/FiscaTrab/TrabEscravo/ErradicacaoTrabalho Escravo/
Conteudo/7337.pdf.
31
The registry of employers who went through administrative procedures for the use of slave labor was created by
Portaria n.º 540 on 18 October 2004 (Ministry of Labor and Employment), better known as “the dirty list” (lista suja),
presented 68 large farms in the state of Pará that were fined for using slave labor (list available at http://www.mte.gov.br/
Noticias/download/lista.pdf ). The municipalities of Redenção, Açailância, Marabá, Santana do Araguaia, Sapucaia,
Xinguara, and Curionópois originate the most part of the workers who were lured and later freed by actions of the
Mobile Surveillance Group (Observatório Social em Revista: Trabalho Escravo no Brasil, São Paulo, Observatório
Social, n.º 06, 2004, p.6).

41
HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS IN THE AMAZON: CONFLICT AND VIOLENCE IN THE STATE OF PARÁ

and 12 federal police chiefs in the state; 7) creation of branches of federal police in the
municipalities of São Félix do Xingu, Tucuruí, and Redenção with a specific mandate to
eradicate slave labor.32
However, since the launch of the Plan in 2003, few actions directed towards the
state of Pará have materialized. The Offices of the Federal Prosecutors for São Félix do
Xingu, Xinguara, Conceição do Araguaia, and Redenção have still not been created.
Pará has only two Federal Prosecutors in the interior of the state — in Marabá and
Santarém — besides the Office of the Attorney General in the capital.33 As for the
federal public defenders, Pará has only one who covers the entire state and is based in
the capital.34 The creation of Labor Courts in the municipalities of São Felix doe Xingu,
Xinguara, and Redenção has not been fully operationalized. On 2 July 2004, the Labor
Court of Redenção was created with jurisdiction over the municipalities of Redenção,
Bannach, Cumaru do Norte, Pau d’Arco, Santana do Araguaia, Floresta do Araguaia,
Xinguara, Água Azul do Norte, Rio Maria, Piçarra, Sapucaia, São Félix do Xingu, and
Tucumã. This Court has only one main judge post, which is vacant. The activities are
carried out by substitute judges who remain for only short periods of time in the
municipality.35
Pará has federal police branches in the municipalities of Marabá, Redenção,
Santarém, and Altamira, in addition to the Regional Superintendent located in the
capital; it also has representatives in the municipalities of Óbidos, Anapu, and Novo
Progresso.36 There was not, until recently, the creation of new federal police branches
in the municipalities of São Félix do Xingu and Tucuruí, as had been foreseen under the
National Plan for the Eradication of Slave Labor. The plan of allocating 60 agents and
12 federal police chiefs permanently available for action to fight slave labor did not take
place. The Regional Superintendent of Belém currently has 12 federal police chiefs and
the other branches have only a police chief and two investigators. There are no agents
specifically focused on the eradication of slave labor.37
It is important to note that all of these actions set out in the National Plan should
have be implemented in the short term.38 Two years after being launched, important

32
Report available at http://www.mte.gov.br/Empregador/FiscaTrab/TrabEscravo/Erradicacao TrabalhoEscravo/
Conteudo/7337.pdf.
33
Information available at http://www.prpa.mpf.gov.br/instituicao/instituicao.php.
34
Information available at http://www.mj.gov.br/defensoria/links.htm#BELÉM/PA.
35
The municipalities are Redenção, Bannach, Cumaru do Norte, Pau d’Arco, Santana do Araguaia, Floresta do Ara-
guaia, Xinguara, Água Azul do Norte, Ourilândia do Norte, Rio Maria, Piçarra, Sapucaia, São Felix do Xingu, and
Tucumã. Information available at http://www.trt8.gov.br/vtredencao/index.asp?cod=vtredencao.
36
Information available at http://www.dpf.gov.br.
37
Information provided by the Regional Superintendency of Pará on 20 September 2005.
38
Information available at http://www.mte.gov.br/Empregador/FiscaTrab/TrabEscravo/ErradicacaoTrabalhoEscravo/
Conteudo/7337.pdf.

42
HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS IN THE AMAZON: CONFLICT AND VIOLENCE IN THE STATE OF PARÁ

measures for halting slave labor in Pará, such as strengthening the Federal Police and
increasing the number of Labor Courts and Federal Prosecutors to investigate the de-
nunciations of enticers and large landowners who use slave labor have not been effective.
The result has been continued impunity and enticement of poor workers to work in
farms where they are enslaved.
The National Plan also contains, as short-term goals, the approval of a Constituti-
onal Amendment Bill (Projeto de Emenda Constitucional, PEC) 438/2001, that would
regulate the expropriation of lands wherein workers have been found to been in slave
labor conditions. The National Plan also includes the approval of Draft Bill 2022/1996
that incorporates the prohibition to formalize contracts with governmental agencies
and entities and the participation in auctions of companies that directly or indirectly
use slave labor in the production of good and services.
PEC 438/2001 represents a big advance in the fight to eradicate slave labor, but it
faces great obstacles for its approval. The proposal was presented by Senator Ademir
Andrade on 1 November 2001 and, after almost four years of moving through the
National Congress, is still awaiting a second vote in the Chamber of Deputies.39
In May 2005, then President of the Chamber of Deputies, Severino Cavalcanti,
committed to making a vote on PEC 438/2001 a priority for the second half of the
year.40 However, the PEC remained outside of the list of draft bills that would go
through a vote since 14 December 2004, being out of the government’s priorities.41
Law Project 2022/1996, presented on 11 June 1996, has also not progressed to a vote
for 11 years. Since 11 November 2004, it remains in the Congressional Commission of
Constitution, Justice, and Citizenship, without a rapporteur being appointed for its
analysis.42
The search for approval of PEC 438/2001 and Law Project 2022/1996, according
to the National Plan, falls within the responsibility of the President of the Republic, the
Parliament, the Ministry of Labor and Employment, and the Special Secretariat for
Human Rights. Despite the importance of these proposals for eradicating slave labor by
restraining and punishing those responsible, there is no hope of their being approved,
transformed into law, and implemented effectively. The approval of PEC 438/2001
would make it possible to confiscate the lands of 68 large landowners in Pará who were
included on the “dirty list” of employers who have been brought to court for enslaving
more than 2,000 workers since 2003.43

39
See the phases of the legislative process at http://www2.camara.gov.br/proposicoes.
40
Information available at http://www.noticiasdoplanalto.net/index.php?option=com_content&task=view
&id=148&Itemid=43.
41
Information available at http://www2.camara.gov.br/proposicoes.
42
Information available at http://www2.camara.gov.br/proposicoes.
43
The “dirty list” elaborated by the Ministry of Labor and Employment is available at: http://www.mte.gov.br/Notici-
as/download/lista.pdf.

43
HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS IN THE AMAZON: CONFLICT AND VIOLENCE IN THE STATE OF PARÁ

Slave labor is used by the big names in agribusiness in Pará in order to reduce
production costs and increase their competitiveness in domestic and foreign markets.
The relationship between agribusiness and slave labor is blatant: Pará is the state of
Brazil with the highest number of workers freed between 1995-2004. In total, 5,695
workers were liberated, the majority of them from cattle raising farms.44 The trading
network, in which these farms are included, connects them with buyers in Asia and the
European Union. Brazil has increased its market share significantly in the last eight
years, from 138,600 tons in 1996 to roughly 800,000 tons of exported meat. This
increase means now 20% of the world market, instead of previous 7%.45
This is the reality of agribusiness in Pará, which is similar to other states where
slave labor is found. While workers are enslaved, with long working hours and total
disrespect for their human rights, the cattle receives first-class treatment: balanced diet,
vaccinations, with computerized control and artificial insemination for birth control.
This is the situation of human beings living in an extremely degrading situation.

Enslaved worker.
Photo by João Laet.

44
Information available at http://www.cpt.org.br.
45
Sakamoto, Leonardo. Os compadres da casa-grande. Available at http://www.reporterbrasil.com.br/
materia_escravo.php?nick=casagrande.

44
HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS IN THE AMAZON: CONFLICT AND VIOLENCE IN THE STATE OF PARÁ

4. IMPUNITY IN THE COUNTRYSIDE: ONE OF THE CAUSES OF VIOLENCE

If the pattern of violence shocks, than impunity shocks even more. In the last
decades, the agrarian conflicts have resulted in numerous slaughters in which the
connivance of public authorities and the organized crime in the countryside of Pará is
unequivocal. Those who order the assassinations are not imprisoned or even brought to
court; arrest warrants are not executed, and gunmen act in collusion with the police.
In the table below we list just some of the brutal crimes against agricultural workers
and leaders of the region where the gunmen and those who ordered the murders have
never been punished:

TABLE 3: VIOLENCE IN THE STATE OF PARÁ


CASE YEAR Nº OF DEAD INVESTIGATION

Dois Irmãos Slaughter – Xinguara June 1985 6 No case brought to court.


Ingá Slaughter – Conceição do Araguaia May 1985 13 No case brought to court.
Surubim Slaughter – Xinguara June 1985 17 No case brought to court.
Fazenda Ubá Slaughter – 13 June 1985 8 Lawsuit has been stopped
São João do Araguaia 18 June 1985 for 20 years
Fazenda Princesa Slaughter – Marabá 28 Sep. 1985 5 Lawsuit has been stopped
for 19 years
Paraúnas Slaughter – São Geraldo do Araguaia 10 June 1986 10 No case brought to court.
Goianésia Slaughter – Goianésia do Pará 28 Oct.1987 3 The files of the lawsuit
disappeared
Fazenda Pastorisa Slaughter – 6 Aug.1995 3 Lawsuit has been stopped
São João do Araguaia for 10 years
Eldorado do Carajás Massacre – 17 Apr.1996 19 Only two commanders
Eldorado do Carajás were charged
Fazenda Picadão Slaughter – 1996 5 Lawsuit has been stopped
Água Azul do Norte for 9 years
Fazenda São Francisco Slaughter – 21 Aug.1996 5 No case brought to court.
Eldorado do Carajás 4 Jan.1997
Fazenda Santa Clara Slaughter – 13 Jan.1997 3 Lawsuit has been stopped
Ourilândia do Norte for 8 years
Chacina de Morada Nova 10 July2001 3 Lawsuit has been stopped
for 4 years
Chacina de São Félix do Xingu 4 Oct. 2003 8 Lawsuit has been stopped
for 3 years
Source: Pastoral Land Commission

45
HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS IN THE AMAZON: CONFLICT AND VIOLENCE IN THE STATE OF PARÁ

It is critical to remember the assassinations of important leaders in Pará, who stand


out for their undying defense of the human rights of agricultural workers. For that
dedication to their cause they were assassinated and, in virtually all of the cases, the
crimes continue unpunished.
As previously indicated, these are selective assassinations, wherein the victims served
in important/leadership positions in workers’ organizations. They were human rights
defenders and, for that simple reason, were assassinated. The clear objective is to weaken
their organizations and the overall struggle of the workers.
All of these assassinations are simply a few of the hundreds of assassinations that
happened in the region in the last 30 years and that are still unpunished today. In the
majority of the cases, not even a police inquiry was made to identify those responsible
for the crimes. According to the CPT registry, in the last 33 years, there were 772
assassinations in Pará’s countryside. Only three trials against those who ordered the
crimes have occurred. In the last 10 years, reports the CPT, there have been an average
of 13 workers assassinated per year.
This situation of reigning impunity has been denounced repeatedly to national
and international human rights entities. In its 1997 report based on its visit to the
region, the IACHR noted that: “The situation in the south of Pará continues to be an
issue of special concern, with respect to the Commission that has pronounced itself on
different occasions, although some actions of the federal government continue to be an
area of grave human right violations, and complicity of the police and the judicial
bodies.”
Even though one could recognize the importance of the convictions of landowner
Jerônimo Alves do Amorim on 6 June 2000 (nine years after the assassination of Expe-
dito Ribeiro) and Adilson Carvalho Laranjeiras and Vantuir de Paula on 29 May 2003
for the death of João Canuto (18 years after the crime was committed), these were the
first and only assassinations against agricultural workers in which those responsible for
the crimes have been punished. However, Amorim served his time under house arrest
and the other big landowners mentioned above lost their appeals and had their prison
warrants issued but they have not been apprehended as of this writing.
The trial of the military police that commanded the massacre of Eldorado do
Carajás on 17 April 1996 is a clear example of how the state in general, and the judiciary
in particular, act to ensure impunity. Then governor of Pará Amir Gabriel, along with
the Secretary of Public Security and General Commander of the Military Police, were
responsible for giving the orders to “clear the people” the PA-150 Highway “at any
cost;” however, they were excluded from the trial.
Throughout the course of the legal procedure, the state judiciary’s actions clearly
favored the accused. During the first session of the trial, on 16 August 1999, the officials
who ordered the operation were acquitted. This trial was annulled due to the biased
behavior of the judge who presided over the judgment, Mr. Ronaldo Vale. In the second
judgment on 21 May 2002, the judiciary’s position was demonstrated as being manifestly

46
HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS IN THE AMAZON: CONFLICT AND VIOLENCE IN THE STATE OF PARÁ

in favor of the accused. This led the social movements and lawyers assisting the prosecutors
to boycott the trial in protest.
As a result, only two commanders were convicted. Two years after this conviction,
the High Court of Pará finally denied the appeals and maintained the original conviction.
The arrest warrants for officers Pantoja and Oliveira were issued and they began serving
their terms at the barracks of the military police in Belém. They have been already been
freed.46 The remainder of the 142 officials and police officers involved were absolved
and continue to enjoy impunity.
It is important to note that even in the cases that made it to court, the judicial
actions came only after long years of fighting, pressure, and denunciations of impunity
and judicial slowness by national and international human rights organizations. This
clearly demonstrates the slow pace of the justice system, that is subject to the considerable
pressure brought by political and economic authorities, thus serving to delay, influence
cases’ progress and judgments, and often to fully halt the progress of a case altogether.
Exemplary cases that deal with the murders of leaders and agricultural workers remain
stalled in the courts of small municipalities in the interior of the state.
Hundreds of people — those who order the crimes, intermediaries, and hired
gunmen — are involved in these murders in Pará. However, only nine judgments have
been handed down: 1) Jerônimo Alves de Amorim (ordered the crime); 2) Francisco de
Assis Ferreira (intermediary) and José Serafim Sales (gunman); 3) Ubiratan Ubirajara
(gunman); 4) two military officials (Mário Pantoja and José M. Oliveira) who were
responsible for the massacre at Eldorado; 5) Adilson Laranjeira and Vantuir Paula (ordered
the crime); 6) Escorpião (gunman); 7) José de Ribamar Rodrigues (gunman), acquitted
in the trial that took place in Curionópolis; 8) Péricles (gunman) tried and convicted
for the death of former congressman João Carlos Batista; and 9) Vita Lopes (intermedi-
ary), tried and convicted for the death of former congressman Paulo Fonteles.
A jury trial does not guarantee that the accused will ever serve the sentence in jail.
Several examples will serve to amply illustrate this situation of impunity. Jerônimo
Amorim, sentenced to 19 years in prison, is in fact serving out his sentence under house
arrest in his mansion in Goiânia. Ubiratan Ubirajara, sentenced to 50 years in prison,
remained in prison six months and then escaped in October 1994 and has never been
captured. José Serafim Sales, sentenced to 25 years in prison, served eight years of his
sentence, then escaped from prison facilitated by prison guards on 14 March 2000 and
has never been apprehended. Francisco de Assis Ferreira, sentenced to 21 years in 1994,
was set free in 1998. Adilson Laranjeira and Vantuir Gonçalves, sentenced for ordering
the murder of João Canuto, continue free.

46
In 2005, César Peluso, from Brazil’s Supreme Court, accepted the request made by Pantoja’s lawyers and set him free
until the final decision of the appeals pending in his case. The same thing happened to Mr. Oliveira. Even though they
lose their appeals, the possibility that they will return to jail is very remote, once they are free also to escape.

47
HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS IN THE AMAZON: CONFLICT AND VIOLENCE IN THE STATE OF PARÁ

During the last few years, due to strong evidence, the Civil Police arrested some of
the large landowners who have ordered murders but had not been convicted in court.
One of these cases was the one of large landowner Carlos Antônio da Costa, who ordered
the assassination of two MST leaders (Onalício Araújo Barros, known as “Fusquinha,”
and Valentin Serra, known as “Doutor”) in Parauapebas in March 1998. He remained
in prison for 22 days. Another case deals with large landowner Décio José Barroso
Nunes, who had ordered the murder of José Dutra da Costa (“Dezinho”), the ex-president
of the Rural Workers Union of Rondon of Pará, in November 2002. Nunes remained
in prison for only 13 days. Both men are accused of committing violent crimes
(premeditated) murder, classified in Brazil’s law as a hideous crime), but were freed by
the decision of the Pará State High Court.
In Xinguara, a city that has witnessed 76 assassinations of agricultural workers and
other defenders in the last 30 years, has still not punished these crimes definitively. This
represents a rate of 100% impunity. In São Geraldo do Araguaia, where 49 murders
took place in the same period, the impunity rate is identical. This complete state of
impunity reigns in São Félix do Xingu, where there have been 47 murders, and in
Marabá, with 37 murders. Among the 40 municipalities in southern Pará, only four
(Rio Maria, Curionópolis, Parauapebas, and Eldorado do Carajás) do not have a rate of
100% impunity in relation to murders of agricultural workers in the last 32 years.
There are very few lawsuits going through the legal process in these counties, where the
average time for the conclusion of a case is above 10 years.
The picture of impunity is not related to structural problems (lack of human and
financial resources), as the judiciary alleges. It is the result of a close alliance and
connivance between state authorities and members of the Executive Court with the
grileiros, large landowners, timber merchants, and others. After the first judgment in
the Eldorado Massacre, in which the commanders of the massacre were scandalously
acquitted, the jury had to be canceled due to clear partiality on the part of the judge
who had presided over the process.
In view of this, the magistrate had to be removed and, surprisingly, all 12 judges
who sit in the capital (Belém) refused to preside over the process, alleging “intimate
reasons.” The judge who agreed to preside over the process had to be removed from the
case three days before the judgment was to be handed down as a consequence of her
behavior, described as an affinity with the military.
Impunity reigns over the criminal actions of hired gunmen and large estate owners
in Pará. Only in the southern part of the state there have been 30 arrest warrants issued
against large landowners and hired gunmen. No effort has been made by the agencies of
public security or by the judiciary to arrest these criminals. The lack of political will
from the Executive Power and the reluctant State Court hinder, if not impede altogether,
the arrest of the hired gunmen and those who order the murders committed.

48
HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS IN THE AMAZON: CONFLICT AND VIOLENCE IN THE STATE OF PARÁ

TABLE 4: GUNMEN AND INTELECTUAL AUTHORS OF ASSASSINATIONS WHO


HAD THEIR ARREST WARRANTS ISSUED AND NOT CARRIED OUT

NAME MUNICIPALITY BACKGROUND

1. Valter Valente Rio Maria Intelectual author and assassin of trade unionist Belchior
2. José Herzog Martins Costa, on 2 March 1982
3. Aprígio Menezes Rio Maria Assassin of Mr. Ronan and Mr. Braz, on 3 April 1990
4. José Serafim Sales, (Barreirito) Rio Maria Convicted to 26 years in prison for the assassination
of Expedito Ribeiro, in 1991. He escaped Marabá’s
penitentiary in 2000, and is also charged for other
homicides in Rio Maria
5. Adilson Carvalho Laranjeira Rio Maria Landowners convited to 19 years and 6 months in prison
6. Vantuir Gonçalves for the assassination of trade unionist João Canuto
7. Marlon Lopes Pidde
8. João Lopes Pidde Marabá Intelectual authors and assassin of massacre against five
9. Lourival Santos da Rocha workers in Fazenda Princesa, in 1986
10. Orlando Dias da Silva Marabá Middleman of the July 2001 massacre, in which
José Pinheiro Lima, Cleonice Lima and Samuel Lima died
11. Manoel Cardoso Neto (Nelito) Marabá Intelectual author of the assassination of lawyer
advogado Gabriel Sales Pimenta, in 1982
12. Aldimir Lima Nunes Marabá Charged with several crimes, including use of slave labor,
(Branquinho) conspiracy to form a criminal gang, threats, grilagem etc
13. Raimundo Nonato de Sousa São João Assassin of eight workers in the Ubá Farm, in 1985
14. Expedito Alves dos Santos São João Assassins of the massacre in the Pastpriza Farm,
15. Reginaldo Gomes Cardoso do Araguaia which took place in 1996
16. Raimundo Nonato da Silva Marabá Accused of killing José do Carmo Silva, (Dodô), in
the Fazenda Santa Rita, March 2003
17. João Diniz filho Assassins of brothers José and Paulo Canuto, on 22 April
18. Sargento Edson Matos Xinguara 1990. Edson Matos escaped from the headquarters of the
19. José Ubiratan M. Ubirajara Military Police (PM) in Belém, in 1992. José Ubirajara was
convicted to 50 years in prison in 1994, but escaped that
same year.
20. Velho Luiz
21. Ademir Rodrigues Xinguara Assassins of several persons linked to the occupation of
22. Geraldo Mendes the Nazaré Farm, in Gerônimo Amorim, in 1994
23. Wanderley Borges Mendonça Xinguara Middleman of the killer of two workers in the occupation
of the Nazaré Farm. He remained arrested in Xinguara for
a few days but had his escape planned by civil police
officer Lucivaldo Haroldo

49
HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS IN THE AMAZON: CONFLICT AND VIOLENCE IN THE STATE OF PARÁ

NAME MUNICIPALITY BACKGROUND

24. José Mariano Neto Ourilândia Assassins of three rural workers during the occupation
25. João Batista dos Santos do Norte of the Santa Clara Farm, in 1997
26. Ygoismar Mariano Rondon Middlemen of the assassination of trade unionist José
27. Rogério de Oliveira Dias do Pará Dutra, known as “Dezinho”, on 21 November 2000
28. Osniel Coelho de Souza Redenção Accused of killing Iraildes de Souza Maciel, in 2003.
He had his escape from the Redenção Police Station
facilitated that same year
29. Manoel Timóteo Filho Eldorado Gunman accused of assassinating trade unionist
(MANU) do Carajás sindicalista Arnaldo Delcídio Ferreira, in Eldorado do
Carajás, in 1993
30. Francisco R. Sindeaux Parauapebas Middleman of the assassination of trade unionist Soares
Costa Filho, in 14 February 2005

Source: Pastoral Land Commission (Pará regional office)

Analyzing the question of impunity in Pará, the IACHR, on the basis of local
inspections and numerous evidence, concluded in its 1997 report: “[R]eliable informa-
tion provided to the Commission indicates that the State Court of the State of Pará acts
in order to facilitate impunity and the continuity of organized crime in the state.”
Death threats are frequent in Pará. Every year, the CPT publishes a list of people
threatened with death by large landowners and timber merchants. Countless leaders on
these lists have been murdered (including Expedito Ribeiro, João Canuto, Paulo Fonteles,
José Dutra da Costa, and Sister Dorothy Stang). Even with frequent alerts and denun-
ciations from civil society, state authorities do nothing to stop these murders.
Union leader José Dutra da Costa (“Dezinho”) was on a death-threat list from
1995-99 and was finally murdered in 2000. Union leader José Pinheiro Lima (“Dedé”),
assassinated simultaneously with his family in 2001, was on a death-threat list in 1999
and 2000. The agricultural worker and land-rights activist Ivo Laurindo do Carmo,
assassinated in 2002, was on such a list in 2001.47
Many official documents detail the functioning of this specific form of violence.
According to the IACHR Report mentioned above: “[T]he phenomenon of lists of
those ‘marked to die’ is one of the cruelest and most violent characteristics of the southern
region of Pará. These lists circulate in the region accompanied by a table of prices for
executions, differentiating the values according to the social position of each person
being threatened.” The list that the delegates from the IACHR had access to on 4
October 2001 contained the names of 24 workers and popular leaders marked to die.

47
As registered in the report Conflitos no Campo-Brasil, published annually by the Pastoral Land Commission.

50
HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS IN THE AMAZON: CONFLICT AND VIOLENCE IN THE STATE OF PARÁ

According to the Human Rights Commission of the Brazilian Chamber of Deputies:

Names are only removed from the list when they are murdered,” stated a representative of
FETAGRI [Federação dos Trabalhadores da Agricultura], regarding the death list. The current
governor of Pará seems unconcerned with the depth of the problem. At least that is the impression
of the social movements in the region. According to interlocutors of these movements with
public authorities in Pará, the predominant belief of state authorities is that “to occupy land is a
risky activity and the state cannot do anything, the risk is that of the workers.” The assassination
of rural workers and their supporters is preceded by threats, then becomes reality. The tactic of
intimidation is used to deter leaders from continuing to defend the rights of the landless as well
as to warn the workers and society in general, thereby creating a climate of fear.48

Despite the ample advertising of the threats, including in the local and national
press, the state and federal authorities in charge of public security have never adopted
adequate means to investigate the threats and prevent the assassinations. Due to the
continued inaction of federal and state authorities in guaranteeing the physical safety
and life of agricultural workers in Pará, the IACHR, in examining the case of João
Canuto (case 11405) in April 1999, recommended that the Brazilian Government:

1. ...[A]dopt measures so that the competent authorities establish procedures and


guarantee the necessity to carry out an independent, complete, serious, and impartial
investigation of the facts occurring in southern region of Pará, with the objective
to identify and punish all of the people who are pointed out as responsible for the
death threats.
2. That in fulfillment of its obligations foreseen in Articles 2, 8, and 25 of the
American Convention, [Brazil] adopt necessary measures in order for the rights to
life, to personal integrity, and the guarantee to judicial protection for all inhabitants
of the southern region of the state of Pará become fully effective, in particular for
the rural workers, their representatives, and human rights defenders.

None of the IACHR’s 1997 recommendations were followed by either the federal
nor local governments. On one hand, there is absolute impunity when it comes to
crimes committed against workers, while on the other hand, there is a rapid and
disproportional response of the judiciary and system of public security when it comes to
the defense of large landowners and grileiros, especially in the concession and fulfillment
of eviction orders. The state’s judicial and executive authorities do not measure their
efforts to guarantee the “right to property,” which is critical to ascertaining whether
human rights have been violated.

48
Human Rights Commission of the Chamber of Deputies. Violence in Southern and South of Pará. Brasília: Câmara
dos Deputados, 2001.

51
HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS IN THE AMAZON: CONFLICT AND VIOLENCE IN THE STATE OF PARÁ

The data are self-explanatory, as illustrated by the period 1995-2004, wherein the
state of Pará consolidated the practice of using arrests as an instrument of dissuasion
and weakening of the rural social movements. During this period, 607 agricultural
workers were imprisoned for occupying large estates and areas that had been griladas. In
a clear demonstration of the increasing use of criminalization and arrests as instruments
to demobilize these fights, there were 372 agricultural workers and other human rights
defenders imprisoned from 2000-04.
During the same period, 1,383 agricultural workers were arrested throughout Brazil.
The number of arrests in Pará correspond to 25.62% of the national total.49
Between 1995 and 2004, Pará’s Military Police carried out eviction orders on more
than 30 farms. More than 4,000 families were forcibly removed from the land they had
occupied.
With an extraordinary demand for land and slowness of implementation of the
federal land reform programs in Pará, rural landless workers intensified the occupation
of proprieties that were not fulfilling their social function, according to the principle set
forth in the Brazilian Constitution. The reaction of the state during the 1995-2004
period was often to enhance the repression against these occupations. Excessive force
was used by the police, as well as by grileiros and their private militias, to aggressively
expel hundreds of landless workers, destroy their houses, belongings, and plantations.
More than 60 workers were arrested or prosecuted and hundreds of children missed the
school year.
Throughout that period of eight years, 5,446 families of agricultural workers were
forcibly evicted from areas they had occupied and all of their belongings and crops were
destroyed. Evictions of 8,761 additional families of agricultural workers occurred without
immediate destruction of their belongings and plantations. On innumerable occasions,
in addition to the countless number of forced evictions carried out by the police, the
state government directly allowed the eviction of areas allegedly “owned” by grileiros,
thus violating the right of workers through the arbitrary exercise of their own power.

CONCLUSION

Impunity, connivance, negligence, economic interests, and agribusiness are some


of the principles that have directed the so-called “development model” of the Amazon.
The (state and federal) governments’ decisions and options have historically fostered a
model based on the predatory economic exploitation that matches the interests of loggers,
cattle ranchers, soy plantations, large landowners, and grileiros.

49
The UN Special Rapporteur on torture, Nigel Rodley, visited Pará in 2000 and presented his report in Geneva in April
of 2001. His report recognized explicitly that the detention centers for rural workers were absolutely inferior to the
recommended minimum international standards. The report also recognized the dissemination of torture in such places.

52
HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS IN THE AMAZON: CONFLICT AND VIOLENCE IN THE STATE OF PARÁ

This perverse logic has its efficiency linked to all sorts of crimes: grilagem of public
land, assassinations, intimidation and persecution of popular leaders, use of slave labor,
establishment of private militias, environmental destruction, corruption, and
embezzlement of public funds. These crimes are marked by the omission, connivance,
and even support of the state. This logic has been responsible for the destruction of the
Amazonian environment and traditional way of life.
The serious situation of violence in rural areas that prevails in the state of Pará
therefore does not come only from the impunity that characterizes the judicial power
and is translated into a sort of “license to kill.” It contributes markedly to the absence of
a serious agrarian reform policy. There are more than 20,000 families camped on or
occupying large landed estates in the state of Pará. Without an agrarian reform plan that
promotes a true deconcentration of land, a halt to grilagem, and a retaking of lands
illegally grabbed, and without punishing those responsible for human rights violations
committed against agricultural workers and human rights defenders, the violence will
continue cutting down the lives of people who fight for the right to land, the preservation
of the environment, and a life of dignity in this part of the Amazon.

Demonstration against impunity


in Rondon do Pará.
Pastoral Land Commission
Archive.

Bartolomeu Moraes da Silva


(“Brasilia”)’s coffin in Castelo dos
Sonhos. Terra de Direitos Archive.

53
HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS IN THE AMAZON: CONFLICT AND VIOLENCE IN THE STATE OF PARÁ

54
HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS IN THE AMAZON: CONFLICT AND VIOLENCE IN THE STATE OF PARÁ

Chapter II

GOVERNMENTAL POLICIES FOR THE


AMAZON AND THE STATE OF PARÁ

G overnmental policies for the state of Pará have been, and continue to be,
fundamentally linked to the development of infrastructure and the exploitation of
natural resources. The construction of roads, waterways, hydroelectric plants, and
installation of mining companies were the driving force behind the settling and land
occupation in Pará. Historically, the state has put in place a governmental policy of
implementing a pattern of development characterized by environmental devastation
and wealth generation. This system has greatly benefited the mineral, energy, and natu-
ral resource interests.
Governmental policies for the Amazon, however, were an amalgamation of two
visions: firstly, the necessity to exploit the region’s immense natural potential; and
secondly, the goal of “domesticating the environment.” This development model, which
was brought to the Amazon from southern Brazil, was based for the most part on the
need for urbanization. The official view on the traditional inhabitants and on Amazonian
culture was marked by the necessity to “liberate and free them from their backwardness.”
In this vision, the traditional inhabitants were killed or forcibly removed from their
land, thereby losing control over it. This development model, conceived and later
implemented by the state, created a situation of continuous and grave human rights
violations.
In Pará, governmental policies were characterized by a marked uncertainty. On
one hand, there was a high degree of regulation and state intervention in infrastructure
projects thereby ensuring that economic activity would be feasible. On the other hand,
there was a lack of state policies that encouraged the distribution of wealth and protec-
tion of human rights and other interests.
It is not just the Brazilian government and the state of Pará that see the Amazon as
part of a plan to profit from the region’s natural resources. Countries in the northern
hemisphere and international agencies have developed plans and invested funds in projects
to encourage what they deem to be “development.” Programs such as the Pilot Program

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HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS IN THE AMAZON: CONFLICT AND VIOLENCE IN THE STATE OF PARÁ

for the Protection of the Tropical Rainforest in Brazil (PPG-7)50 and investment from
international funds such as the Global Environmental Facility (GEF), combine both
federal and state policy with international bodies’ plans for the region.
Below we discuss some of the policies that have been implemented or are in the
process of being implemented by the federal and/or state governments. These policies
and programs were chosen by the researchers so as to maintain a connection with the
municipalities researched for this report. They were also mentioned by numerous
interviewees in the process of developing the report, all of whom are members of the
communities (listed below) affected by these proposals.

1. ECONOMIC AND ECOLOGICAL MACRO-ZONING (MACRO-ZONEAMENTO ECOLÓ-


GICO E ECONÔMICO)

The Pará state government has emphasised that one of its principal programs is
Economic-Ecologic Macro-zoning. According to information from the government,
“macro-zoning” is a form of land-use planning methodology. The objective of macro-
zoning is to make scientific and technological developments compatible with environ-
mental conservation and preservation, as well as encouraging the carrying out of land
surveys and periodic monitoring of specific geographical areas of the state. According to
the government of Pará, this zoning process should take place regularly, thus guaranteeing
the conservation of the different parts of the ecosystem.
Even though this is the picture is painted by the state government, an in-depth
discussion is required on this subject. This discussion should include the need to control
the process of land occupation and expansion of the agricultural frontier, as the whole
land management of Pará cannot be circumscribed to this policy of Ecologic-Economic
Macro-zoning alone.51
In the first stage of the project, the law on Ecologic-Economic Macro-zoning
provides for the mapping out of land in the state of Pará and creation of conservation
areas, protected areas, and areas of economic expansion, using satellite imagery technology

50
The pilot program for the Protection of the Tropical Rainforests in Brazil (PPG-7) is considered one of “the largest
multilateral partnerships ever developed in search of a solution to a specific environmental problem that has global
relevance.” (http://www.delbra.cec.eu.int/pt/eu_and_country/5htm). The objective of the partnership is to reduce the
rate of destruction of the tropical rainforests in the Amazon and Atlantic Rainforest and to encourage sustainable
ecological use of the forest. It is coordinated by the Ministry for the Environment, Hydrologic Resources, and the
Amazon and is implemented through partnerships between federal government bodies, civil society groups, and private
sector.
51
Brazilian legislation provides for carrying out zoning provided there is an agreement with civil society on how the
land should be used. Without such an agreement, zoning is not efficient. There should be permanent, regular, and
continuous dialogue between the state and civil society, so that this process does not just come down to it being law, as
was the case in Pará’s State Legislation.

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HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS IN THE AMAZON: CONFLICT AND VIOLENCE IN THE STATE OF PARÁ

(scale of 1:2000). This means that the mapping of land will remain far removed from
the reality of the inhabitants and social actors, removed from the very reality (described
in the previous chapter) that calls for urgent action. To ensure that land occupation
takes place in a sustainable fashion, it is vital that the different ways of life and types of
production, particularly in the areas of expansion, are identified and taken into
consideration when developing the macro-zoning.
The cost of this program — and others that will be implemented in the Pará
government’s52 macro-regional plan — is fairly high (an estimated 43 million Reais,
equivalent to US$19 million) and a priori it does not resolve the land conflicts and rural
violence in Pará. The greatest concern is who will be benefited by this project. Will it be
a means of evaluating and utilizing the resources sensibly, guaranteeing the traditional
communities’ right to their land? Or will it serve to map the areas of economic expansion,
thereby satisfying agribusiness greed and further strengthening large-scale cattle ranching,
one of the main reasons for the high levels of deforestation in Pará?
It is important to stress that there was limited consultation with civil society about
this project.53 It was shrouded in propaganda, including a “response” to the murder of
Sister Dorothy Stang, on 12 February 2005. According to the government, this macro-
zoning will reduce rural conflicts and violence. However, simply demarcating the land,
with no real state presence in the areas of conflict or a reliable method for organizing
and managing the land, is not the solution for the social, agrarian, and environmental
problems. The solution to this problem will thus remain out of reach.
Among the critics of this project are researchers from the Emilio Goeldi Museum.
Besides acknowledging that macro-zoning is an advancement in the creation of diverse
units of conservation, with different categories of land and forestry management, they
maintain that some of the proposed areas for the creation of these protected units are
unviable due to their size, isolation, and degree of deforestation.54

52
The implementation of the Pará Rural Program relies upon the following method of zoning: “detailing of Ecologic-
Economic Macro-zoning (ZEE) into zones of consolidation, expansion of productivity, and the recuperation of
fraudulently owned land, is essential to the implementation of macro-zoning, according to Law no. 6745, 6th May
2005. The detailed ZEE should accurately locate the land with the greatest potential for economic development, the
most fragile land, and land with the highest ecological value. Equipped with this information, the public bodies will be
able to set up a more satisfactory process of land and environmental management, allowing for funding to be directed
towards infrastructure and loans, with priority being given to the most favorable areas, and restrictions applied to
development processes in the most fragile areas.” (Executive summary, Programa Pará Rural: Avaliação Ambiental)
53
The process that led to the creation of the law is questionable because it did not establish a basis for any form of
agreement with society. The state government actually chose the social actors and agents with whom they held talks,
thus excluding the majority of social groups representing society in the state of Pará. They even excluded the State
Council for the Environment, which leads us to believe that macro-zoning will face many problems and limitations.
54
An initial discussion about Ecologic and Economic Macro-zoning, proposed by the state government of Pará and
presented by Leandro Valle Ferreira and Jorge Gavina Pereira, researchers from the Emílio Goeldi Museum.

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HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS IN THE AMAZON: CONFLICT AND VIOLENCE IN THE STATE OF PARÁ

Furthermore, reducing the solution to human rights violations resulting from


agrarian issues related to the division of land into different plots, is founded upon the
mistaken conclusion that these violations simply take place as a result of the disorderly
occupation of land, whereas the disorderliness is just one of the consequences of this
pattern of development. Macro-zoning has the potential to be used as a tool for the
execution of public policies. It must, however, not be thought of as a governmental
policy in and of itself, nor as a solution to the problems that need to be confronted.
As Loureiro and Aragão Pinto pointed out,

Ecologic economic zoning, or the single registry, is only one of various resources that could be
utilized [in the present case], but it will take years to be developed and will not have any
impact over the majority of the social and legal issues. A number of environmental problems
could be sorted out by states without resource to zoning, such as: the review of concessions,
grilagem and frauds over land property; the use of technical and technological resources such
as satellite images in order to halt and punish those who are responsible for deforestation and
gold prospecting in indigenous areas or areas of environmental conservation; deforestation of
hills, sources of rivers and borders; act against the big fires and other cases easily identifiable.
It is also possible, through political and legal means, to regularize the land property situation
of thousands of settlers who have been become precarious due to many years without any type
of documentation; to establish guidelines for simple procedures for federal, state, and munici-
pal actions about land occupation; to continue the investigation of the hundreds of deaths in
the countryside, cases of hired gunmen widely known and denounced by the Church, Bar
Association, and rural workers unions.55

The notion that zoning itself would be able halt the conflicts and violence in rural
areas is mistaken. Simple demarcation of the territory without both an effective Ssate
presence in areas of conflict and a system of property management that bears in mind
the democratic distribution and use of the territory is not the solution to the social,
agrarian and environmental problems in the region.

2. THE PARÁ RURAL PROGRAM

The state government — acknowledging both the importance of Pará’s countryside


for the development of the state as a whole, and the existence of rural poverty —
created the Pará Rural Program (Programa Pará Rural). This program is currently in the
process of being implemented. According to information from the state government, it

55
Loureiro, Violeta Rejkalefsky e Pinto, Jax Nildo Aragão. A questão fundiária na Amazônia. Estudos avançados, agosto
de 2005, vol.19, n. 54, pp. 77-98.

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HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS IN THE AMAZON: CONFLICT AND VIOLENCE IN THE STATE OF PARÁ

is split into three main parts: territorial organization, income generation, and a third
which is related to the administration of the program. The “territorial organization” and
“generation of income” elements could have just as positive as negative impacts on the
environment. It must be noted that the organization of the territory is essential not only
for helping to generate income but also for the socio-environmental management of the
state.
The total cost of the program is estimated to be US$100 million, of which US$60
million will be provided by the World Bank, through the Inter-American Development
Bank (IDB)). The remaining US$40 million comprise the Pará government’s contribution
to the project. Up until August 2005, the program was still in the preparation stages
with the presentation of studies and research, all of which should aid in the execution of
the underlying policies.
The document that lays out the Pará Rural Program affirms that:

Pará is the most developed state in the Amazonian region, with a relatively diverse economy
based in the service industry, taking advantage of the timber and farming potential. The state
has a population of 6.2 million, 2.7 million of whom live in extreme poverty. Poverty is more
serious in rural than urban areas. Urban poverty lies at 38% and at 58% in rural areas. The
disparity between employment and education in urban and rural areas presents exacerbated
differences.56

In spite of the rhetoric, the documentation is not clear as to which mechanisms the
state intends to use and the type of policies that it intends to implement to achieve the
aforementioned objectives. The absence of these mechanisms, or the failure to publicize
them, are reasons for concern, especially since historically these mechanisms have been
governed by old models of development that did not encourage economic growth
alongside adequate quality of life for the people of Pará. The people of Pará are constantly
left grappling with the environmental cost of such plans and having to endure the
violence in the state.
Another worrisome fact, within the text of this program, is the strategy of
“municipalizing” the execution of these public policies — transferring the responsibili-
ty for the implementation of the policies to municipal authorities. In many areas (notably
education, health, and sanitation) municipalization does not, as a rule, go hand-in-
hand with modifications in the distribution of tax revenue. This process was identified
as a way in which to enable the privatization of the provision of public services.
Yet another important issue is the lack of dialogue with civil society and affected
populations. The current governmental projects for the state are characterized by a
distinct lack of consultation with civil society. When some form of consultation does

56
Text extracted from the Development Project for the Rural Pará Program (Pará Rural), July 2005.

59
HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS IN THE AMAZON: CONFLICT AND VIOLENCE IN THE STATE OF PARÁ

take place, it is often a mere formality. The objectives and plans have generally already
been decided upon before the public consultation process begins, thus repeating the
same mistakes made when projects were implemented in the Amazon in the 1970s.

3. FEDERAL GOVERNMENT PROJECTS FOR THE AMAZON AND PARÁ

The federal government has significant influence upon the policies implemented
in the state of Pará, particularly those concerning environmental policy and land
ownership. INCRA, for example, is carrying out the geo-referencing57 of all the federal
(government-owned) estates in the state, under the Plano Pará.58 This plan articulates
state policy regarding agrarian regularization. From the geo-referencing, INCRA hopes
to identify and demarcate land belonging to the federal government (União) in Pará,
mapping out the irregular occupation as well as regularizing the occupation of public
land.
The Ministry for the Environment supports the approval of the draft bill (Projeto
de Lei) 4776/2005, which seeks to implement a Forest Management Program.59 This
bill has three objectives: 1) creation of a regulatory framework for forest management;
2) creation of the Brazilian Forest Service (Serviço Florestal Brasileiro); and 3) establishment
of a National Fund for the development of the forests.
This bill proposes three forms of forest management for sustainable use: 1) creation
of conservation areas to encourage sustainable forest growth, such as those in national
forests; 2) designating forest areas for use by communities as settlements, extractive
reserves, areas of land belonging to afro-descendant communities (áreas quilombolas),
and Projects for Sustainable Development (PDS); and 3) sections of the forest to be
sold at public auction.
This bill was praised by various environmental groups who see the concessions as
a potential way to limit the deforestation of public lands. Nevertheless, the analysis of
this project must not be detached from the analysis of the more broader agrarian question:
the forestry concessions must contribute to enforce or increase the land concentration
in the state.

57
Geo-referencing is just as much about the surveying of geographical data with satellite equipment (Navigation
System with Time and Racing Global Positioning System — GPS) and remote satellite imagery, as fieldwork with
technical teams and the evaluation of data for the development of technical work, identifying the location of the land,
working out physical boundaries, and the potential uses for the land, all with the aim of supplying the rural registers
with reliable information for the mapped out plots of land. Information available from http://
sidornet.planejamento.gov.br/docs/cadacao/cadacao2002/downloads/ 0138.pdf.
58
According to Carlos Guedos (a representative of the Ministry for Agrarian Development in Pará, or MDA) the
agreement between the MDA and Brazilian Army was already signed and the work involving the mapping out of the
area had started in the municipalities of Rondon do Pará and Santarém.
59
In September 2005 the project was at the Brazilian Senate’s Constitution and Justice Committee.

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HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS IN THE AMAZON: CONFLICT AND VIOLENCE IN THE STATE OF PARÁ

Another point that must be emphasised is that the implementation of the proposed
bill depends fundamentally upon a greater federal presence in the state of Pará, especially
for the purpose of conducting inspections. Otherwise, these concessions will turn into
mere licences to fell trees. Additionally, this loophole in the bill allows loggers to use the
forest as a guarantee for borrowing and receiving public funding, thereby reproducing
the same advantages obtained through the illegal appropriation of land (grilagem) and
from SUDAM projects.
For this reason the weakening of federal and state bodies is particularly worrisome,
making the process of accompanying the projects or the inspection of the plans already
implemented extremely difficult. If an overhaul of state bodies does not follow the
implementation of these projects, the fate of the 1970s planning could repeat itself,
resulting in a scenario of increased land titling/ownership precariousness and a significant
devastation to the natural resource base.

4. THE BR-163 PLAN FOR SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT

The Plan for Sustainable Development for the area around the BR-163 Highway,
linking Cuiabá and Santarém, is part of a series of plans and federal actions for the
region. Of these plans, the following stand out: the Plan for a Sustainable Amazon
(Plano Amazônia Sustentável, or PAS) and the Action plan for the Prevention and Control
of Deforestation in the Amazon (Plano de Ação para Prevenção e Controle do Desmata-
mento na Amazônia Legal).
The area surrounding BR-163 is characterized by a high degree of violence, grilagem,
and deforestation. Faced with strong popular pressure, the federal government began a
discussion process to develop short—, medium—, and long-term plans for the region.
The development of the BR-163 Plan for Sustainable Development was entrusted to
the Inter-ministerial Working Group (Grupo de Trabalho Interministerial, or GTI), which
acts as an umbrella for 21 bodies, including ministries and several offices attached to the
Presidency of the Republic. The state governments of Mato Grosso, Pará, and Amazo-
nas, municipal councils, and groups representing diverse sections of civil society
participate in this Inter-ministerial Working Group.
The Plan’s sphere of influence includes 71 municipalities, 28 of which are in Pará,
37 in Mato Grosso, and six in the state of Amazonas, amounting to a total area of
1,232,000 square kilometers. This corresponds to 14.5% of Brazil’s national territory,
of which 828,619 square kilometers are in the state of Pará (65% of that state’s territory),
280,550 square kilometers in Mato Grosso (31% of that state’s territory), and 122,624
square kilometers in Amazonas (about 8% of that state’s territory).
According to official documents prepared to aid in the second stage of consultations
with civil society, the federal government’s priority is “to create a new model for viable
development in the Amazonian Region, a model based on social inclusion, the reduction

61
HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS IN THE AMAZON: CONFLICT AND VIOLENCE IN THE STATE OF PARÁ

of socio-economic differences, respect for cultural diversity, with viable dynamic,


competitive, and economic activity, which creates employment and revenue, based on a
sustainable use of natural resources, an appreciation of biodiversity, and the maintenance
of the ecological balance of this important Brazilian heritage.”60
A critical reading of the development plan shows the incompatibility of the priorities
highlighted by the federal government. The plan’s objective is to consider the concerns
of various different sectors of government and civil society, all with different priorities,
distinct demands, and conflicting ideas. It is not sufficient to simply put together the
demands from the various different groups into one single document, with the assumption
that one single action plan covering all the interests of each of these constituencies is
possible. It is necessary to highlight the priorities and political direction in which the
government will go in order to bring about an end to the conflicts of interest between
these groups.
According to Adriana Ramos, from the Instituto Socioambiental, who has followed
the discussions on the development of the plan, “[T]he formal governmental process
has been superficial. Meetings took place in some of the municipalities, such as those in
Novo Progresso and Santarém (Pará), Guarantã and Sinop (Mato Grosso), but there’s
no logic or methodology to them. The [federal] government brings along a document,
everyone gives a talk, and there’s no logic to the meetings.”
Ramos continues:

The meetings in general, consider all the [interested] parties, and in the same planning
document, you find proposals from the loggers, from the farmers, the soy growers, the social
movements, as if somehow you could deal with all of them in the same areas. It doesn’t help
that the government puts it all on paper and says they’re going to do it all, because there are
points of conflict that the government has still not sorted out. This is why everyone thinks the
plan is ok, there’s a certain amount of comfort from the plan being a good idea, but when the
government has to decide upon which political option to take, it’ll be a mess.

According to the schedule proposed by the federal government, the final version of
the plan would be presented after the second stage of consultation with the public in
June 2005. However, to date, this document has not been officially presented.
Alongside the preparation of the BR-163 Sustainable Development Plan, the fede-
ral government presented a package of emergency measures. It is important to clarify
that the majority of these measures were launched just after the murder of Sister Dorothy
Stang, as a way of responding to the numerous demonstrations and demands from
social movements.

60
Regional Plan for Development for the area surrounding the BR-163 Highway which links Cuiabá and Santarém.

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HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS IN THE AMAZON: CONFLICT AND VIOLENCE IN THE STATE OF PARÁ

The emergency measures announced for the area surrounding the BR-163 were:
(1) measures to strengthen public security and promotion of citizenship; (2) measures
directed at organizing the territory as well as the monitoring and control of the
environment; (3) encouragement of sustainable development activities; and (4) measu-
res directed at the eradication of slave and child labor.
Given that many of the measures that have been announced by the government
are rooted in the demands of the region’s popular movements, the prospects for the plan
are good. However, there are still reservations about the political choices that will be
made during the execution of the plan, since during the developmental phase the plan
sought to consider the concerns of all sections of society. In other words, the plan is full
of good intentions and proposals for action, but these are in themselves contradictory.
An understanding of the history of the region, added to the disproportionate correlati-
on of forces, leads us to the conclusion that predatory exploitation and international
agribusiness will in fact be the beneficiaries of this plan.

Total area
Municipalities within the area
State border

Seat of the municipality


Roads
Paved
Not-paved

Hidrography

Location of BR-163

Source: Ministry of the Environment, http://www.mma.gov.br

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HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS IN THE AMAZON: CONFLICT AND VIOLENCE IN THE STATE OF PARÁ

5. POLICIES FOR CONFRONTING GRILAGEM

Although grilagem is old news, the policies that seek to confront the matter —
seizing and retaking the unoccupied land and land that had been subjected to grilagem
— are very recent. The first federal government measures concerning the regularization
of land in the Amazon occurred between 1979-1984. According to Saiago and Macha-
do, in this period “INCRA made an effort to speed up the activities of listing of properties,
allocation of land and land titles, with particular emphasis upon the projects for
colonization and settlement and numerous variations of these projects: the Project for
Integration and Colonization (Projeto de Integração e Colonização, PIC), Settlement
Projects, Projects for Controlled Settlement, Projects for Agro-extractivist Settlement
(Projetos de Assentamento Agroextrativista, PAE), and the Project for Rapid Settlement
(Projetos de Assentamento Rápido, PAR), among others.”61 Citing figures from the Ministry
of Agrarian Development, the authors emphasize that at the end of this period, 120
million hectares were set aside for land distribution and a total of 97 million hectares
were repossessed and registered in the federal government’s name (União).
Although these can be seen as policies intervening in the agrarian structure, little
was done to guarantee that the land selected remained in the government’s hands. Little
has been done to prevent grilagem, which continues to take place in areas set aside for
re-distribution.62
It was only in 1997 that the federal government presented a proposal for the
unification of federal, state, and municipal registries. The main objective of this proposal
was to make the state aware of the agrarian situation in Brazil. The proposal was unviable
in the face of evidence that not even the data for the creation of a Unified Registry for
Rural Property (Cadastro Unificado dos Imóveis Rurais) was reliable.
In 1999 the government decided (under Decree 596) to re-register all rural property
with a total area equal to or exceeding 10,000 hectares in the states of Acre, Amapá,
Amazonas, Bahia, Goiás, Maranhão, Mato Grosso, Mato Grosso do Sul, Minas Gerais,
Pará, Paraná, Rondônia, São Paulo, and Tocantins. According to the terms of this decree,
the inspection process should be preceded by a process in which the original owner of
the land is found, as well as ensuring the legality and regularity of the land and that the
property has undergone the geo-referencing process. The proprietor or owner that does
not fulfil the conditions laid out in this decree is able to keep the land title, but would
lose the registration with INCRA, and consequently the possibility of obtaining financing.

61
Saiago, D. O. Pulo do Grilo: o Incra e a questão fundiária na Amazônia. In: Amazônia: Cenas e Cenários, Brasilia,
Editora UNB, 2003. p. 217.
62
Report of the Chamber of Deputies Parliamentary Commission of Inquiry on the Illegal Occupation of Public Land
in the Amazon Region, p. 231.

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HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS IN THE AMAZON: CONFLICT AND VIOLENCE IN THE STATE OF PARÁ

In December 1999, INCRA passed administrative order (Portaria) 558. This ordered
the cancellation (under the National System of Rural Registration) of the registration of
all properties declared to INCRA by owners and holders of any form of land titles,
which had already been subject to inspections under the previous federal decree (596).
This measure had the effect of making previous Certificates of Rural Registration (Cer-
tificados de Castro de Imóvel Rural, CCIR) invalid.
The owners of these properties were subjected to a re-registration under the Nati-
onal System for Rural Registration, which required the presentation of appropriate
documents as proof of ownership. The same decree ordered that the Directorates of
Rural Registration and Agrarian Funds carry out, in the presence of the Registry offices
cited in the documents, surveys and studies into the corresponding land ownership
titles and original chains of ownership, as part of a general overhaul of property
registration.
In December 2000, INCRA classified the data relating to the rural properties
which had not heeded Portaria 558/99. They concluded that 55% of the properties
under suspicion were involved in agribusiness and cattle rearing. Following the
classification of this data, the registration of properties totalling an area of about 70
million hectares was cancelled. A third of this area (about 20.8 million hectares) is
located in Pará and comprises 422 large estates. This classification led to the conclusion
that there is no information on 200 million hectares of the total 850 million hectares of
Brazil’s national territory.63
Another measure to establish control over the registration of property was the
approval of Law no. 10.267, on 28 August 2001. According to this law, all rural property
would be given an individual identifying code and the location of the land would be
defined by geographical co-ordinates. The creation of a National Registry of Rural
Property was also proposed. The implementation of this registry relied upon the prior
registration of all property with INCRA. The registration and declaration of registration
would be compulsory if there were any change to land in the area, to ownership, or if
there were any environmental restrictions.
Other than this, each month the registry offices were obliged to send a report to
INCRA on the alterations that had taken place in the property register following changes
of ownership, the division of land into lots, regrouping of lots of land, adjustments to
the area, creation of reserves and changes to the natural heritage, and other environ-
mental restrictions or limitations involving rural properties, including those not on
public land.

63
Figures taken from the document Grilagem: Balanço Definitivo — 2000 from the Ministry for Agrarian Develop-
ment. According to information from the CPI Report on the Occupation of Public Land in the Amazon Region, the
National Revenue Database, maintained for issues related to the Rural Territorial Income Tax (Imposto Territorial
Rural, ITR), accounts for approximately 130 million hectares of estates with an area of more than 10,000 hectares, p.
570.

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HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS IN THE AMAZON: CONFLICT AND VIOLENCE IN THE STATE OF PARÁ

The law contains specific articles related to indigenous lands, requiring the federal
government to encourage the registration of land with previously agreed-upon boundaries.
It also obliges the federal government to apply to the Registry Official for legal registration
when private property lies within the boundaries of indigenous land. Information is
required from properties which are located in the middle of indigenous land.
This law was only regulated in October 2002 through Decree no. 4.449. Article
10 of this decree established deadlines, by which time the owners would have to present
the geo-referencing coordinates of their properties. The step-by-step schedule followed
a criteria based on the size of the property, starting with the properties with the largest
areas. The deadline was set for 29 January 2003 (a period of 90 days for the study) for
properties with an area equal to or larger than 5,000 hectares; 31 October 2003 (one
year) for areas between 1,000-5,000 hectares; 31 October 2004 (2 years) for areas
between 500-1,000 hectares; and until 31 October 2005 (3 years) for areas smaller than
500 hectares.
The registry offices submitted various queries related to the processes laid out in the
decree. This led INCRA, on 20 November 2003, to issue two Normative Acts of
Instructions (Instrução Normativa) (nos. 12 and 13) and an Administrative Order (Porta-
ria) (no. 1.101) containing a detailed account of the proceedings and interpretation of the
various terms of the previous decree. INCRA did not change the rule extending the
deadlines outlined within the law; consequently, all the properties that did not fulfil the
clauses in the contract risk having their registration cancelled by the federal government.
In December 2004, INCRA issued Portaria 10, which established proceedings to
be adopted in the event of possession being gained legally by simple occupation.64
These rural estates were all located within 314 municipalities in the Amazon (the states
of Acre, Amapá, Amazonas, Maranhão, Mato Grosso, Pará, Rondônia, Roraima, and
Tocantins).
In accordance with these proceedings, the new requests for the inclusion or alteration
of information held on rural properties, irrespective of their size, will only be dealt with
by INCRA if they are accompanied by corroborative documentation, especially plans
and graphical records with geo-referencing. The INCRA regional superintendents will
only be able to issue a Certificate of Registration for Rural Properties (CCIR) upon
presentation of this documentation. If the owners do not fulfil the conditions, the
registration should be cancelled and they will be unable to apply for funding.65
One important aspect established by this Portaria is that should the superposition
of rural land with federal public land be proven, the cancellation of the registry must be
provided immediately, with a copy of all the documentation being sent to the Federal

64
These are rural estates which have, in their chain of ownership, only documents referring to possession or occupation
of the land, not ownership rights or titles.
65
Fazendeiros e trabalhadores protestam no Pará, Contag online, 10 Februrary 2005. Available at http://
www.contag.org.br/Clipping/02-02-2005.html#conteudo3.

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HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS IN THE AMAZON: CONFLICT AND VIOLENCE IN THE STATE OF PARÁ

Public Prosecutor of INCRA so that the federal government’s interests can be protected.
Following the publication of that decision, INCRA representatives would be prohibited
from issuing declarations of ownership or similar documents for areas covering more
than 100 hectares for purposes of agrarian regularization, land management plans, de-
forestation, or funding from private or public companies.
The deadlines established for the fulfilment of the conditions laid out by Portaria
no. 10 were: 1 January 2005 for land of more than 400 hectares and 31 March 2005 for
those smaller than 400 hectares. Non-compliance with these deadlines results in the
cancellation of the registration of the property in question with the National Registry of
Rural Property (Cadastro Nacional de Imóveis Rurais, CNIR).
The Ministry of Agrarian Development’s Portaria was praised by organizations
such as the Amazon Working Group and the Federation of Agricultural Workers (FE-
TAGRI).66 The general approval of this decree was mainly due to the fact that unlike
previous measures it was able to prevent part of the process of grilagem of public lands.
This decree suspends the issuing of ‘declarations of possession’ (declaração de posse) and
the immediate cancellation of the registration of property located in federal govern-
ment areas.
Faced with the initial effects of the measures (the cancellation of 33 Forest
Management Plans) and the deadline (30 January 2005) for the re-registration of land
titles for properties larger than 400 hectares, loggers and landowners in the region of
Santarém blockaded the roads for 10 days, demanding the revocation of the Decree and
‘legalization’ of their land, over and above the reinstatement of the suspended land
management plans. They alleged that they did not have enough time to present the
required documentation. On the other hand, these supposed “owners” have increased
the speed of deforestation and illegal occupation, continuing the historic pattern of
grilagem.67
On 2 February 2005, the Ministries of Agrarian Development and Environment
met with bodies representing loggers and landowners. They agreed that, even if the
Decree were not to be suspended, the government had failed to enforce the penalties
laid out by the decree in 2005.68 This negotiation reveals the state’s flexibility and
lenient treatment of large landowners, grileiros, and loggers in the Amazon. This lenience

66
O Liberal, 10 January 2005, p. 12.
67
Information gathered from a conversation with Father Amaro of the CPT on 7 March 2005. A research team from
Justiça Global visited the municipality of Anapu between 2-21 March 2005.
68
Information contained in a joint release by the Ministries of Agrarian Development and Environment, on 3 February
2005. According to the release: “It has been agreed that management plans approved until 30 November 2004 and
later suspended for presenting ‘precarious documentation’ will be revalidated by the government. In case no environ-
mental or social shortcoming comes to light, such as conflicts with conservation units or indigenous areas, the projects
will be revalidated and will be able to operate this year after signing the term of agreement between the person
responsible for the project, IBAMA and INCRA.”

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HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS IN THE AMAZON: CONFLICT AND VIOLENCE IN THE STATE OF PARÁ

is not granted to laborers or their leaders, by the state or by the large landowners. One
week after this agreement, Sister Dorothy Stang was murdered in Anapu, as a conse-
quence of a plot by a group of grileiros.69
Despite the numerous proposals and the establishment of a legal mechanism that
could contribute to fighting grilagem, there exists no consolidated public policy for the
region. The federal government has still not implemented a unified land registry, or
even a specific registry for large properties. There is also no exchange of data between
the agrarian bodies at all three levels of government (federal, state, and municipal). In
addition, there is a continued existence of several property titles covering the same piece
of land and inefficient inspections of the Property Registry Notaries.
In most cases, the repossession of properties belonging to the government and
their transformation into projects for agrarian reform only takes place as a result of
pressure brought by peasants’ movements in their struggle for land.
Among the principal obstacles in the effective combat against grilagem are not only
the lack of structure and insufficient number of public body representatives, but also
the numerous cases of corruption and intimidation of INCRA officials by landowners.
For example, INCRA’s Superintendency in Marabá relies on one lawyer and three
assistants who must cover the whole of the south and southeast of Pará. As a result of
this insufficient presence, to date in the region, only two cases of repossession of land
have been brought to court.
In actual practice, proceedings already laid out by law and decree, such as the
verification of the chain of ownership (cadeia dominial), a process in which the original
ownership of land is determined by tracing the different owners and tenants, and the
cancellation of registration in practice, rarely take place. The exception to this are those
areas where there is conflict, pressure from peasant movements, and workers have already
been murdered.
There’s a continual game whereby “no one wishes to assume responsibility,” or in
Portuguese a “jogo de empurra,” between federal and state bodies. Those that benefit
from this are the grileiros. For example, a problem highlighted by INCRA is the work of
the Pará Land Institute (Instituto de Terras do Pará, ITERPA). Despite the two bodies
having agreed in May 2004 on a Memorandum of Understanding which anticipates
combined actions and enables the transformation of state public land into projects for
agrarian form, in practice the state body has shown itself to be reluctant to repossess
land and take it away from private “owners.” This is not even carried out when the size
of the land exceeds the limit of 2,500 hectares as outlined in Article 188 of the Federal
Constitution.

69
In June 2005, Pará’s judiciary authorized more than 40 preliminary orders of eviction of farms occupied by landless
families in the south and southeast of the state. These decisions threatened around 5,000 families of landless workers.

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HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS IN THE AMAZON: CONFLICT AND VIOLENCE IN THE STATE OF PARÁ

ITERPA’s practice revolves around the legitimization of situations involving grilagem


or the illegal appropriation of public lands. In the municipality of Parauapebas in 1998,
80 families occupied the Tapete Verde Farm. Their lots of land were very productive and
a school was built by the city hall. In July 2003, the Military Police evicted those families.
In December of the same year, ITERPA granted the property title to the landowner.
The families remained camped out on the boundaries of the farm and in July 2005,
INCRA began the process of expropriation of the land to settle those very same families.70
ITERPA’s work (and the setting aside of state land for agrarian reform) is turning
out to be of fundamental importance in many regions. In Rondon do Pará, for example,
of the 17 areas taken on by an INCRA task force in the first six months of 2005, 14
have land titles. These land titles, however, are all fake, or have been registered fraudulently
by the municipal registry offices. Even so, ITERPA continues to be reluctant to seize
these lands and set them aside for landless families.

Rural workers’ encampment in Castelo dos Sonhos. Terra de Direitos Archive.

BR-163. Terra de Direitos Archive.

70
The landowner Valemar Rodrigues do Vale is accused of having paid 4,000 Reais for the murder of the trade
unionist Soares da Costa on 14 February 2005, two days after the murder of Sister Dorothy Stang. Even though he has
been denounced by the gunman (pistoleiro), this landowner remains free, residing in Parauapebas.

69
HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS IN THE AMAZON: CONFLICT AND VIOLENCE IN THE STATE OF PARÁ

The judicial authorities, in the few cases which are aimed at the seizure of public
land, have on numerous occasions granted preliminary decisions in favour of the grileiros,
for example in the case of the Sustainable Development Project Esperança in Anapu,71
where the processes were suspended for a long period of time, thus once again allowing
the grileiros and their private militias to take action. In other cases, the state’s judiciary
ended up cancelling the creation of settlement projects on public land that had already
been seized and registered in the name of the federal government.72

CONCLUSION

The analysis of some of the aforementioned programs and policies points to a


change in the position of the government and the way it operates in the Amazon. It is
undeniable that, principally in the last two years, alongside the development policies
and infrastructure works, the government has given more and more attention to polici-
es that respect and encourage the social diversity of the Amazon.
However, we can confirm that the public policies being discussed in Pará continue
to reflect the contradictions and disputes over development models. On the one hand,
violence associated with the pattern of development is still strongly present, with the
cycle of violence being intensified with severe human rights violations. On the other
hand, it is in this region that governmental policies, directed at strengthening equality
and promoting social justice, respect for diversity, and the assertion of cultural identity,
seem to have been more vigorous.
The debates surrounding the construction of roads and hydroelectric plants, and
their social and environmental impact, have coexisted alongside innovative proposals
put together by social movements, and taken on in the form of public/governmental
policy. Projects for sustainable development, extractive reserves, and settlements (which
form part of agrarian reform programs) are examples of state intervention which has
focused on alternatives to models of development centered on income and land that
have traditionally prioritized the creation of wealth and the exportation of national
resources.
Among the most important governmental measures that particularly stand out are
the issuing of Portaria no.10 by INCRA, the creation of the Extractive Reserve Verde
Para Sempre, the Projects for Sustainable Development, and the Decree that aims to

71
The local court granted a Preliminary Decision of Reintegration of Ownership of plot number 55 to the landowner
Bida, weeks before the murder of Sister Dorothy Stang. After her death, the preliminary decision was revoked.
72
The Agrarian Court in Marabá granted a Preliminary Decision of Reintegration of Ownership to a grileiro who
claimed to be the owner of a property in Rondon do Pará, where a settlement project was created three years ago. This
Settlement Project is called Unidos para Vencer.

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HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS IN THE AMAZON: CONFLICT AND VIOLENCE IN THE STATE OF PARÁ

regulate the acquisition of land belonging to Afro-descendent communities. However,


there are still projects that have the potential to cause human rights violations and the
destruction of the environment; for example the construction of the hydroelectric plant
in Belo Monte, in the municipality of Altamira, which was recently authorized by the
Brazilian Congress; the alarming rate of deforestation; incentives for the expansion of
monocultures, with an increasing dedication of land to the cultivation of soy, etc. The
challenges are certainly huge, but it remains vital that governmental policies are
implemented to guarantee the integrity of the poorest — of rural workers and human
rights defenders.

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HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS IN THE AMAZON: CONFLICT AND VIOLENCE IN THE STATE OF PARÁ

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HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS IN THE AMAZON: CONFLICT AND VIOLENCE IN THE STATE OF PARÁ

Chapter III

ILLEGAL CONFISCATION OF LAND AND VIOLATION OF


HUMAN RIGHTS: THE CASE OF RONDON DO PARÁ

“It is of the utmost importance that you are aware of the facts that have occurred in the
municipality. I also hope that I can continue my work. I never tire of speaking that word that
for me is very powerful, which is ‘justice.’ I am here to give this deposition and because it is
very important for others to know, particularly about [the actions of] the large landowners of
Rondon do Pará. ...Lately, I have been receiving threats and, when I speak about that which
I am living, it is dangerous. It is because of this that today I am the widow of Dezinho, a
man who never kept quiet and always made denunciations — and unfortunately the denun-
ciations he made were never given any attention.”
Maria Joel da Costa - President of the Rural Workers Union of Rondon do Pará

R ondon do Pará is located in the southeast region of Pará and, according to IBGE
statistics, 39,856 people inhabit its 8,240 square kilometers. Rondon is located
next to BR-222, 80 km from the Belém-Brasilia highway, and about 450 km from the
state capital, Belém. The municipality is 26 years old, the settlement of the region
having stabilized in the 1970s. Since then, the principal economic activities have been,
successively, logging, agriculture, cattle-raising, and most recently, the manufacture of
vegetable coal.
Against this backdrop, the municipality of Rondon do Pará stands out as
representative of a pattern that has repeated itself with little variation throughout
southeastern Pará: the reproduction of a model of development that exacerbates the
unequal distribution of land and income. This model is made possible by the ongoing
accumulation of predatory extraction of natural resources and the exploitation of the
workforce, producing an immense number of human rights violations.
Currently, Rondon do Pará is one of the most violent municipalities in southeastern
Pará. Between 1996 and 2004, eight workers directly linked to the land struggle were
murdered, and there were countless beatings, threats, attempted murders, and
kidnappings. This reality is reinforced by complaints of slave labor, grilagem, and en-
vironmental devastation perpetrated by local landowners.

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HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS IN THE AMAZON: CONFLICT AND VIOLENCE IN THE STATE OF PARÁ

Due to the extreme violence against rural workers in the municipality, in May
2004 Terra de Direitos sent a fact-finding mission to the area, with the objective of
collecting information to denounce violations suffered by workers to local, national,
and international authorities. The central objective was to bolster the work being carried
out for years by the Pastoral Land Commission (CPT) (Marabá Diocese) and the Rondon
do Pará Rural Workers Union.
In addition to interviews with members of the Rural Workers’ Union, the Logging
Industry Workers’ Union, and workers living in encampments, the fact-finding mission
included hearings and meetings with the city judge, the local representative of the Office
of the Public Prosecutor, and the police chief responsible for investigating the murders
and threats against rural workers.
In February 2005, at the request of the CPT, the Rondon do Pará Rural Workers’
Union (Sindicato dos Trabalhadores Rurais de Rondon do Pará, STR), Terra de Direitos,
and Justiça Global, a public hearing was held in the Rondon do Pará Sports Arena. This
meeting was attended by nearly 1,000 rural workers, representatives of large landed
estates, then Human Rights Special Secretary Nilmário Miranda, and representatives of
the Ministry of Agrarian Development (MDA), the state government, and federal police.
This report and the analysis of the human rights violations in Rondon do Pará aims at
contributing to the work that has been done to date.

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HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS IN THE AMAZON: CONFLICT AND VIOLENCE IN THE STATE OF PARÁ

1. A HISTORY OF TERRITORIAL OCCUPATION

Southern and southeastern Pará were settled as a result of the changing govern-
ment-sponsored policies for populating and developing the region. During the military
dictatorship in the 1970s, plans to develop the Amazon were created alongside big
infrastructure projects, such as the construction of the Transamazonian Highway and
the hydroelectric dam at Tucuruí, this last allowing for the extraction of minerals in the
Carajás mountains (Serra de Carajás).
The trademark characteristic of successive settlement projects, in addition to mi-
neral extraction and logging, was the attempt to transplant the ranching model already
being implemented in the southern and southeastern regions of the country (i.e., assigning
large expanses of land to a few economic groups). To enable the implementation of this
model of development and at the same time encourage the extraction of natural resour-
ces, roads were constructed, with businesses and settlements springing up alongside.
The settlement of the region where Rondon do Pará73 is now located took place in
this context. It began in the 1970s with the construction of Highway PA-70 (today known
as BR-222), connecting BR-010 (Belém-Brasilia Highway) to Marabá. The encampment
of workers was located at Km 86 of that highway. Having moved to the region to work on
building the road, they stayed there and formed the seat of the municipality.
The region was originally inhabited by the indigenous Gavião people who were
gradually expelled from their land. Their expulsion, according to the Indigenous People’s
Encyclopedia published by the Socio-Environmental Institute, began with the profit-
oriented harvesting of chestnuts at the end of the 1940s and lasted until the 1970s. In
1976, the Gavião were installed on the Mother Maria Indigenous Reservation, located 70
km from Rondon do Pará, where they were finally able to reclaim their independence.74
The construction of the highway encouraged the beginning of logging in the region.
Initially, logging occurred on land handed over by the state of Pará, as well as on
expropriated and federal land. With the passage of time and the depletion of the forest,
logging gradually gave way to cattle ranching and subsistence agriculture.
The end of the gold reserves in the Serra Pelada mountains caused millions of
families to relocate to the region, where they went to work in logging, coal mines, and
on the new, small ranches. Some of these workers went to more outlying areas where

73
The name of the municipality comes from the installation of a small settlement of employees of the Rondon Project
at the site of the current seat of the municipality.
74
According to the Indigenous People’s Encyclopedia: “The end of the 1960s, the infiltration of settlers and land-
grabbers, facilitated by the opening of PA-70 and the rapid advance of cattle landowners, ended up confining, under
intense pressure, that group that took refuge in Maranhão, at a place that came to be known as Igarapé dos Frades, in
Saranzal, close to Imperatriz (Arnaud: 1975, 72-76). At the end of 1968, the area where the “Maranhão group” was
(close to PA-70, but 150 km from Mother Maria), was enjoined by decree (no. 63.515 of 31-10-68), a measure that
was not respected by the pioneer population. The Gaviões reacted violently, and there were deaths on both sides,
which provoked a general panic throughout the region (O Estado de S. Paulo, 30 May 1972).”

75
HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS IN THE AMAZON: CONFLICT AND VIOLENCE IN THE STATE OF PARÁ

they practiced subsistence agriculture. Vila Gavião is the most populous area settled by
small farmers.
Loggers transformed devastated land into large landed estates where the principal
economic activity is grazing cattle. The result of this process was the intense concentration
of land ownership and income and the maintenance of the status quo of extreme inequality
between large land owners and workers. Rondon do Pará’s Human Development Index
(Índice de Desenvolvimento Humano, or IDH) is one of the worst in Brazil (.685).75

2. ILLEGAL LAND OCCUPATION AND THE


CONCENTRATION OF LAND IN RONDON DO PARÁ

Rondon do Pará has been highlighted, in various official surveys conducted since
the end of the 1990s, as one of the areas where illegal appropriation of land is most
widespread. Not coincidentally, grilagem is one of the most important structural causes
of human rights violations perpetrated against rural workers.
The Parliamentary Commission of Inquiry (CPI) of the Federal Congress meant
to investigate the settlement of the Amazon highlighted the Rondon do Pará Real Property
Registry as one of the registries with the highest number of irregularities in the entire
Amazon.76

TABLE 5: LIST OF REGISTRARS UNDER INVESTIGATION AND INVOLVED IN IRREGULARITIES

State Municipality State Municipality State Municipality


AM* Apuí AM Lábrea PA São Domingos do Capim
AM Boca do Acre AM Manicoré PA São Félix Do Xingu
AM Borba AM Novo Aripuanã PA São Miguel Do Guamá
AM Canutama AM Pauini PA Santa Isabel
AM Carauari AM Tapauá PA Tomé Açu
AM Envira
AM Eurunepé PA** Acará AP*** Amapá
AM Guajará PA Altamira AP Ferreira Gomes
AM Humaitá PA Marabá AP Porto Grande
AM Ipixuna PA Moju
AM Itamarati PA Paragominas AC**** Sena Madureira
AM JURUÁ PA RONDON DO PARÁ
* Amazonas; ** Pará; *** Amapá; **** Acre. Source: Report of the Parliamentary Commission of Inquiry on the
settlement of public land in the Amazon Region (CPI da Grilagem)
75
According to data from UNDP and IBGE (2000), Brazil’s IDH is .775, and Pará’s is .720. Brazil is currently in 72nd
place of a total of 175 countries.
76
Report of the Parliamentary Commission of Inquiry on the settlement of public land in the Amazon Region (Comisão
Parlamentar de Inquerito da Grilagem), Federal Chamber of Deputies, p. 523.

76
HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS IN THE AMAZON: CONFLICT AND VIOLENCE IN THE STATE OF PARÁ

One of the most well-known cases of grilagem in the state of Pará and throughout
the Amazon is the aforementioned “case of Carlos Medeiros’ ghost,” that also has
ramifications for Rondon do Pará. In 1987, the Pará State Land Institute (ITERPA)
found that at least 6,534 hectares of federal government land had been illegally confiscated
by the “ghost” were in Rondon do Pará.77
In addition to this case, a recent survey done by technicians from INCRA’s Regio-
nal Superintendency in Marabá, in the municipalities of Rondon do Pará, Abel Figuei-
redo, and Bom Jesus do Tocantins, reveals that of 26 areas inspected, 80% actually
belong to the state of Pará (in effect, expropriated land) and not the cattle ranchers who
occupy them.
Falsified land documents (documentos grilados) are registered in several registries in
the region. Data from the INCRA survey indicate that in the Municipal Registry of São
Miguel do Guamá, 100 km from Belém, estates that were negotiated grew up to 2,000%
in relation to their original size. Through the registry’s fraud, an estate measuring ap-
proximately 4,000 hectares grew to 95 million hectares in 30 years. This also had the
effect of allowing one person to own more 116,000 hectares. In total, the three
municipalities have about 810,000 hectares of illegally confiscated land. The parcels are
located in a 100-km radius of the Belém-Brasilia and Transamazonian Highways. 78
According to information provided by the CPT and the Rondon do Pará Rural
Workers’ Union, the most well-known case of illegal confiscation of public lands does
not appear in recent official surveys. According to these groups, it has to do with a
44,000-hectare area. In 1918, the state of Pará allegedly granted the land title to Manoel
José de Brito, possibly a non-existent person, along the lines of “Carlos Mendeiros.”
The land title was declared fraudulent by ITERPA in 1978.
Among the properties covered by this ownership document was the ranch known
as the Black Tulip, an area of 3,000 hectares.79 In 1983, the now-defunct Araguaia-
Tocantins Land Executive Group (Grupo Executivo das Terras do Araguaia-Tocantins,
GETAT), delineated the area where the property was located (Gleba Água Azul).
Disregarding the validity of Pará’s titles, it claimed all the land surrounding the Black
Tulip (including the ranch itself ) and registered it as property of the federal government
in São Miguel do Guamá’s Real Property Registry. The federal government, since the
beginning of the 1980s, has been the actual owner of the 44,000 hectares. As a result,
there is a superimposition of two property titles: a false one issued by the state govern-
ment in 1918, and a real one, resulting from the delineation of the land by GETAT.

77
Information from the ‘White Book of Illegal Land Confiscation in Brazil’, published by the Ministry for Agrarian
Development, p. 57.
78
Information from the Ministry for Agrarian Development on the illegal confiscation of public lands in southeastern
Pará. Available at http://www.mda.gov.br.
79
This ranch was repossessed by the state in 2000, and became Rondon do Pará’s first Settlement Project: the José
Dutra da Costa Settlement.

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HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS IN THE AMAZON: CONFLICT AND VIOLENCE IN THE STATE OF PARÁ

As is common in Pará, ITERPA, despite knowing about the falsity of the title for
more than 20 years, took no action to have it removed from São Miguel do Guamá’s
registry. Consequently, the non-cancellation of the title permitted new transactions
regarding the land to occur based on false titles. INCRA, GETAT’s successor, also did
nothing to maintain possession of the reclaimed lands. Thus the government’s omission
allowed large-scale grileiros to take possession of the land and remain there.80
During 2004, the Rondon do Pará Property Registry was audited by the State
Court, following complaints lodged by the CPT, Federação dos Trabalhadores na Agricul-
tura (FETAGRI), and the Rondon do Pará Rural Workers’ Union. According to the
Pará State High Court:

In the issued report, the internal affairs judges, besides highlighting several irregularities in the
Real Property Registry’s bookkeeping, which are described in the Minutes of Extraordinary
Audit, were able to identify, by means of information provided by INCRA, the occurrence of
several registrations based on titles with false land descriptions and other clear indications that
the titles were established on other falsified bases.81

Through this process, an embargo on registering property from the following areas
was issued: the Black Tulip (which had already been repossessed by the federal govern-
ment), Serraria Jerusalém Ltda., Santa Cruz, Bela Vista, Jucamarhe, Pantanal, Coração
do Brasil, Garrafão, Futuro, and Graciosa.
In addition to several cases of illegal land confiscation already proven by the state,
there is strong evidence that illegal titles of ownership on other properties have been
acquired illegally through grilagem. Recently, the news of the cancellation of a Forest
Management Plan for Barroso Ranch was widely divulged. Barroso Ranch belongs to
the biggest landowner in that region (José Decio Barroso Nunes) who is said to have
illegally sold timber in Rio de Janeiro.82 Another ranch belonging to the same landowner,
called Lacy Ranch, covering approx 112,000 hectares, and corresponding to roughly
20% of the total area of Rondon do Pará, has had its chain of ownership since 1999
investigated by the Federal Attorney General (Advocacia Geral da União, AGU).83

80
The accusations of illegal land confiscation that the Rondon do Pará Rural Workers’ Union brought to the public
since the beginning of the 1990s were again recognized in the Partial Audit process, carried out by the Pará State High
Court, through process no. 2004.400.887, concluded on 27 January 2005.
81
Case decision 2004.440.887, Minutes of the Audit in the Rondon do Pará County Registrar.
82
It is important to mention that PMF no. 02018.002848/99-03 was suspended because the land was not registered
with INCRA and because there was no paperwork for the property, evidence of illegally confiscated public land.
83
This investigation was part of Registrar Investigation Administrative Case no. 54100.00339/99-10.

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HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS IN THE AMAZON: CONFLICT AND VIOLENCE IN THE STATE OF PARÁ

With respect to the titles that comprise the aforementioned chain of ownership,
one of the titles was nullified by ITERPA itself in 1979, and the other was rendered
“non-existent.” Only a 4,356-hectare portion of the ranch possesses a valid title.84 The
investigation of this ranch’s titles has been underway for six years as of this writing.
Although the public agencies have taken some action towards investigating the real
property registries and canceling some registrations, mainly since 2004, it is not possible
to affirm the existence of any structured policy to combat the illegal confiscation of
land in Rondon do Pará. In fact, the only areas reclaimed by INCRA were repossessed
after having been occupied by landless workers, revealing the lack of a territorial
management policy.
Despite the innumerable probable false registrations, there are no lawsuits to
repossess public lands and earmark them for agrarian reform. In a statement to O Globo
newspaper, the Ministry of Agrarian Development’s representative in Pará referred to
the applicability of Decree 10 (re-registration of CNIR properties) in the municipality
of Rondon do Pará: “In the case of Rondon do Pará, where there are large expansions of
possessed (i.e. not owned) land, we will take the appropriate measures as soon as the
deadline expires. The limit for released land is 2,500 hectares. There will be no properties
of 110,000 hectares, for example.”85 However, up until now, no concrete measure has
been taken to reclaim illegally acquired public land in Rondon do Pará and allocate it to
agrarian reform. INCRA reclaimed some areas while Portaria 10 was still valid, and
only after the land was occupation by landless workers.
In March 2004, soon after the assassination of trade unionist Ribamar Francisco
dos Santos, the MDA announced the establishment of a task-force composed of 30
INCRA employees (from the Superintendencies in Rondônia, Roraima, Acre, and
Amazonas) for the purposes of “differentiating between publicly- and privately-owned
areas, regularizing these areas, and settling workers on them as determined by the profile
required for agrarian reform.”
According to information published in the newspaper Correio de Tocantins, “[I]n
Rondon, the task force will reclaim all public areas (federal- and state-owned) and allocate
them to the National Agrarian Reform and Settlement Program, and through legal action
will expel the grileiros who are occupying those lands.”86 Nevertheless, until February
2005, INCRA had not even concluded the required inspections in Rondon do Pará.
Following a public hearing that took place in February 2005 in Rondon do Pará,
the MDA promised to intensify its territorial regularization actions. Once again, due to
INCRA’s lack of resources, particularly human resources, the actions in Rondon do

84
The aforementioned INCRA Administrative Process was opened as a result of non-compliance with Decree 558/99,
which established that all rural properties of 10,000 or more hectares must present documents proving the validity of
title.
85
O Liberal Newspaper, 17 January 2005, p. 8.
86
Correio do Tocantins, 9-11 March 2004, 3rd section, p. 4.

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Pará were not carried out. Up to the time this report went to the press, there was no
news regarding results of the inspection and determination of which areas are publicly
owned and which are private in the region.
A further important factor in the region is the presence of slave labor or super-
exploitation of the workforce. Between 2003 and 2004, 43 denunciations of slave labor
were investigated, resulting in the freeing of 811 workers in Pará, of whom 291 were
freed in Rondon do Pará. The last week of August 2005 saw 79 workers freed in
southeastern Pará, 40 of whom were freed from slave labor conditions in the Fazenda
Córrego do Limão in Rondon do Pará, a farm owned by Agropecuária Rio do Ouro S.A.
In March 2004 the Logging Industry Workers’ Union (Sindicato dos Empregados
na Indústria Madeireira) denounced to the Labor Public Ministry the occurrence of
slave labor, non-payment of the 13th salary87 , no paid holidays, and death threats to the
directors of the union and rank and file members. These threats and violations of the
labor and employment laws were committed by José Décio Barroso Nunes (known as
“Delsão”), a major logger and landowner in that municipality. According to the labor
union, Delsão employs around 800 people and is the alleged offender in 500 cases
lodged against him in Labor Courts.88
In September 2004 the public prosecutor in Rondon do Pará, Mauro Mendes de
Almeida, filed a criminal case against logger Sérvio Venturini and businessman José
Carlos Gonçalves dos Santos. A month earlier, Mr. Venturini was told by accomplices
in the region that a Mobile Inspection Unit of the Ministry of Labor and Employment
was about to carry out a slave labor inspection in his farm. He then ordered the withdrawal
of all the workers from his farm so that he would not be caught with slave labor on his
property. The truck taking the workers out of the area fell into a canyon, resulting in
five workers being killed and nine others injured.
The predatory exploitation of wood is another support for Rondon do Pará’s
economy. As a result, only 35% of the municipality’s forest area still exists.89 Rondon
do Pará is located in what is known as the “Deforestation Arch” (Arco do Desmatamen-
to).90 Additionally, the municipality has the fifth highest deforestation rate in the country
(as a percentage of its deforested surface). In 2004, deforestation grew 279% in Rondon
do Pará, in comparison with previous years.
The quickly growing rate of production of vegetable coal has contributed to defo-
restation. In September 2005, IBAMA released a report stating that there is a deficit in
the amount of coal used by mining companies and that officially produced by the coal

87
The 13th salary is a benefit foreseen in Brazil’s Employment Legislation.
88
Notes of the Parliamentary Commission of Inquiry on the Land Issue, 28th ordinary meeting, 6 April 2005. Infor-
mation available at http://www.senado.gov.br.
89
Data from the Ministry for the Environment: consolidated deforestation figures for the 2002-2003 period.
90
In Pará the following municipalities are part of the “Deforestation Arch”: Santarém, Itaituba, Novo Repartimento,
Itupiranga, Parauapebas, Marabá, Paragominas, Dom Eliseu, Rondon do Pará, Redenção, Cumaru do Norte, São
Félix do Xingu and Santana do Araguaia.

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industry. This is evidence that a large part of the production is done illegally. A research
team from the national newspaper O Estado de S. Paulo discovered three illegal coal
factories in Rondon do Pará. The newspaper described the impact of coal production
on the region’s deforestation:91

On the way to the coal factories, several hectares of what used to be native flora burn in
flames. Years ago, after loggers removed big trees with high economic value, everything left
behind turned into the illegal production of coal. First the area is burnt in order to remove
roots and animals — frequently this is done irregularly and the fire gets out of control, invading
green areas nearby. After that, the chain saws take action, removing practically all the trees
that remained standing. What is left is only black and dead earth, without any living organisms,
either macro or micro, in the soil.

3. THE STRUGGLE FOR LAND IN RONDON DO PARÁ

The gradual depletion of the forest — with the resulting change in patterns of
production and decrease in mining activities in other regions of southern Pará — left
thousands of families in the region without means of survival. So they began to occupy,
as settlers, uninhabited areas far from the main roads, practicing subsistence agriculture.
In Rondon do Pará, the oldest settled area is called Vila Gavião (located about 40
km from the municipality’s urban area). According to Maria Eva dos Santos, a local
resident: “The settlement began in the late 1970s, when a few families went to the area
by themselves. About 30 families created a village and began establishing small farming
plots on its outskirts. In time, other families came to live in the village and cultivate the
surrounding area.”92
Maria Eva also said that, in 1992, a landowner named José Hilário began threatening
the settlers, claiming to be the owner of the land. He began intimidating and persecuting
the rural workers, attempting to impede them from cultivating the land they had occupied
for more than 10 years.
In 1994, with the restructuring of the (STR),93 settlers and rural workers began to
organize a resistance. According to Maria Eva, there have been several conflicts since
then. In 1995, a landowner went so far as to bring a truck with dozens of gunmen and
police to expel the workers from Vila Gavião. José Dutra da Costa — known as
“Dezinho,” who years later would become president of the STR — mediated the conflict

91
O Estado de S. Paulo, report published on 16 September 2005.
92
Information provided by Maura Kelly to Maria Rita Reis in Rondon do Pará on 4 April 2004, during Terra de
Direitos’ fact-finding mission to the municipality.
93
The workers stated that the Union was founded in 1982, but until 1988 the STR was completely controlled by
landowners.

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and was taken by the landowners and police to a nearby ranch. The workers blocked the
road and did not let a single vehicle get through until Dezinho was returned.
Three workers were assassinated between 1994 and 1997: Alfim Alves Fagundes, a
worker named Ronaldo (known as “Pezão”), and another named Francisco. The gunman
who killed Ronaldo was arrested, but escaped from the police station. The residents of
Vila Gavião suspect that there were two more murders, as two other workers had
disappeared.
In 1997, the area where Vila Gavião is located was recognized as federal govern-
ment property. At that time, INCRA then created a settlement project in the area,
where135 families live today.
The struggle for possession of the land in Vila Gavião and the organization of the
Rural Workers’ Union were fundamental to the workers’ and squatters’ resistance. Since
then, the number of organized workers has grown. This organization happened
simultaneously with, and in opposition to, the efforts of large rural landowners to halt
land reform in Rondon do Pará.
In 1993, Dezinho became president of the STR and stayed in this position until
1999 (two terms). After becoming president, he became the target of constant threats
and persecution, especially as a result of his denunciations of grilagem of public lands in
Rondon do Pará. He started to investigate several land titles and divulged that the
majority of the land in Rondon belonged to the state or federal governments.
The primary target of denunciations was the Tulipa Negra Farm, held by Kiume
Mendes Lopes. The false title that gave rise to this ranch’s documentation is the same
used in several areas in Rondon do Pará. The beginning of the process to repossess the
property provoked an organized reaction by the large landowners, particularly because
if INCRA investigated the chain of ownership of other properties, more landowners
would lose their land.
According to Maria Joel da Costa, current President of the STR and Dezinho’s
wife:

Dezinho was threatened, because Vila Gavião was an area heavily within the landowners’
control. Dezinho went to do grassroots work, to figure out how the area could be legalized.
He researched whether the area had documentation. This incited the landowners’ fury, and
the threats started. Six months after he took over the presidency of the union, we asked for
protection for Dezinho. He spent six months with four policemen providing protection. He
conducted a survey of the municipality and reported that several areas did not have proper
titles. He took these demands to INCRA. At the time, he discovered a clandestine cemetery
on Josélio de Barros’ ranch. During this time, hard evidence emerged that Josélio had hired a
gunman to kill Dezinho. At the time, Josélio was called to testify. ...Everything got worse after
the occupation of the Tulipa [Negra] Farm. Two things converged: the land conflict at the
Tulipa [Negra Farm], and the possibility of Dezinho being elected city councilman.

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José Dutra da Costa (“Dezinho”) was assassinated on 21 November 2000. At the


time, the state of Pará had removed the police protection that had accompanied him for
two years. The assassination had nationwide repercussions. Like so many others in Pará,
the press called it a “murder foretold” since Dezinho himself, the CPT, and FETRAGRI
had all reported the threats he received to the authorities countless times.
In the first year after the murder of the labor leader, the STR organized a
demonstration demanding measures be taken by the judiciary. The main plaza in the
city was occupied by workers. Striking a violent posture, cattle-farmers and loggers in
the municipality fashioned barricades with tractors and trucks, thereby impeding the
opening of the Catholic Church.
Dezinho’s assassination and the constant threats to the STR’s directorship scared
many workers, causing a decrease in STR activities. In 2003, the workers’ organization
restructured with the election of Maria Joel da Costa, Dezinho’s widow, to the presidency.
The number of workers enrolled in the STR is growing. Currently, there are 2,200
members, all potential beneficiaries of agrarian reform.
Since the beginning of 2003, the resumption of workers organizing (and the pos-
sibility of new settlements) precipitated a new cycle of threats perpetrated by the region’s
landowners. On 7 February 2004, Ribamar Francisco dos Santos, one of the STR’s
principal leaders, was assassinated. Other union members are under constant threat.
This climate of tension is aggravated by the fact that the demand for land in the region
has never been so great.
In addition to the over 2,000 enrolled workers, there are four encampments, with
about 150 families in each: Água Branca, Bom Fim, Deus nos ama, and Campos Dou-
rado, all organized by the Rural Workers’ Union. There are two areas of land squatting
(Vila Galvão and Vila Mantenho) also organized by the Union. Both are located on
untitled land belonging to the federal government and currently regulated by INCRA.

Logging in Pará.
Terra de Direitos
Archive.

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HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS IN THE AMAZON: CONFLICT AND VIOLENCE IN THE STATE OF PARÁ

There are four settlements in Rondon do Pará, with a total of 300 families: the
Nossa Senhora Aparecida Settlement, Unidos para Vencer, José Dutra, and Nova Vitória.
The first decree creating a Settlement Project was issued in 2002 for the José Dutra
Settlement, despite it being the area that had been occupied for the shortest length of
time. Among these settlements, at least two (Unidos para Vencer and Nova Vitória) have
serious regulatory problems, because they were public lands repossessed from grileiros
by INCRA. INCRA repossessed the land and created the settlement projects, but the
putative “owners” obtained a preliminary court order to remove landless workers from
the land, thereby impeding the regulation of these projects.

4. HUMAN RIGHTS DEFENDERS

As in all of southern Pará, violence against workers has permeated social relations
and is manifested in several ways: enslavement of men and women,94 expulsion of
peasants from their land, physical and emotional aggression, death threats, and murders.
Since the beginning of the occupations organized by the STR in 1996, eight rural
worker leaders have been assassinated. In 2003, with the resumption of union activities,
STR leaders, the main defenders of agrarian reform and of the human rights of settlers
and rural workers, have been under constant threat. These leaders and their families
commonly receive anonymous telephone calls and are followed by strangers.
In the beginning of 2003, a rumor spread through the city that two members of
the STR were going to be assassinated at the behest of landowners in the region. The
threats were directed at Maria Joel da Costa (STR president and widow of José Dutra da
Costa) and the other directors: Ribamar Francisco dos Santos (finance director),
Cardiolino José de Andrade (vice-president), Geraldo Soares Fernandes (agrarian policy
director), Zuldemir dos Santos (social policy director), Maria Eva dos Santos Dias
(secretary for gender issues), and Maria das Graças da Silva (president of the José Dutra
da Costa Settlement Rural Workers’ Association).
Between December 2003 and the middle of February 2004, all of these leaders
were the target of threats. They received anonymous calls, were followed by strangers,
and their movements were watched. On 7 February 2004, finance director Ribamar
Francisco dos Santos (47 years old and the father of three daughters) was assassinated.
Throughout 2004, the workers continued to be under constant threat. As far as punishing
this violence, the responsible public bodies took no action. The police investigations
into the murders have not moved forward.

94
The Rondon do Pará region (which includes the municipalities of Abel Figueiredo, Bom Jesus, Dom Eliseu, and
Rondon do Pará) has a high rate of slave labor and extreme workplace exploitation. Between 2003 and 2004, there
were 43 complaints of slave labor lodged, with 811 workers freed in Pará, 291 of them from ranches in Rondon do
Pará.

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HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS IN THE AMAZON: CONFLICT AND VIOLENCE IN THE STATE OF PARÁ

Some of the characteristics of the conflicts in the city of Rondon do Pará should be
highlighted. The first observation, upon analysis of the recent cases of extreme violence
(mainly murders), is that this violence is not generalized; rather, it is specifically directed
at popular leaders. All the pressure is put on the leadership of the organizations that
fight for the redistribution of land, so the workers in the encampments do not suffer
direct threats. The way in which these threats are made is always the same: anonymous
telephone calls and information that “leaks out” and reaches people close to the leaders.
The murders have always happened after a period (usually lasting several weeks) of
extreme tension, punctuated by occurrences that effectively advertise one or more
murders.
A fact known to all workers is that the hostilities toward human rights defenders
are not planned by isolated individuals, but rather by a sort of conspiracy, a “consortium”
of individuals. These people meet and develop strategies for dismantling the move-
ments fighting for the redistribution of land as well as pay for the gunmen to carry out
the crimes.
An analysis of what has happened in Rondon do Pará confirms that the workers’
perception is correct: there is a strong focus on persecuting and intimidating the leaders
of the Rural Workers’ Union and of the Rural Workers’ Associations, demonstrating a
clear interest to destroy the resistance by any means, including through killing people.
All of the violence perpetrated against landless workers and rural workers in Rondon
do Pará — repeatedly denounced by the organizations that support the STR — was set
out in detail by a witness for the prosecution in the murder case of José Dutra da Costa.
This witness, Francisco Martins da Silva Filho, was the brother of a gunman close to
José Décio Barroso Nunes. Before being assassinated in 2000, this gunman denounced
several crimes committed by Barroso Nunes. Da Silva Filho was threatened with death
and is currently in a federal witness protection program.
According to da Silva Filho, there is a death squad in Rondon do Pará. This group
was led by José Décio Barroso Nunes and supported by other landowners in the city
such as Antonio de Ângelo, Olávio Rocha, among others. When da Silva Filho returned
to the municipality to testify, he stated that his relatives were threatened by José Décio
Barroso Nunes.
The indifference and complicity of the government is made obvious by the fact
that the official inquiry into the crimes denounced by da Silva Filho disappeared from
the Rondon do Pará Criminal Registry, according to a State Court certificate, requested
by the Terra de Direitos research team. During Terra de Direitos’ fact-finding mission in
Rondon do Pará, it was found that there had not been any follow-up investigation of
the registered threats suffered by workers, and that the police officer could not even
locate the records of these threats.
A major problem that was also observed is the fear people have about reporting
threats they have received or crimes they have witnessed. This fear is not unfounded. It
is a widely known fact that anyone who reports the activity of gunmen hired by lando-

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HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS IN THE AMAZON: CONFLICT AND VIOLENCE IN THE STATE OF PARÁ

wners suffers reprisals. One of the principal witnesses to José Dutra da Costa’s assassina-
tion, his neighbor Magno Fernandes, whose testimony put away one of the assassins,
was assassinated two months after José Dutra da Costa’s death. One of the principal
witnesses in the assassination of José Dutra da Costa, Magno Fernandes do Nascimen-
to, was assassinated by a gunman on 10 September 2002, near his home. The inquest
about this assassination has been at a standstill since March 2003 and there exists no
other hypothesis developed other than a “burning of the archives” [removing a witness
who might otherwise incriminate others involved in the original murder].
Another key witness in the process, Francisco Martins da Silva Filho, was included
in a [federal] Witness Protection Program (PROVITA), although he did not remain
there long, due to the rigidity of the rules of the Program and their alleged impossibility
to be adjusted to his specific case. The CPT requested that PROVITA reintegrate da
Silva Filho into the Program, but the request was turned down. In July 2005, CPT,
Terra de Direitos, and Justiça Global formally requested that this decision be reconsidered,
but there has not been a response to this request as of this writing.

CONCLUSION

Similar to other border areas and regions of the state of Pará, Rondon do Pará is
also known for many cases of human rights violations and environmental destruction.
Among the many violations exist cases of grilagem of public lands, threats and
assassinations of leaders and human rights defenders, predatory exploitation of timber,
and illegal logging.
The most emblematic case was the assassination of labor leader José Dutra da
Costa (Dezinho). The disregard and connivance of governmental bodies to combat,
investigate, and hold to account those responsible is explicit, including the disappearance
from the Criminal Registry Office of Rondon do Pará of inquests to investigate crimes.
Despite the constant threats against labor leaders, Rondon do Pará is also a region
marked by the struggle and resistance of rural workers against human rights violations
and environmental destruction. This resulted in advances such as, for example, winning
the right to land for hundreds of families. Even so, effective government actions are
fundamental to combat the grilagem and put a halt to the deaths of workers and the
predatory exploitation of the environment in Rondon do Pará.

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HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS IN THE AMAZON: CONFLICT AND VIOLENCE IN THE STATE OF PARÁ

Maria Joel accompanied by actresses Camila Pitanga and Letícia Sabatela during a demonstration
against impunity in Rondon do Pará. Photo by João Laet.

Maria Joel da Costa Dias at work. Photo by João Laet.

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HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS IN THE AMAZON: CONFLICT AND VIOLENCE IN THE STATE OF PARÁ

Chapter IV

ANAPU: PUBLIC FUNDS, THE FALSIFICATION


OF LAND PROPERTY DOCUMENTS AND
ALTERNATIVE FORMS OF DEVELOPMENT

“I’ve received death threats from landowners and grileiros of public lands. They even dared
to threaten me and ask for me to be expelled from Anapu. All because I cry out for justice. I
thank God for these rich years of learning, my friendship with the local people. I’m captivated
by their sincerity, altruism, hospitality, resistance, steadfastness, and their willingness to be
involved.”
Sister Dorothy Stang

A napu covers an area of 11,875 km2 and has an estimated 7,271 inhabitants. It is
located in the central region of the state of Pará, 600 km from the state capital,
Belém. In 1995, under state law (Lei Estadual n.5.929/95), the locality was raised to the
category of a municipality.95
The disorderly process of occupation came about through the discovery of a new
area of development by grileiros, thus increasing the illegal appropriation of land and
uncontrolled deforestation, resulting in land conflicts involving new and old tenants.
The land conflicts in the municipality of Anapu became nationally and internationally
known after the murder of Sister Dorothy Stang on 12 February 2005.
At the center of the illegal appropriation of public land and the public authorities’
disinterest in the serious agrarian situation in Anapu, are the rural workers that are
being systematically persecuted, criminalized, and threatened with death by large lan-
downers. According to reports from residents and rural workers, these grileiros rely
upon the support of the police to burn down huts, expel workers from their homes, and
even arrest them arbitrarily.

95
Anapu is a term with a geographical origin, referring to the Anapu River. The municipality’s name comes from the
tupi words ‘anã’ which means ‘strong, large/great’ and ‘pu’ which means ‘noise,’ giving us ‘great noise.’

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1. A HISTORY OF LAND OCCUPATION

The birth of the municipality of Anapu was linked to the opening of the Transa-
mazonian Highway (BR-230). This region received immigrants from the northeast and
the south, who came to the Amazon duped by governmental programs promising them
access to land and the means to cultivate it.96
The region was divided by the east-bound (towards Marabá, 500km from Altamira)
and west -ound (400km from Altamira and Rurópolis) Transamazonian Highway. The
area east of the highway, where Anapu is located, has not received the same type of
assistance from the federal government. According to experts sent to the region, the
land quality was thought to be poor and various pockets of malaria were reported.
The objective of the federal government’s project for the eastern region of Pará was
the transfer of government-owned land to landowners interested in taking part in the
settlement of the Amazon, through the sealing of CATPs (Contratos de Alienação de
Terras Públicas).97 The landowners could make use of the land and if they fulfilled the
requirements laid out in the contract, acquire the official papers certifying ownership.
According to the transferal contracts, INCRA’s inspections to assess the fulfillment of
these requirements are supposed to take place after five years’ usage of the land.
The plots of land offered by Formal Procurement Number 3/75 formed the estates
of Belo Monte and Bacajá, both located between the towns of Altamira and Marabá, one
to the north of the Transmazonian Highway and the other to the south. The large
expanse of land attracted people interested in logging or farming.
In the Anapu region, the settlement plan resulting from the CATPs), was not
carried out exactly as announced by the federal government. In fact, this region suffered
from a process of irregular occupation. As a result of the aforementioned lack of technical
and financial support provided by the government, the majority of rural workers were
unable to survive in the area. Those who were unable to settle in the region sold or
abandoned their land, breaking the requirements laid out in the CATPs. This had the
effect of increasing the number of grileiros in the area.
The illegal appropriation of land was characterized by illegal tree felling and cattle
ranching on federally owned land by people who did not have permission to occupy it,
as they had not obtained it through a CATP, or by holders of CATP who had registered
the land as theirs before INCRA had done so.98 Upon arrival in the region, those who

96
Analysis of the structure of Brazilian agriculture from the Statistics Department at INCRA, available at http://
www.incra.gov.br/_htm/serveinf/_htm/pubs/pubs.htm.
97
Special Instruction (Instrução Especial) INCRA/nº 6A, 29 November 1977. Approved by Portaria/MA nº 841/77
(DOU on 6 December 1977, Section I). “Fixa critérios para alienação de terras públicas de domínio da União ou do
INCRA, mediante licitação visando a implantação da pequena e média empresa rural em áreas individuais de até 3.000
hectares.” Available at: http://www.incra.gov.br/_htm/serveinf/_htm/ legislacao/instrue/6a.htm.
98
Grilagem de terras na Amazônia: Negócio bilionário ameaça a floresta e populações tradicionais, report by Greenpeace,
available at http://www.greenpeace.org.br/amazonia/pdf/grilagem.pdf.

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HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS IN THE AMAZON: CONFLICT AND VIOLENCE IN THE STATE OF PARÁ

called themselves the ‘owners’ of a particular plot of land settled on it, then cut and sold
the timber illegally.99
In 1980 and 1981, INCRA began inspecting areas located in the Bacajá and Belo
Monte Estates in Anapu to check whether the requirements drawn up in the CATP
were being fulfilled. INCRA reported that many plots were found abandoned or in the
hands of third parties. Under pressure from rural workers in Anapu, INCRA set in
motion legal actions to cancel the registration of property in these areas and return
them to the government, in order to re-allocate them for agrarian reform. Some of the
legal outcomes favored the government; however, the grileiros did not leave the land.
This disorganized settlement in Anapu has caused legal confusion over the ownership
of property and continues to incite agrarian conflicts and violence against workers and
many human rights defenders.

99
According to the report from the External Commission of the Federal Senate, following the investigations linked to
the murder of Sister Dorothy Stang, it is estimated that up to 31 March 2005, the loggers had opened about 3,000 km
of roads to remove timber from the forest.

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HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS IN THE AMAZON: CONFLICT AND VIOLENCE IN THE STATE OF PARÁ

2. PUBLIC FUNDS AND AGRARIAN CONFLICT

At the beginning of the 1990s, the Superintendency for the Development of the
Amazon (Superintendência do Desenvolvimento da Amazônia, SUDAM) undertook to
set priorities, analyze and approve projects, authorize the release of funds, and accompany
and oversee the enterprises benefiting from financial incentives.100 According to figures
published by SUDAM, there was a concentration of these projects in one area: of the
732 approved for the Amazon between 1991 and 1999, 287 are located in Pará. In Pará,
the investments reached a total of R$1.6 billion (US$ 735,500 million), which
represented 26.5% of the funding destined for the Amazon in the period 1991-99.
At least 15 of these projects were approved for the Anapu region, resulting in yet
another motive for relocation to the region, this time attracting landowners interested
in the high monetary values attached to the funding plan. These landowners became
known as ‘sudanzeiros’ (or those who exploit and misuse SUDAM funds).
These projects were responsible for the mass deforestation during the last 10 years.
A large proportion of the financial incentives were directed at logging and later at farming
projects, themselves becoming one of the greatest forces behind the destruction of the
environment. It was particularly among the farming projects that the highest number
of failures in the policy of incentives implemented in the region was concentrated. This
resulted in an unrecoverable loss of an inestimable amount of public funds.
The sudanzeiros, apart from misusing the resources granted to them by SUDAM
and illegally felling timber and harming the environment, additionally embezzled large
sums of public funds that should have been used for the projects. For example, according
to a denunciation by the Office of the Federal Prosecutor for the State of Pará (Ministé-
rio Público Federal do Pará, or MPF), through the Federal Prosecutor for the municipality
of Santarém, Laudelino Délio Fernandes Neto is responsible for the embezzlement of
nearly 5 million Reais credited to the Agropecuária Pedra Roxa S/A company’s account.
This company is owned by his father, José Albano Fernandes, who had a project approved
by SUDAM.101 More than R$4.5 million (US$2 million) in invoices, receipts, and fake
contracts for the cultivation of cocoa and the rearing of cattle were found.102
The Rural Workers Union (Sindicato de Trabalhadores Rurais, STR) in Anapu and
Sister Dorothy Stang denounced Laudelino Délio Fernandes Neto on various occasions
for falsifying land documents on plots 56, 58, and 61 on the Bacajá estate, a place where

100
This mandate has been transferred to the Amazon Development Agency (Agência de Desenvolvimento da Amazônia,
or ADA), created through Provisional Decree (Medida Provisória) nº 2.157 in 2001. This Decree did away with
SUDAM and created Amazon Development Agency (Agência de Desenvolvimento da Amazônia or ADA) and the
Amazon Development Fund (Fundo de Desenvolvimento da Amazônia) in its place.
101
Project approved by resolution of SUDAM’s Deliberative Council number 8.886, on 1 October 1998.
102
Denunciation made by the Office of the Federal Prosecutor for the State of Pará, through the Federal Public
Prosecutor in the city of Santarém, addressed to the Federal Court of Santarém, on 10 June 2002.

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HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS IN THE AMAZON: CONFLICT AND VIOLENCE IN THE STATE OF PARÁ

the forest is being destroyed. According to accounts from workers, he cleared and burnt
2000 hectares in 2004, and planted pasture in its place for grazing cattle.103
In May 1999 the workers in plots 124 and 126 on the Belo Monte Estate were
threatened by grileiros who requested and lodged a Reintegration of Ownership Lawsuit
(Ação de Reintegração de Posse) with the intention of expelling the families living therein.
The intention was to clear the area so that the landowner Danny Gutzeit could implement
a project financed by SUDAM. However, the intervention by the Federal Prosecutor
succeeded in demonstrating the interest of the federal government in the case, hence
transferring the competence to judge the matter to federal courts. This measure allowed
INCRA to claim the right to the land.
In November 1999, Danny Gutzeit, assisted by 50 armed men, expelled 40 people
from plots 126 and 128 of the Belo Monte Estate. The squatters retook the area in
December and informed all the relevant public bodies requesting action. They never
received a response. In March 2000 Gutzeit expelled them once again and destroyed
their homes. He placed hired gunmen on the perimeter and planted grass seed on
cultivated land, thereby ruining the harvest.
The Office of the Federal Prosecutor for the State of Pará (the Federal Prosecutor
for the municipality of Santarém) also denounced Gutzeit,104 accusing him of channeling
nearly 3 million Reais (US$1.3 million) from a project approved by SUDAM105 into
the company Propanorte Agroindustrial e Empreendimentos da Amazônia S/A, owned
by Lindolpho Gutzeit, his father.106 Propanorte is located on the Transamazonian
Highway, neighboring Boiadeira, plot 50 A on the Bacajá Estate, in Anapu. This
company’s purpose was to cultivate dendê (a palm used to make oil and other products);
however, the office of the Federal Public Prosecutor verified that none of these said
activities actually took place, and none of the goods described on the invoices found by
the Federal Public Prosecutor were ever received.
Danny Guzeit used 80% of the 12 million Reais he received from SUDAM for the
implementation of productive projects in Altamira. This municipality is today still one
of the electoral strongholds of the former senator and current Federal Representative,

103
Official communication sent by the Rural Workers Union of Anapu (Sindicato dos Trabalhadores Rurais de Anapu)
to the competent authorities on 28 July 2004.
104
Laudelino Délio Fernandes and Danny Gutzeit were indicted for intentional forgery (estelionato qualificado) (Art.171,
3 of the Brazilian Penal Code (CP)); substantively connected (Art. 69, CP) to the following crimes: falsification of
documents and identity (falsidade ideological) (Art. 299, CP); falsification of a public document (falsificação de docu-
mento público) (Art. 297, CP); use of false documents (Art. 304, CP); formation of a criminal gang (formação de
quadrilha) (Art. 288, CP); and crimes against the financial system (Arts. 6 and 11, Law n. 7.492/86). The indictment
was signed by the Office of the Public Prosecutor for the State of Pará, to the Federal Court in Santarém.
105
Project approved by resolution of SUDAM’s Deliberative Council number 9.199, on 12 November 1999.
106
Denunciation made by the Office of the Federal Prosecutor for the State of Pará, through the Federal Public
Prosecutor in the city of Santarém, addressed to the Federal Court of Santarém, on 10 June 2002.

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HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS IN THE AMAZON: CONFLICT AND VIOLENCE IN THE STATE OF PARÁ

Jader Barbalho. In April 2002 the Federal Public Prosecutor declared that former Senator
Jader Barbalho, had used political influence in the approval and release of SUDAM’s
funds and was consequently involved in the embezzlement that had taken place.
In an official statement to the Federal Police in 2002, Gutzeit declared in evidence
to the federal police that Jader Barbalho’s brother would have demanded a fee of
R$400,000 in order to ensure that the project be approved by SUDAM. According to
the Federal Prosecutor’s investigations, Jader Barbalho’s brother, Lionel Barbalho, was
the person who acted as the intermediary between Jader and businessmen interested in
having their projects approved by SUDAM.107
Jader Barbalho and another 57 people (the co called “SUDAM mafia”) were accused
of committing crimes against the administration of the Amazonian Investment Fund
(FINAM), run by the now defunct SUDAM, in the administrative process that led to
the approval of projects and the release of funds for companies in the Amazon.108 Gutzeit
was arrested by the federal police for fraud, but upon being freed by habeas corpus, he
fled to Switzerland, benefiting from his dual nationality. Another nine businesses located
in the Anapu region were investigated and their owners prosecuted for embezzling
funds for projects approved by SUDAM. Among those involved, Agropecuária Belo
Monte S/A; Agroindústria Terranorte Ltda; and Rio Anapu Agroindustrial S/A.109 The
above information establishes that more than 10 landowners have been accused of
encouraging the clearing and destruction of the Amazon forest and of using political
influence to embezzle public funds. These funds were used to finance political campaigns
and to keep the old and new oligarchies in power.
There was (and still is) a close relationship between the illegal appropriation of
land and the embezzlement of funds, as the land served as a type of “guarantee” and a
place where the fictitious plans financed by SUDAM were “implemented.”
This scheme of corruption and use of public funds, interlinked with the falsification
of land documents in Pará, involved executive authorities and members of parliament and
the judiciary, thereby consolidating a pattern of a state shot through with impunity, violence,
and the exclusion of the poorest. This resulted in the stirring up of agrarian and environ-
mental conflict, causing more violence against workers and human rights defenders.

3. SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT PROJECTS (PDS)

The furthering of the struggle for a new agrarian and environmental policy in
Anapu has come about as a result of political pressure from social movements in the

107
“Depoimento de irmão de Jader compromete ex-senador no caso Sudam,” Agência Folha, 10 April 2002; available at:
http://www1.folha.uol.com.br/folha/brasil/ult96u31225.shl.
108
“Inquérito contra o Deputado José Tourinho deve virar Ação Penal,” 16 June 2005,; available at http://
www.prr1.mpf.gov.br/s0_data/outras_noticias_corpo.htm.
109
List of companies that embezzled funds from SUDAM. National Integration Ministry, Project Coordination Unit.

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HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS IN THE AMAZON: CONFLICT AND VIOLENCE IN THE STATE OF PARÁ

region. Struggling against land concentration, the movements demanded that the land
belonging to the federal government be transformed into conservation areas or settlement
projects, incorporating a new way of working the land and sustainably using and
conserving its flora and fauna.110
Sister Dorothy Stang and the social movements in Anapu prepared a development
plan, reconciling familiar methods of production with the sustainable use of the rainforest,
known as Sustainable Development Projects (PDS). In 1997, the request from the
social movements for the creation of two PDSs was officially registered with INCRA
(No. 54100.002349/00-97). The objective of the PDS111 is to ensure the simultaneous
peaceful settlement of traditional inhabitants of the Amazon (indigenous peoples,
extractivists, riverine communities, landless workers, and farmers) in areas of environ-
mental interest, while encouraging sustainable use and non-invasive growth, within a
context in which human rights are respected and protected.
The landless workers, rural workers, extractivists, and riverine communities insisted
upon the need to transform large farms into areas of settlement and conservation. The
proposal included 24 plots, each measuring 3,000 hectares, on the Belo Monte Estate,
as well as 21 plots, each measuring 3,000 hectares, on the Bacajá Estate. Thus, they
were requesting that 45 plots be destined for environmentally sustainable extractivism.112
After submitting the application for the implementation of the PDS, INCRA re-
quested a re-registering of all the land that made up the municipality of Anapu (1998).
This process of re-registration was carried out in 1999, establishing that all of the contested
plots of land were large and unproductive. In other words, all of the plots of land put
forward by the workers were legally eligible for allocation under the program of agrarian
reform. Some of these plots of land had already been legally returned to the government
and others were in the process of having their CATPs cancelled.
In November 2002, through decree INCRA/SR-01(G)/N 39/2002, INCRA officially
created the PDS in Anapu, as a new model of the federal government’s program for
agrarian reform in the region.113 INCRA’s plan anticipated the implementation of four
PDSs in Anapu, settling approximately 600 families. These families would receive technical
assistance, financial support, and the infrastructure needed for their development.114
Following the criteria laid out in the decree that defines the rules for the imple-
mentation of the PDSs, the STR in Anapu and the popular organizations involved

110
Document sent by the Federation of Agricultural Workers from the State of Pará and Amapá (FETAGRI) to then
INCRA Superintendent in Pará, Maria Santana da Silva, on 5 February 2001.
111
The PDS concept was created by INCRA through Portaria/Incra/P nº 477, on 4 November 1999 and detailed in
Portaria/Incra/P nº 1.032 on 25 October 2000. Information available from Diário Oficial da União, Section 1, nº 240,
12 December 2002. Available from http://www.in.gov.br/
112
“Grito dos Posseiros de Anapu,” Manifest or the STR of Anapu, September 2004.
113
Diário Oficial da União, Section 1, number 240, 12 December 2002, available from http://www.in.gov.br/.
114
Procedure INCRA/SR-(01)/nº 54100.002349/00-97. Information gathered from INCRA’s Portaria do INCRA
that created the PDS in Anapu.

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HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS IN THE AMAZON: CONFLICT AND VIOLENCE IN THE STATE OF PARÁ

formulated a plan for the use of PDSs in the region. It was made clear that the beneficiaries
would have to pledge to respect the environmental legislation and follow the sustainable
development guidance, implementing and consolidating profitable activities that would
allow the constant re-growth of types of vegetation and the replanting of deforested
areas, allowing the locals to live in improved and more dignified conditions.115
The popular organizations involved were concerned with drafting the rules of
usage for the PDS, in order to prevent beneficiaries from repeating the errors commit-
ted by those who used their CATPs incorrectly, selling their land or using it in an
improper way. For this reason, the use plan prepared by the STR established not only
rights, but also responsibilities and a system of inspection and penalties.
Another substantial obstacle to the implementation of the projects for sustainable
development has been the violence inflicted by loggers, landowners, and grileiros within
the plots of land set aside for the aforementioned projects. The families are intimidated
and expelled from the land by private armed militias contracted by loggers and grileiros.
Following the creation of the PDSs in 2002, INCRA undertook a legal battle with the
landowners and loggers to reclaim the land belonging to the government. The aforementioned
body was not able to carry out the demarcation of the plots of land for the PDS.116
Experts from the Brazilian Environment Institute (IBAMA) revealed the difficulties
faced carrying out the inspections in the project areas due to the climate of animosity,
including direct threats, from the grileiros. A report on the visit, circulated on 30 August
2002 by experts from IBAMA, denounced the presence of hired gunmen in the area.
The team had traveled to Anapu with the intention of examining the implementation
of a Forest Extractive Reserve (Reserva Extrativista Florestal, RESEX) on the Bacajá Estate
and two PDSs, PDS Jatobá and PDS Esperança.117
With the election of the new federal government in 2003, the process was resumed,
heeding the demands of the social movements in Anapu. The four PDSs outlined in the
INCRA decree, amounting to 70,000 hectares, were created.118 However, the plan is
facing problems in being implemented, given that the majority of the land has been
subject to speculation by grileiros and sudanzeiros for many years.
Laudelino Délio Fernandes Neto was one of the landowners who occupied land set
aside for agrarian reform. He established a farm on plots 56 and 58, which is protected
by hired gunmen, and also occupied and then sold plots 60, 61, and 62 on the Bacajá

115
Usage Plan of the Association of the Project for Sustainable Development of Anapu, Pará.
116
“Reforma agrária: sustentabilidade ambiental e direitos humanos”, National Rapporteur on the Right to an Environment,
Brazil ESCR Platform, statement released on 16 February 2005. Available at: http://www.dhescbrasil.org.br/cgi/
cgilua.exe/sys/start.htm?infoid=30&sid=19.
117
Report of the mission presented by IBAMA technician Ruth Maria A. Tavares, 30 August 2002.
118
PDS Anapu I covers plots 16, 20, 21, 23, 25, 27, 29, 60, 61, and 62; PDS Anapu II covers plots 56 and 58 in the
Bacajá Estate. PDS Anapu III and IV were also created, covering respectively plots 110, 136, 138, 139, 158, 162, and
178, and plots 107 and 132, both in the Belo Monte Estate.

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HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS IN THE AMAZON: CONFLICT AND VIOLENCE IN THE STATE OF PARÁ

Estate to third parties. These plots had been set aside for PDSs. Délio Fernandes remains
on the land, as he was conceded this right by the Federal Court in Marabá in a lawsuit
to maintain his ownership of the land (Ação de manutenção de posse). He requested the
right to remain on the land and to the surprise of rural workers and INCRA employees,
the judge in charge of the case granted him this right, basing her judgment upon the
simple possession of a CATP exhibited in the case.
As has been stated, INCRA had already re-registered the whole of the Anapu area
and reported that the region was riddled with irregular CATPs. For this reason, it is
inadmissible that Délio Fernandes be allowed to stay on the aforementioned land. This
episode demonstrates how vulnerable the rural workers in the Anapu region are, even
from a legal standpoint.
In a visit to Anapu in March 2005, research teams from Justiça Global and Terra de
Direitos reported that the workers benefiting from the PDS were found to have been
completely abandoned by the authorities responsible. The police, who should have
protected them, in fact persecuted and criminalized workers who found themselves in
areas of conflict. Technical help is not carried out by public bodies, but rather experts
from the Economic and Ecologic Solidarity Association of Fruits of the Amazon (Asso-
ciação Solidária Econômica e Ecológica de Frutas da Amazônia, ASSEEFA) with a team
unsuitable to service the 70,000 hectares set aside for the PDS.
The workers were awaiting the distribution of survival packages from INCRA
which would ensure their subsistence until such time as they were able to being marketing
their production. However, another source stated that the arrival of the packages was
being hindered, as there was no vehicle for their transport to Anapu. The packages were
being stored in the municipality of Altamira. Also at the time of the research teams’ visit,
there was no evidence found to demonstrate that the financial and technical support that
the federal government had supposedly set aside for the PDS had in fact been provided.

4. HUMAN RIGHTS DEFENDERS: AN EMBLEMATIC CASE OF A MURDER FORETOLD

The negligence, disregard, and inaction of the public authorities dealing with the
falsification of land documents, the encroachment of the timber industry, and the gro-
wing level of deforestation represent the background for the violence against the populace
and social movements of Anapu. It is well-known that 90% of the timber from this
region comes from illegal logging.119 The federal government has negotiated with the
landowners, but rural workers continue being threatened, thrown off their land, and
criminalized, and their leaders murdered.

119
“Reforma agrária: sustentabilidade ambiental e direitos humanos,” National Rapporteur on the Right to an Environment,
Brazil ESCR Platform, statement released on 16 February 2005. Available at: http://www.dhescbrasil.org.br/cgi/
cgilua.exe/sys/start.htm?infoid=30&sid=19.

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HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS IN THE AMAZON: CONFLICT AND VIOLENCE IN THE STATE OF PARÁ

One of the most active leaders in the municipality was Sister Dorothy Stang, a 73-
year-old American, who had become a naturalized Brazilian. She had worked in Pará as
a Missionary of the Congregation of Notre Dame de Namur since 1966 and was known
as a defender of environmental, agrarian, and human rights causes, confronting the
loggers and large landowners.
Just like the many other threats that have resulted in the death of union leaders,
members of the church, and lawyers in Pará, Sister Dorothy’s case had been reported
numerous times to the appropriate authorities by the social movements. Sister Dorothy
herself had sent official letters to the Federal Public Prosecutor, Special Secretariat of
Human Rights, INCRA, and local branch of the Brazilian Bar Association in Belém,
reporting that she was being threatened. In those letters, she reported both the names of
the landowners who were threatening her and the lawlessness of the crimes they were
committing on government land.
On 15 June 2004, the Federal Prosecutor in Belém, Felício Pontes, Jr., sent an
official letter to the Special Secretary for Civil Defense of Pará, Manoel Santino Nasci-
mento, Jr., asking for protection for Sister Dorothy. On 3 February 2005, eight days
before her assassination, Sister Dorothy handed a letter to the State Civil Police Chief in
Pará, Luiz Fernandes, accompanied by rural workers who were being threatened and
representatives from human rights organizations. This letter reported that three people
were threatening families of landless workers in the Anapu region. Amongst the three
allegedly threatening the families, two of them, Vitalmiro Bastos De Moura (known as
“Bida”) and Amair Feijoli da Cunha (known as “Tato”), now stand accused of being
involved in her own murder.120
On the same day that she handed the letter to Police Chief Fernandes, Sister Dorothy
took part in a public hearing in Belém, in which the National Program for the Protec-
tion of Human Rights Defenders was launched. At this meeting were present then
Special Secretary for Human Rights Nilmário Miranda, the incumbent Governor of
Pará, Secretary for Civil Defense in Pará Manoel Santino, representatives from the
Office of the State Public Prosecutor, and other officials such as senators and federal
and state representatives. Darci Frigo, founder and Executive Director of Terra de Direi-
tos, representing civil society organizations in the coordination of the National Program,
revealed that in addition to Sister Dorothy, four other people in the region were receiving
death threats and that large landowners and loggers had invaded an area of Anapu. He
specifically denounced the invasion of the worker Luiz Moraes de Brito’s house by
armed gunmen. This case was then reported to the police.

120
“Freira denunciou três pessoas em carta à polícia”, O Globo, 16 February 2005, p. A13.

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HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS IN THE AMAZON: CONFLICT AND VIOLENCE IN THE STATE OF PARÁ

These events show that there has been complete negligence by the public authorities,
that did not adopt effective measures in a timely fashion to prevent the continual and
systematic violation of human rights widely reported that culminated in the murder of
Sister Dorothy Stang on the morning of 12 February 2005.121
During a mission to Anapu, teams from Justiça Global and Terra de Direitos received
information from Father Amaro, a close friend and neighbor of Dorothy Stang, that the
day before her death, 11 February 2005, she went to the Anapu Police Station asking
for protection from the police chief, Marcelo Luz, before heading to the PDS Esperan-
ça. She wanted security in order to enter PDS Esperança and was told by Police Chief
Luz that there were no police cars or police officers available to escort her; he also told
her to “handle it yourself ” (“se vire” (sic) was the expression supposedly used by the
police chief ).122
According to information released by the federal police, Sister Dorothy’s murder
was allegedly ordered by a group of landowners and loggers who were feeling hard-hit
by the denunciations that she had been making over the last few years and by the
implementation of the PDS.123 For many years, Sister Dorothy had confronted grileiros
and timber merchants in the region, denouncing the illegal occupation of areas recognized
as belonging to the government. One of the landowners accused by Sister Dorothy was
the previously mentioned Délio Fernandes. In evidence to the federal police in November
2002, Sister Dorothy categorically stated that Délio was present on the Bacajá Estate,
occupying plots 56 and 58 irregularly.
Another landowner, Luis Ungaratti, was also denounced numerous times by Sister
Dorothy, including for the expulsion in 2001 of 34 families from an area set aside for a
PDS. He used heavily armed gunmen to intimidate the families, threatening them with
death if they returned to the land. He ordered grass seed to be planted in the cultivated
areas, preventing other crops from growing, and permitting the grazing of cattle in the
area. This was a way of “guaranteeing or keeping the ownership” of the land in his
hands.124

121
Despite then Special Secretary Nilmário Miranda’s reaction, demanding the punishment of those responsible for
Sister Dorothy Stang’s murder, his discourse is representative of the governmental practice of not adopting preventative
measures against violence. He met the sister a few days before, and was aware of the death threats she had been
receiving, but claimed, “We reported the case to the police, but never did we think that these criminals would dare to
murder a Sister, someone representative of the struggle in the area” (statement given to Folha de São Paulo, 12 February
2005, available at Folha online).
122
This murder had a substantial impact on national public opinion, so much so that the Senate created the ‘External
Commission to Follow the Investigations Into the Murder of Sister Dorothy Stang.” This was put into place through
Act No. 8 of 2005.
123
“Consórcio de assassinos,” Istoé online, retrieved on 6 April 2005. Available at: http://www.terra. com.br/istoe/1851/
brasil/1851_consorcio_de_assassinos.htm.
124
Testimony by Dorothy Stang to the Federal Police in Belém, 28 November 2002.

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HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS IN THE AMAZON: CONFLICT AND VIOLENCE IN THE STATE OF PARÁ

As a result of the mass felling of trees in 2000, plots 54, 55, and 57 were also
targets of Sister Dorothy’s denunciations. This time those accused of being responsible
were the landowners, Marcos Oliveira and Regivaldo Pereira Galvão (the latter known
as “Taradão”), who were involved in the embezzlement of sums of money from
SUDAM.125 In May 2004, Taradão cut down new large areas of the aforementioned
lots. Even though he had been warned by IBAMA, Taradão continued to systematically
fell trees. In a letter delivered to the Office of the Federal Prosecutor on 16 June 2004,126
Sister Dorothy denounced the illegal deforestation practiced by Taradão and Vitalmiro
Bastos de Moura (known as “Bida”).
Bida filed a lawsuit for the reintegration of ownership (Ação de Reintegração de
Posse), alleging that “his” land (plot 55) was being invaded by people who were clearing
trees for pasture. Then Judge of the Agrarian Court in Altamira, Danielle Buhrnheim,
granted a Preliminary Decision of Reintegration in November 2004 based upon the
“proof ” presented by Bida (Case number 067/2004-AC).
In July 2004, when the aforementioned lawsuit was brought to court, the PDSs
were already in the process of being implemented in Anapu. Judge Buhrnheim, a supposed
authority on the matter, should have questioned the petitioner’s right to the land, given
that they the land in question was an area understood to belong to the federal govern-
ment. However, the judge did not request a report from INCRA or IBAMA to verify
the contested ownership.127
Despite the partnership formed among landowners in the region (including Délio
Fernandes, Luis Ungaratti, and Yoaquim Petrola), according to the police investigation
Bida and Taradão were the main instigators of the plan, which had as its objective the
murder of Sister Dorothy Stang. After her murder, the federal police carried out a
search on Vitalmiro Bastos’ farm (he is accused of ordering the crime) and found a note
that referred to financial assistance provided by Luis Ungaratti to the chief of the local
police, Marcelo Luz. Luz supposedly provided support to Ungaratti in conflicts with
the rural workers. This is yet another indication of the involvement of Ungaratti in the
partnership of landowners and the murder of the missionary.
The Office of the Pará State Public Prosecutor accused in court five people involved
in the murder of Sister Dorothy Stang. According to Prosecutor Lauro de Freitas, Jr.,
who signed the indictment, the accused will respond to a charge of intentional homicide.
Based on federal and civil police inquiries, the prosecutor accused Rayfan das Neves
Sales (known as “Fogoió”) and Clodoaldo Carlos Batista (known as “Eduardo”) of being

125
“Grito dos Posseiros de Anapu”, ,manifesto from the STR of Anapu, September 2004.
126
A copy of this letter was sent to Justiça Global by the Office of the Federal Public Prosecutor for Pará on 2 March
2005.
127
On 22 February 2005, 20 days after Sister Dorothy Stang’s death, then Judge of the Agrarian Court, Francisco
Coimbra, revoked this Preliminary Decision of Reintegration of Ownership (Decisão Liminar de Reintegração de
Posse) due to the fact that they were dealing with public land.

100
HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS IN THE AMAZON: CONFLICT AND VIOLENCE IN THE STATE OF PARÁ

the assassins; Amair Feijoli da Cunha (known as “Tato”) of being the middleman; and
Vitlamiro Bastos de Moura (“Bida”) and Regivaldo Pereira Galvão (“Taradão”) of
masterminding and paying for the crime.128
The State Court of Pará gave notice that the session of the Trial Court Jury, which
would sentence Rayfran and Clodoaldo, would take place in October 2005. By mid-
November 2005 the decision on the request for the transfer of competence of this trial
was still pending, and only at the end of that month a decision was taken. The jury met
on 9 and 10 December, but no date has yet been set for the trial of the masterminds of
the crime.129

Sister Dorothy Stang, assassinated on 12 February 2005. Photo by João Laet.

128
Case n°. 200520002470, Municipality of Marabá, available at: http://www.tj.pa.gov.br.
129
Rayfran das Neves Sales was sentenced to 27 years in prison; Clodoaldo Carlos Batista to 17 years.

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HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS IN THE AMAZON: CONFLICT AND VIOLENCE IN THE STATE OF PARÁ

5. HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS, IMPUNITY AND FEDERALIZATION

Fearing that once again impunity would be the rule, civil society organizations
requested that then Chief Attorney General (Procurador Geral da República) Cláudio
Fonteles apply for the federalization130 of the Dorothy Stang case in the Brazilian Supe-
rior Court of Justice (Superior Tribunal de Justiça, STJ).131 The struggle for the treatment
of human rights crimes at the federal level is old and the debate is central on the agendas
of human rights defenders.
The basic necessary requirement for the transfer of legal competency is the grave
violation of human rights combined with the failure of the court in one of the Federation
states. Federalization aims to guarantee the fulfillment of obligations resulting from
international human rights treaties to which Brazil is a signatory. This requirement was
included in the documentation on impunity with relation to cases of agrarian conflict
in the state of Pará.
On 7 April 2005, lawyers from Terra de Direitos and the CPT in Pará requested to
assist the Attorney General’s call for the federalization of the case. The request was
made in the name of David Joseph Stang, brother of Dorothy. The objective was to
reinforce the need to transfer legal competency to the federal courts, given the history
of the inefficiency of the judicial system in Pará in sentencing and punishing those
responsible for similar crimes before and after the aforementioned crime.
Contrary to what the Office of the State Public Prosecutor in Pará alleged, the
request, formulated by the above-mentioned organizations, was in

...complete agreement with the constitutional system in place, which holds as sacred the prin-
cipal of human dignity, itself a fundamental principle of a Democratic State of Law. Besides
this, if the Constitutional Law of 1998 allows the acute hypothesis of federal intervention
when human rights are threatened (Arts. 34, VII, b), in the interest of the preservation of
justice, there is no reason to obstruct the possibility of the transferal of competency.132

However, the STJ did not consider the request for the treatment of Sister Dorothy’s
case at a federal level to be appropriate, arguing that the Pará state justice system had

130
Constitutional Amendment No. 45 which added to paragraph no. 5 of Article 109 of the Federal Constitution the
following provision: “In the event of a grave violation of human rights, the Chief Federal Prosecutor, with the intention
of ensuring the fulfillment of obligations resulting from international treaties (of which Brazil is a signatory) on
human rights, may request, before the High Court for Justice, at any point in the inquiry or case, the transfer of
competence to the Federal Courts.” (free translation)
131
“Pedido de federalização,” Estadão online, retrieved on 12 July 2005. Available at: http://conjur.estadao.com.br/
static/text/33722,1.
132
From a petition sent to the STJ by Terra de Direitos and the CPT (7 April 2005) as assistants in the request for the
federalization of the proceeding that would pronounce judgement on the murder of Sister Dorothy Stang.

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HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS IN THE AMAZON: CONFLICT AND VIOLENCE IN THE STATE OF PARÁ

undertaken rapid actions and in a short space of time was able to investigate the case
and arrest the accused.133
There was exceptional speed in the civil police investigation into this case as a
result of the parallel federal police investigation and pressure from national and interna-
tional organizations, in view of the major repercussions of this crime. Aside from the
speed of the investigation and the measures by Pará’s judiciary, it is known that Bida,
who ordered the murder, received help at Laudelino Fernandes’ (“Délio”) farm. It is
suspected that other landowners who received profits in the millions from SUDAM’s
public funds formed a partnership to intimidate and persecute workers and human
rights defenders.
After Sister Dorothy’s death, a meeting took place on 16 February at INCRA
headquarters in Belém to discuss “Operation Peace in Pará.”134 The objective of this
operation was to speed up actions in municipalities in which the highest number of
agrarian conflicts had been identified. Five teams, made up of representatives from the
federal government, INCRA, IBAMA, the regional headquarters for employment, the
federal police, the transport police, and the armed forces, were sent to Anapu.
In the week following the meeting, the teams sent to Anapu remained responsible
for the inspection of 25 areas, totaling 75,000 of the municipality. These inspections
served to declare illegally owned land as areas of social interest for agrarian reform.
According to information from the Ministry for Agrarian Development (MDA), INCRA
would also send teams with topographers and agricultural experts to geographically
map out all of the land formations and begin the regularization of plots of land up to
100 hectares in the municipality.
In another meeting, which took place in Anapu on 25 February 2005, Minister
for Agrarian Development Miguel Rosseto announced the following proposals for the
region, which were to be completed within 30 days: the geographical mapping of 22
plots of land in the PDSs; begin a stage of the expropriation of land; and a joint inspection
with IBAMA and the Regional Headquarters for Employment. The experts from INCRA,
in turn, should immediately notify and carry out an inspection of these plots of land,
accompanied by IBAMA staff who would issue fines for unlawful environmental damage.
Minister Rosseto promised to carry out another inspection by MDA in March 2005.
On 13 June 2005, a meeting took place between the organizations that made up
the social movement in Anapu to evaluate the situation on the land of PDS Esperança,
PDS Virola Jatobá, and the Manduacari Estate, as well as the degree of fulfillment of the
federal government’s promises. It was established that plot 55, where Sister Dorothy

133
The application was considered on 8 June 2005 at a session of the High Court of Justice (STF). The request was
denied unanimously by the Magistrates present at the 3rd Session.
134
“Operation Peace in Pará” was the name given to the federal government plan of action to be implemented in Pará,
aimed at reducing agrarian conflicts. Information available at http://www.ces.fgvsp.br/index.cfm?fuseaction=noticia
&IDnoticia=18059&IDidioma=1.

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died, had been expropriated, and until that moment neither the topography nor the
opening of the side road had been carried out. This made the rural workers’ activities
impossible. Aside from this, of the 22 plots that should have been inspected, only eight
(52, 54, 60, 53, 57, 59, 14, and 18) had been inspected and up until the day of this
meeting the report on the inspections had not been produced. Only four plots are fairly
regularized (plots 3, 16, 20, and 22), but despite all of the denunciations, Délio Fernan-
des remained on plots 56 and 58.135
Months after Minister Rosseto’s visit to Anapu, the promises have not been fulfilled
by the federal government. Negligence and carelessness are once again reflected in the
government’s inertia towards bringing about agrarian reform. The rural workers need a
swift and efficient resolution from the authorities responsible as regards the decision over
ownership in the aforementioned plots of land, given that these plots were fraudulently
seized by people known to be criminals.

6. CRIMINALIZING WORKERS AND ACTIVISTS

Despite the many denunciations to relevant state and federal authorities, the
respective governments no effective action was taken by the authorities. Of the 12
police proceedings related to land conflicts set up in Anapu and Altamira between 2003
and 2005, eight are against workers accused of “invading private property.” This is
nonsense, given that in that region the land belongs to the government (terras da União).
The rural workers in Anapu are victims of countless human rights violations, not
only on the part of landowners and loggers, but also local authorities, which continue to
criminalize the claims and actions of the region’s social movements. The rural workers
are treated as criminals and the “grileiros as innocent landowners,” threatened by “dan-
gerous invaders,” as happened on the Manduacari Estate.
The Manduacari Estate is located on the road neighboring Três Barracas and is
known to be federal government land. It was subject to the concession contracts (CATPs)
in the 1970s that were never fulfilled. In December 2002, part of the estate was occupied
by 300 families and 500 plots were demarcated. The families occupied plots 4-7, which
according to INCRA were already classified as large unproductive areas. However, the
settlement project was abandoned due to the strong presence of grileiros in the region
and lack of presence of the Pará Land Institute (Instituto de Terras do Pará, or ITERPA).
Forty days after the establishment of the encampment, Yoaquim Petrola arrived
and presented himself as the “owner” of the Cospel Farm, which includes five of the
Manduacari plots. His arrival was extremely violent and he relied upon the help of the
military police to expel the families. Many people were arrested and homes (with all the
families’ possessions, including private documents) were destroyed and burnt. The families

135
Information gathered by the team from Terra de Direitos, present at the meeting on 13 June 2005.

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were placed in a lorry and dumped in the town of Anapu. In this episode, the police
took six rural workers to the police station in Altamira, accusing them of forming a
gang, of muggings, and of illegally carrying weapons (in fact, they did not even own a
hunting rifle). They remained imprisoned for four months and two days, finally being
released in May 2003.
In October 2003, part of the group (153 families) entered the land again. Four
days later, Benedito, the manager of the Cospel Farm, returned to the area accompanied
by a policeman and threatened and insulted the families. Both of them were armed.
The landless workers camping in the Farm then reacted and seized their guns. The
manager registered the incident with the police, falsely accusing the families of assault
and theft. Following this, INCRA registered these 153 families and legitimized their
staying on the estate (plots 4-7).
In November 2003 the families were surprised by the presence of a gunman at the
entrance to the farm, the road blocked by a chain, and 16 people armed with pistols, guns,
and rifles. This road had existed for more than 15 years permitting the free passage of
people and vehicles. The blockade obstructed transit in an area of 12 km, starting in plot
3 and continuing to the end of plot 7. The members of this militia were identified as
employees of the security firm Marca Vigilância and they did not permit the families to
pass. They also said they had orders from the owner to clear the land for Yoaquim Petrola.
The police chief at the Civil Police Superintendency in Altamira, Pedro Monteiro,
eased Marca Vigilância’s arrival in Anapu. On 13 November 2003, the military police
were carrying out a blockade of the Transamazonian Highway, close to the town, when
a vehicle transporting employees from Marca Vigilância passed by. When the Corporal
approached the vehicle, Monteiro interrupted the Corporal’s action and allowed the car
to pass freely through the blockade. These events were witnessed by dozens of people.
In December 2003, some men, saying they were acting in the name of Marca
Vigilância, attacked the landless workers’ huts, destroying supplies, pots, crockery, and
other belongings. The following day, there was another action taken by the company,
including the discharge of gunfire. On this occasion a landless worker was seriously
injured by four shots. On 28 December, Yoaquim Petrola arrived in the area with 33
armed men to prevent the landless workers from entering the plots of land; he surrounded
the area and gave the order to kill whoever dared to enter.
In another instance, in June 2004, Sister Dorothy Stang was accused of supplying
arms and hiding a group of four people who allegedly murdered a worker on the Cospel
Farm. She responded to this accusation in the police inquiry and gave evidence in
court. As a result of this incident, four workers were randomly accused and then arrested
by the military police, without any type of proof of their involvement in the murder.
They remained imprisoned for more than six months despite pressure from human
rights organizations.
During the 48 hours after the murder of Sister Dorothy, two rural workers
(Adalberto Xavier Leal, known as “Cabeludo” and Cláudio Dantas Muniz, known as

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HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS IN THE AMAZON: CONFLICT AND VIOLENCE IN THE STATE OF PARÁ

“Matogrosso”) were murdered in the Anapu region. Ever since the beginning of the
investigation into the murder of the missionary, it was clear that the police, led by
police chief Marcelo Ferreira de Souza Luz, intended to impede the progress of the
investigations, thus benefiting the accused landowners.
In Cabeludo’s case, the police immediately accused the workers linked to Sister
Dorothy as being responsible for the crime. Since then, all the efforts of the police
investigation have been focused on criminalizing the landless workers. At the conclusion
of the police inquest, Chief of the Civil Police Marcelo Ferreira de Souza Luz requested
the preventive detainment of Geraldo Magela de Almeida Filho (one of the witnesses in
the case of Sister Dorothy), José Rodrigues da Silva, “Luiz de Tal,” “Mundão de Tal,”
“Cláudio de Tal,” and “Félix de Tal.” The request was obeyed by the judge of Pacajá
who issued an arrest warrant for these individuals, including the ones who were not
identified by name.
Utilizing the arrest warrant issued against “Luiz de Tal,” (one of the forms of a
“John Doe”), the police arrested Luis Morais de Brito, one of the leaders of PDS Espe-
rança. It turns out that de Brito had been a victim of Amair Feijoli da Cunha (known
as “Tato”), who had burned his (de Brito’s) house in order to kick de Brito out of the
area. De Brito sought out the local police, who refused to take any measures.
This fact was denounced in a public hearing that took place in Belém. De Brito
described the violence he had suffered through the omission and connivance of Chief
of Police Marcelo Ferreira Luz to the authorities present at the hearing, among them
Secretary for Social Defense Manoel Santino and then Minister of the Special Secretariat
on Human Rights Nilmário Miranda.
With the objective of justifying the arrest of Luis Morais de Brito, the Chief of
Police forged an recognition statement that was supposedly made by one of the alleged
witnesses in the assassination of Cabeludo, Mr. Vicente Paulo Soeiro. The Chief of
Police presented several photographs of Mr. Soeiro, among them the identification
card of Luis Morais de Brito, and thereby demonstrated that he had noted down
Morais de Brito as being “Luiz de Tal.” The Chief of Police registered this in the
forged statement.
During the judicial hearing on 10 June 2005 in the Forum of Pacajá, Soeiro exposed
the farce developed by the Chief of Police. According to the witness, the Chief of
Police showed a photograph of de Brito to the witness, asking if the witness knew him.
The witness confirmed that he knew de Brito as one of those who lived on PDS Espe-
rança. Nonetheless, at no time did the police authority question if de Brito was the
supposed “Luiz de Tal.” The witness was surprised to know that de Brito was imprisoned
because of that accusation.
The worker Luiz Morais was unjustly detained for 40 days. This is yet another
case of an egregious human rights violation of rural workers and the total irresponsibility
of the Pará justice system, that goes to the surreal situation of authorizing arrests for
“Luizes de Tais” (“Johns Does”).

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HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS IN THE AMAZON: CONFLICT AND VIOLENCE IN THE STATE OF PARÁ

According to Geraldo Magela, one of the witnesses in Sister Dorothy’s case, Rayfran,
one of the gunmen accused, was schooled by police officers from Anapu when arested.
Geraldo, who was present at the moment of the arrest, allegedly heard them direct the
gunman to incriminate Francisco de Assis dos Santos Sousa, president of the Rural
Workers’ Union, known as “Chiquinho do PT.” Rayfran did in fact state in his testimony
that Chiquinho do PT was responsible for Sister Dorothy’s death. The information was
disclosed to the national press in an attempt to cajole society into believing that the
murder was a result of internal disputes within the PDSs. However, upon giving evidence
to the federal police inquiry, Rayfran denied the accusation, making the manipulation
carried out by the civil police evident.
The same police chief, Marcelo Luz, was denounced by a note found at Bida’s
Farm, confirming that he received 10,000 Reais from Bida to protect the land belonging
to the landowners in the region against possible occupation. The police chief was relieved
of his duty and according to information divulged by the press, he is subject to
administrative proceedings within the civil police.
While the civil police in Pará acted in a swift and focused way to hunt down the
rural workers, looking to favor those involved in the murder of Sister Dorothy, the rule
of law on the PDS continued to be determined by the most powerful. Dominguinhos,
one of the most powerful grileiros in Anapu, continues to threaten rural workers in the
area, despite widespread denunciations by the press.
Father José Amaro Lopes de Sousa has lived for 15 years in Anapu and was a
neighbor and close friend to Sister Dorothy. For seven years he has been a Catholic
priest in the municipality. Since his arrival, he has become involved with the social
movements alongside Sister Dorothy. According to Father Amaro, from 1999 onwards,
the grileiros of public lands began to threaten the rural workers so that they would leave
the land. The motive was the already cited Amazonian Investment Fund created by
SUDAM, which attracted grileiros to the region and established a climate of tension.136
In his report to the federal police, Father Amaro confirms that rural workers are
constantly threatened by landowners and that he himself had already suffered countless
death threats. He noted that in 2004, he began an education project together with
families that occupied the Manduacari Estate. The work consisted of explaining to the
people that the land belonged to the nation and that therefore they should not leave the
place like the Gambira family (grileiros in the region) wanted. Leomar Gambira threatened
the priest overtly at a meeting with Elias Sousa, president of the Association of Farmers
in Manduacari (Associação Agropecuarista dos Colonos de Manduacari, or AACM). Gambira
said to Elias: “I’m going to silence that Father Amaro, whatever it takes. ...His days are
numbered.”

136
Information extracted from Father Amaro’s testimony to the federal police. A team from Justiça Global and the
Federal Prosecutor for Pará, Félicio Pontes, were present during the testimony on 10 March 2005, Anapu, Pará.

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HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS IN THE AMAZON: CONFLICT AND VIOLENCE IN THE STATE OF PARÁ

Father Amaro was invited to be part of the Federal Government Witness Protecti-
on Program (PROVITA). He rejected this protection, explaining that his leaving the
municipality would not resolve the agrarian conflicts. On the contrary, he declared that
it is fundamental that an effective investigation into the denunciations and violence
against rural workers and the murder of Sister Dorothy take place, punishing all those
responsible, without the workers or their leaders abandoning the land, as their assailants
would like.
The threats continued on 28 August 2005 when three policemen accompanied by
five unidentified men arrived at plot number 53 of the PDS Esperança. They used a
white Toyota belonging to Luiz Ungaratti, the aforementioned landowner and logger.137
The policemen arrested two rural workers, Francisco Valentino Santos and Miguel
Valentino Santos, and declared that they were going to proceed in clearing the area
“belonging to Luiz Ungaratti.” They did not present any form of court order for the
reintegration of ownership. As usual, the police invaded the workers’ homes and destroyed
all of their belongings, leaving their wives and children in the street. After they arrested
Francisco and Miguel, they went to other homes on the PDS, threatening them to leave
the area within 15 days. They declared that after this date they would return to set fire
to all remaining huts.
This type of action, as well as arbitrary imprisonment, have been occurring
systematically in Anapu, showing that the local police are closely engaged in the interests
of the large landowners, grileiros, and loggers. Up until the present moment, the measu-
res taken by INCRA and MDA have not been nearly enough to reduce the violence in
the region. The state’s negligence in Anapu makes it directly responsible for the human
rights violations against rural workers taking place in the region.

CONCLUSION

The process of demarcation of plots of land, proposed by the Ministry of Agrarian


Development in February 2005, continues. It was announced by INCRA that, the
process would be ending during the second half of October 2005, and those people
who were occupying the land and using it productively would be guaranteed to have
possession of it. In addition, according to Marcos Kowarick, director of INCRA’s Ter-
ritorial Mapping, grileiros and settlers who were using violence to kick out other settlers
and rural workers from the area, would be removed from those lands. In the PDS

137
Plot 53 of the PDS Esperança is an area under judicial dispute, with an area of 3,000 hectares having been the
subject of a CATP. INCRA established the non-fulfilment of the CATP agreement clauses during an inspection. The
area was defined as a large unproductive estate, according to INCRA’s document 7471/75. INCRA filled a judicial
procedure before the Federal Court in Marabá with the intent of recovering the dominium of that area.

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HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS IN THE AMAZON: CONFLICT AND VIOLENCE IN THE STATE OF PARÁ

Esperança and PDS Virola-Jatobá, the families who are slated to receive demarcated
land would be benefited by the receipt of credit from INCRA to build houses, roads,
and provide energy and water.138
However, it was impossible to perceive, at the time this present report went to
press, real commitment of the authorities to guarantee safety of the rural workers. The
arbitrary and violent actions of the civil police in Anapu continue to promote nonsense
situations such as that described in the section over the criminalization of rural workers
and human rights defenders. The influence of the large landowners (latifundiários),
although a bit weakened due to the national and international repercussions resulting
from Sister Dorothy Stang’s death, can still be seen in the acts of local authorities.
Unless rapid and efficacious actions are implemented soon, Anapu will continue being
a portrait of impunity and the prevalence of the right to property above the human
rights of rural workers and the liberty of the social movements.

Press conference of the Pastoral Land


Commission’s National Coordinator, Dom
Thomaz Balduíno. Photo by José Cruz/ABr.

Brasilia: religious leaders conduct a mess in front of the


Federal Supreme Court (STF) in protest for the
assassination of American missionary Dorothy Stang in
Pará. Photo by Hermínio Oliveira/ABr.

138
“Demarcação de terras em Anapu deve ser concluída em uma semana”, Folha Online, on 5 October 2005, available at:
http://www1.folha.uol.com.br/folha/brasil/ult96u73014.shtml.

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Chapter V

TERRA DO MEIO:
THE FINAL FRONTIER OF FEAR

“The plans for development never considered the preservation of natural resources or the
cultural traditions of the region’s people. The processes of occupation and exploration tore both
nature and man in the Amazon to pieces. The political and commercial groups that were
responsible for the pockets of development shut their eyes in the face of the shameful pockets of
poverty that proliferated around the developed area.”
Jax Nildo Aragão Pinto

1. LOCATION AND CONTEXT

T he region known as Terra do Meio covers the area between the south of the source
of the Amazon River and the border with the state of Mato Grasso, and to the west
of the Tapajós River and east of the Tocantins and Agraguaia Rivers. The region
encompasses all the land in the center of the state of Pará, where the municipality of
Anapu is located. This municipality (like the municipality of Porto de Moz) is located at
the mouth of the Transamazonian Highway, between the highway and the Amazon,
Xingu, and Curuáuna Rivers.
According to a Greenpeace report,139

...Terra do Meio is an area of Amazonian tropical rainforest that is relatively intact. It extends
over 8.3 million hectares between the Xingu and Tapajós Rivers in the state of Pará. Terra do
Meio borders on the north with the indigenous territories of Arara, Kararaô, and Cachoeira
Seca do Iriri; to the west with the Cuiabá-Santarém Highway; to the east with the Xingu
River; and to the south with the Kayapô indigenous land. At least two indigenous areas (Xipaia
and Curuá) are within this area, but they have still not been demarcated or formally recognized
by the Brazilian government.

139
Press release, October 2001, denouncing the violence in the Tera do Meio region.

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HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS IN THE AMAZON: CONFLICT AND VIOLENCE IN THE STATE OF PARÁ

The majority of the indigenous land in Pará is situated in this region. These are
areas that have already been recognized and demarcated or are in the process of being
identified, all of which began in the 1970s and 1980s. However, this land is often
invaded by loggers searching for Amazonian ‘green gold’ (mahogany). This is one of the
sources of conflict in Terra do Meio.
Three cities are considered as gateways to Terra do Meio: São Felix do Xingu
(southeast), Itaituba (northeast), and Novo Progresso (southwest). However, the majority
of this land belongs to another municipality (Altamira) that is cut in half by the Transa-
mazonian Highway (BR-230), infamous for the high level of agrarian violence in the
surrounding area.

Terra do Meio

Indigenous
areas and
conservation
areas

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HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS IN THE AMAZON: CONFLICT AND VIOLENCE IN THE STATE OF PARÁ

Terra do Meio is influenced by a network of roads that link Santarém to Cuiabá


(BR-163) and the Transamazonian Highway (BR-230), both federal highways. There is
also the main state road PA-279 linking the south of Pará with São Felix do Xingu,
located on the banks of the Xingu River. Other roads have also opened (for example,
the Canapus Road) which made the invasion and exploitation of the forest possible.
These roads criss-cross the region, propelling the advance of the frontiers of agriculture
and lumber exploitation through the illegal appropriation of land, illegal logging, and
deforestation. These predatory activities, as well as the expansion of cattle breeding,
frequently use slave labor.
The area around Terra do Meio is typical of the Amazon, characterized by vast
mineral and natural resource wealth.140 While this region is one of the most fertile in
the Amazon, it is also characterized by land occupation, agrarian conflicts, and violence
against rural laborers.
The Terra do Meio region is not hugely different from others in the Amazon in
terms of its geographical characteristics and diverse social groups that live there. There
are indigenous peoples, settlers, caudillos, landowners, loggers, and grileiros, to mention
but a few. This region is also home to organized crime, drug trafficking, illegal logging,
illegal appropriation of land (grilagem da terra), and invasions of indigenous land.
This is an example of how the “development model” adopted in the Amazon is
rapidly destroying the region’s forest and biodiversity. It particularly affects social relations
as traditional riverine families are expelled and pushed towards the peripheries of cities
like Altamira and São Félix do Xingu. These are social and economic consequences of
the current model of development which relies upon the lack of presence and collusion
with or even incentives given by the federal and state governments to the perpetrators
of these crimes.
The advance of economic interests on the frontier of Terra do Meio has gone
hand-in-hand with a period of increased cattle raising141 in the direction of São Félix do
Xingu since 1990. An area south of Pará (Redenção, Santa Maria das Barreiras, etc.)
was opened up for the exclusive cultivation of soy in 1997. The technical reason given
for this was to permit the land to “rest” (lie fallow) and recover after the depletion of its
soil as a result of its use for grazing during the last 20 years.
Over the last few years, the increasing growth in the number of cattle in São Felix
do Xingu and their decline in surrounding municipalities is representative of the strategy
that is being used for the occupation of state public land with the approval of the state
agrarian regulatory body. Meanwhile, the exploration of logging is still expanding and

140
Characteristic of a humid climate with mainly damp forest vegetation. The area’s diverse topography ranges from
river plains to river banks of large rivers, to smooth and accentuated undulating land, to mountain ranges.
141
The cattle rearing cycle has strengthened and expanded alongside the crimes of illegal appropriation of public
lands, use of slave labor, and illegal deforestation, leading to the expelling of traditional populations and destruction of
the forest on the banks of the Xingu River and its tributaries.

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HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS IN THE AMAZON: CONFLICT AND VIOLENCE IN THE STATE OF PARÁ

is a key source of conflict in Terra do Meio.142 On the other hand, the federal gover-
nment’s promise to surface the roads and set in motion the construction of the Belo
Monte hydroelectric plant caused a sudden increase in the value of land and further
raised tempers.
Terra do Meio is a strategic region from a conservation perspective, as it is located
between large conservation areas (an extractive reserve and National Forests (Florestas
Nacionais, Flonas) and indigenous lands. The control of the process of sustainable
occupation in this region is vital for maintaining the areas that have already been set
aside for conservation purposes, something that is not being carried out by the govern-
mental bodies in charge.

2. ENVIRONMENTAL DESTRUCTION AND VIOLENCE IN TERRA DO MEIO

Apart from the main highways, the neighboring roads are important in regional
occupation, such as for example the Canopus Road, constructed between 1981-85 at a
length of approximately 150km between the Xingu and Iriri Rivers. The headquarters
of the construction company responsible for building the Canopus Road was situated
40 km from the Iriri River and the company mined tin-ore. The opening of the road
made the arrival of loggers and gold and tin miners into the area possible. The squatters,
rural laborers, and small farmers began arriving in 1986, encouraged and organized by
the Rural Worker’s Union or by ITERPA programs.
The Canopus region, until the mid 1970s, was only inhabited by traditional com-
munities in the region. Their lifestyle revolved around a more harmonious relationship
with nature. This population was made up of riverine communities (fisherfolk and
small-scale farmers working in activities linked to farming, particularly fields of manioc,
and fishing in regional rivers); extractivists (gatherers of chestnuts, copaíba balsam, rubber,
and andiroba); and indigenous peoples (dependent on hunting, fishing, and farming
for their livelihood).143 It was a region still characterized by its typical Amazonian com-
munities, as at the time the land was still free.144

142
According to data from the External Senate Commission, “wood is a valuable commodity, second only to mining in
its financial value. In 2004, Pará exported US$530 million in timber products. The US and Europe are the two main
markets for these exports.”
143
These are endangered populations, impoverished for decades, who have received no protection from the Brazilian
state. The state is often present through bodies such as the Military Police which serve to protect the grileiros and their
crimes.
144
Free land is land without fences and with no traditional judicial model rooted in agrarian jurisprudence, which
characterized the occupation of the Amazon in the post-1970 period.

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HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS IN THE AMAZON: CONFLICT AND VIOLENCE IN THE STATE OF PARÁ

Beginning in the 1990s, landowners and grileiros (of large properties) arrived and
settled in the region, following the cycles of mineral (gold and tin-ore) and wood
(mahogany) exploration. It was precisely from this period onwards that the CPT began
registering the increasing number of conflicts resulting from land possession, deforesta-
tion,145 slave labor, and criminal activities in the region.
According to information from the final report from the External Commission of
the Federal Senate, Pará is responsible for a third of the deforestation in the Amazon,
especially in the region under examination in this report. “According to remote satellite
monitoring, in 2003, the majority of illegal deforestation occurred in the Terra do Meio
region, near Anapu.” As we saw in the previous chapter, Sister Dorothy Stang repeatedly
and strongly denounced this process of environmental destruction by landowners and
grileiros in the region.
Currently, the Canopus and surrounding roads are mainly occupied and used by
large landowners. Small and medium farmers are restricted to small pockets, mainly
along the main road, close to São Félix do Xingu. The rural laborers’ families are being
pushed in the direction of the Iriri River, towards the Igarapé Bala. However, this region
lies within the Terra do Meio Ecologic Station which was created on 18 February 2005,
six days after the murder of Sister Dorothy Stang.
The survey, carried out in January 2005 along the Xingu River, between the mouth
of the Iriri River and the Canopus Road, registered the 43 riverine families remaining
there.146 Unfortunately, Terra do Meio suffers from more than just environmental des-
truction. Families living there who were interviewed reported cases of physical violence
and threats from groups of grileiros claiming to be the owners of the land traditionally
used by these families.
Anthropologist Stephan Schwartzman summarized the way in which the riverine
families live in the Xingu region:147

The riverine communities living in the central Xingu area, in the Terra do Meio region, are
being expelled from their homes and land, threatened by hired gunmen and police, intimidated,
humiliated, and cornered. They are at the mercy of invading grileiros who behave like feudal
barons in the face of the complete absence of the state.

145
According to estimates made with data from Prodes (INPE, 2004), the deforestation began to be more pronounced
at the end of the 1990s, rising to 347 km2, and in 1997 to 2,318km2 and in 2003 next to São Félix do Xingu/Iriri
(which also covers part of the municipality of Altamira). This represents an area almost seven times larger than the area
cleared in 1997.
146
This survey (in loco visit to the region) was carried out by the following groups: the Pastoral Land Commission
(CPT), Brazilian Institute for Natural Renewable Resources (IBAMA), through their National Center for Traditional
Communities and Sustainable Development (CNPT), WWF-Brazil (responsible for the filming of the expedition),
and Environmental Defense (ED).
147
Schwartzman, Stephan. Grilagem e expulsão dos ribeirinhos no médio Xingo, article published on 17 January 2005.

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HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS IN THE AMAZON: CONFLICT AND VIOLENCE IN THE STATE OF PARÁ

In some of these cases, the families were given deadlines to leave their homes. For
example, Anastácio da Silva Avelino (76 years old) and his family: their house was
attacked in August 2003 by an armed group that machine gunned and killed all of his
pets and resulted in one of his nephews getting hit by a bullet. The event was duly
registered at the Civil Police Station in São Félix do Xingu.
It is said that João Kleber, an infamous grileiro in the São Félix do Xingu region,
was behind the attack. The objective of Kleber’s plan was to seize the riverside community
areas and sell them to landowners in the south of Pará and the central-west of Brazil.
Today Anastácio da Silva Avelino lives hidden on an island, fearing reprisals. Where his
house was located, there is now a large farm owned by Zé Ferro, a landowner from the
south of Pará.
The interviews, carried out by the report team during a survey of the Iriri area,
point out and describe the threats and violence that the riverine communities suffer.
According to Schwartzman,

The violence of the grileiros in São Félix is public and notorious in the region. Mr. HCS [a
resident of Terra do Meio] recounts that on 23 August 2004, in a place called Antônio Pedro,
he was clearing the cacao grove that had been planted by his deceased father, when he heard a
motorboat arrive. When he went to look, there were three armed men. One of them identified
himself as Cícero, and said that from then onwards the land was theirs; he pulled out a 12
calibre shotgun, shoved it in his [HCS’s] face, and said that he had five minutes while he went
up top and if he was still there when he returned, he’d kill him. Mr. HCS had already been
prevented from gathering chestnuts by Zé Inácio [a grileiro in the region] and felt obliged to
try and survive in Altamira.

Besides the Contracts for the Lease of Public Land (Contratos de Alienação de Terras
Públicas, CATPs), research carried out by the CPT in Xingu reveals that there are a
series of fraudulent documents, originating from the system of concessions granted to
rubber tappers. These contracts were duly registered at the county registry offices in
Altamira and São Félix do Xingu, thereby legitimizing the illegal appropriation of public
lands and forest.
For example, the rubber tappers in Caxinguba (an area of 151,721 hectares), Forte
Veneza (96,558 hectares), Humaitá (133,329 hectares), Mossoró (456,864 hectares),
and Belo Horizonte (279,375 hectares) were illegally transferred by the Registry office
in Altamira (Cartório do 1. Ofício de Notas e Registro Imobiliário de Altamira), to the
Empresa Rondon Projetos Ecológicos (Rondon Ecological Projects Firm), linked to the
civil construction entrepreneur Cecílio Rego de Almeida (see chapter I).148

148
This registry office is under investigation following numerous cases of illegal property transferring and the issuing
of irregular land titles, including numerous irregular contracts for INCENXIL and publicly owned forest areas to
private individuals.

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According to the report by the Parliamentary Commission on Inquiry (CPI) from


the Pará Legislative Assembly, these and other rubber tapping areas were incorporated
illegally, forming the “Fazenda Rio Curuá,” with a total area of more than 5.6 million
hectares.149 After analyzing the deeds and documents, the CPI’s final report considered
“the claim to ownership of the land known as the Fazenda Rio Curuá, by the company
Indústria, Comércio, Exportação e Navegação do Xingu Ltda (ICENXIL) illegitimate.”
This entrepreneurial group has already been denounced to the federal courts more
than once by the Federal Public Ministry (Ministério Público Federal, MPF) in Pará. In
a proceeding tendered to the federal court in Santarém in April 2005, the MPF revealed
the existence of a scam on land located by the Iriri River in Terra do Meio. According to
this lawsuit,

It is noted ...that a Criminal Action (Lawsuit no. 2003.39.02.000197-2) is being processed by


this Federal Judge in which the following appear as defendants: ROBERTO BELTRÃO DE
ALMEIDA [son of Cecílio Rego de Almeida], JOSÉ RODOLFO DE MORAIS, CARLOS
ALBERTO MELO DE OLIVEIRA, HUMBERTO ESTEVES MELO DE OLIVEIRA,
SEBASTIÃO LÚCIO DE OLIVEIRA, EUGÊNIA SILVA DE FREITAS, and SEBASTIÃO
LIMA DA SILVA — holders of INCENXIL and employees of the Registry office in Altamira
and involved in the falsification of documents — so that they may be sentenced for forgery of
documents which gave rise to the ‘grilagem’ of the aforementioned federal/public land. Copies
of the aforementioned penal action (doc 17) are included, thus highlighting the importance
of the original accusations in order to gain a complete understanding of the case.

The work of this entrepreneurial group CRAlmeida in the region along the Iriri
River gained a strange reputation. Without the effective presence of the state, ICENXIL
began to control the region, making use of state bodies such as IBAMA and the military
and civil police in Pará. A type of war began to be waged against the other grileiros as a
way to curb illegal logging and clearing of large areas of forest for the purposes of
creating pastureland.
In 2003 and 2004, it was the “company” (that is how the local population refers to
the INCENXIL group) that financed the presence of the state in the area, in order to
guarantee the firm’s maintaining possession of an area of 4.7 million hectares of forest
and land that had been illegally appropriated. The headquarters in this area, known as
Entre Rios, (“Between Rivers”) was used by IBAMA and the military and civil police as
their official offices for months. This clearly demonstrates that these governmental bo-
dies were financed by the company and were in Terra do Meio at their beck and call.

149
The CPI certifies the existence of numerous documents about this farm, which covers an area of between 4.7 and
5.6 million hectares. This farm is subject to an Action to Annul and Cancel Registration, Transcription, and Contracts
at the Property Registry Office in Altamira, petitioned by ITERPA in 1996.

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Another exemplary case of illegal land appropriation in Terra do Meio is an operation


by Leandro Freitas Pereira, who was fined more than 2 million Reais by IBAMA
(R$2,326,935, or US$1 million) for various illegal environmental operations in the
Iriri region. Freitas began being accompanied by a private Pará military police escort.
The fine issued by IBAMA is used by Mr. Freitas Pereira as proof of ownership and
justification for continuing to occupy an area of 1,551,29 hectares150 cleared illegally.
In January 2005, Freitas threatened and intimidated a group of researchers who
were carrying out socio-environmental and economic studies in the Extractive Reserve
“Riozinho do Anfrisio” (created on 8 December 2004). In front of the two researchers he
deliberately showed off and demonstrated how to use his 12 calibre machine gun, a
weapon that is used exclusively by the police. He was accompanied by uniformed
members of the 16th Battalion of the Military Police of the state of Pará (Batalhão Xingu
da Cidade de Altamira).
Despite all the intimidation, persecution, and threats, the rural laborers’ movement
continues fighting not only for access to land, but also to implement new forms of
production and approaches to the environment in the Terra do Meio region. This struggle
resulted in the development of the proposal for Sustainable Development Projects (PDS)
championed by Sister Dorothy Stang.

3. STATE PRESENCE IN THE REGION

As we have seen above, the state’s presence in Terra do Meio is marked by a mixture
of negligence and collaboration with the governmental bodies and local authorities.
There is a clear symbiotic relationship between public bodies and landowners, grileiros,
illegal loggers, and other powerful groups in the region.
Historically, the state has been at the beck and call of the region’s wealthy and
powerful interests. Often, the state has had to put enormous effort into preserving the
system of grilagem when various groups of grileiros disputed among themselves over the
appropriation of large areas of public land and forests. However, social pressures, especially
in the form of agrarian conflicts, force the state and federal governments into action,
sometimes even in a timely fashion.
In 2001, for example, the federal government carried out an inspection of the
Plans for Forestry Management (Planos de Manejo Florestal, or PMF) that should have
a reserve of mahogany and came across numerous fraudulent documents, including the
absence of mahogany in areas covered by the PMFs. The clandestine mahogany industry
increased the value of wood logged outside of the management plan, using fraudulent

150
Infractions 370169 to 37072, issued on 11 November 2004, IBAMA/Altamira.

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documents to conceal the true origin of the wood. The federal government was obliged
to take restrictive measures on the illegal logging of mahogany on Brazilian soil; howe-
ver, there is little regulation and thus illegal logging and clearing of land continue.
With regard to the illegal appropriation of land and forest, ITERPA is unable —
or has no real interest — in maintaining at the very least a public lands registry. Its
registration system is archaic. ITERPA and other governmental entities responsible for
land-related issues are continuously weakened by corruption, preventing the state from
acting more effectively.
Shortly after the assassination of Sister Dorothy Stang on 12 February 2005, the
Brazilian government began to demarcate conservation areas that had been requested
since the 1990s by organized social movements along the Transamazonian Highway.
On 18 February, the Serra do Pardo National Park (447,7333,18 hectares) and the
Terra do Meio Ecological Station (a total area of 3.375.399,39 hectares) were announced.
Unfortunately, the measures to prevent the advance of the destruction of the forests
remain on paper. When the park was proclaimed, landowners and grileiros formed militias
and armed with rafts and boats tried to destroy the new national park.
The conservation areas were the result of studies commissioned by the Ministry
for the Environment in 2002 which in turn responded to the request by more than 114
groups that formed the Movement for the Development of the Area Around the Tran-
samazonian Highway and Xingu (Movimento pelo Desenvolvimento da Tarnsamazônica e
Xingu, MDTX) for the organization of territory and sustainable development in the
region. Since the 1990s, the social movements in the region have shown themselves to
be just as concerned about the area north and south of the Transamazonian Highway.
The order to make the conservation areas unviable was given to the landowners
and grileiros in São Félix do Xingu, while they tried to overturn the presidential decree
with a judicial order (mandato de segurança). According to Herculano Costa, a resident
of the region, the orders for the mass felling of trees (clearing of land) were sent through
an amateur radio system that functioned without restrictions in the region. “Even before
IBAMA arrived in Tucumã, on the way to São Félix do Xingu, all the farms had already
been warned. So then everyone hides and hides the intermediates,” says Piauí, an
inhabitant of Terra do Meio.151
Public policy has a particularly strong impact in Brazil’s frontier regions, especially
due to a certain particular “sensitivity” to these regions. Any public measures taken in a
lawless region make a noticeable difference, either beneficially or harmfully (such as the
moratorium on mahogany logging; colonization policies; surfacing of roads; etc.).

151
Piauí has already been a victim of slave labor. Freed from the Fazenda Sudoeste by the Mobile Surveillance Team
from the Ministry of Labor, he lives in hiding in the region, fearful of reprisals.

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On the other hand, the official creation and implementation of SDPs in Anapu
has not solved land conflicts because such federal actions are still basic and inadequate.
The grileiros’ reaction was immediate and was not confronted by the state governmental
bodies such as the police, thereby further exposing rural workers and human rights
defenders to violence.
In fact, the creation of SDPs (or even a mosaic of Natural Conservation Areas)
without firm measures for actions to repossess estates (imissão de posse), removal of
grileiros, environmental impact studies, etc. has served to further compound the conflict.
There were strong confrontations between the federal and state government bodies and
sectors that illegally appropriated land (grilagem) and logged wood. In this scheme, the
impoverished communities are once again at the mercy of the violence meted out by
local power barons. The murder of Sister Dorothy Stang is simply the most well-known
of these conflicts, but in no way unique. However, it is vital that effective and continual
measures are carried out by the federal and local governments to guarantee the
preservation of the environment and defense of human rights of the rural workers and
numerous human rights defenders in Terra do Meio.
The Senate’s External Commission of 2005 concluded: “Sister Dorothy’s murder
and other contemporary violent acts in the state clearly result from the sectors linked to
the illegal appropriation of land and illegal deforestation and their reactions to public
policy that was beginning to be implemented in the region.”
Governmental services, when and where they exist, are precarious. For example,
the inhabitants of the Iriri region received a visit for the first time in July 2005 from a
medical team, a judge, a prosecutor, a registrar, civil police, and a representative from
the Regional Labor Office. This time, the presence of state services was not at the
request of grileiros, but at the request of IBAMA/CNPT in their investigation of the
creation of two extractive reserves along the Xingu and Iriri Rivers.

CONCLUSION

Within this context, the Brazilian government must urgently make its presence
felt in the Terra do Meio region, not just in superficial form, but strongly and publicly,
implementing concrete measures for sustainable development and the defense of hu-
man rights, principally in order to provide security to the area’s traditional communities
and the conditions for them to sustain themselves in the forest areas through collective
use of the natural resource base.
Many families that were expelled by grileiros are living in peripheral areas of Altamira
and São Félix do Xingu and have expressed the desire to return to their land. If the
Brazilian government could provide for these families’ safety, health, and education
needs, as well as funding for extractive activities to sustain themselves and improve their
livelihoods, many families originally from this area would leave the periphery and begin

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to live in the conservation areas in a sustainable fashion, contributing to the area’s


conservation and wise stewardship of its natural resources.
The region surrounding the Canopus Road, for instance, requires urgent
intervention from the Pará state government to halt the massive deforestation. The Pará
state government should be called to account and condemned for having allowed the
greatest environmental disaster imaginable to take place within its borders. This envi-
ronmental destruction puts the lives of the region’s laborers at risk when they are brought
into a system of slavery or semi-slavery for the purposes of mass land clearing in the
region. The Pará state government is neglecting its responsibility by allowing the des-
truction of huge areas of forest to take place without implementing an equitable agrarian
reform that would guarantee a just form of development, both for human inhabitants
as well as the environment itself.
The State, understood as public authorities as a whole, cannot free itself from its
responsibilities and continue standing by and watching the environmental destruction
continue to proceed unchecked. This devastation is progressively reducing the chances
of traditional communities to continue to live in areas their people have inhabited for
centuries. The rising level of deforestation brings with it the use of slave labor, the most
perverse form of human degradation and destruction of human dignity.

Cattle raising in Terra do Meio. Photo by João Laet.

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Chapter VI

SITUATION OF COMPLETE ABANDONMENT:


THE CASE OF CASTELO DOS SONHOS

“We are here in the middle of the world, here and far from resources, Brasília, the capital, is
far away. The people have to look at this situation, and help humanity. We are human. And
there has to be someone on our side.”
Aloísio Pereira da Silva, 71 years old, a landless worker, on the
Bartolomeu Morais da Silva encampment.

C astelo dos Sonhos,152 a district of Altamira, is located on the banks of the Curuá
River (the principal tributary of the Iriri River, in the Xingu basin), 153 kilometers
to the south of the Novo Progresso municipality, in what is called the Jamanxim Valley.
A typical border town with around 12,000 residents, Castelo dos Sonhos exists in com-
plete isolation as it is part of the Altamira municipality, the seat of which is located
1,100 km away.
The Curuá River divides the BR-163 (Cuiabá-Santarém) which was designed and
constructed during the period of military rule at the crossing point between the Xingu
and Tapajós Rivers. This highway’s construction began in 1973, as part of the Program
of National Integration (Programa de Integração Nacional, PIN) which aimed not only
to accelerate the completion of pathways to economic integration, but also consolidate
territorial control in geopolitical terms.
In this region many hidden private roads were still open for gold mining and
logging exploration. The legal production of timber exceeds 200,000 m3 per year, but
illegal extraction is much greater. It is characterized by the expansion of the illegal
appropriation of public lands, deforestation of areas adjacent to the highways, and violent
land conflicts with an alarming level of violence against rural workers, the unemployed,
and those without the means to sustain themselves.

152
According to statements given by older residents, the name Castelo dos Sonhos (“Castle of Dreams”) is attributed
to two goldminers who, on the banks of the Curuá River (where it crosses BR-163), awaited a group of friends who
were upriver mining. While they waited they listened on a battery operated record player to a song named “In the
Castle of Dreams, You are the Queen” (No Castelo dos sonhos você é a rainha), written by Adelino Nascimento, a former
goldminer who searched for gold on the banks of the Tocantins River.

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Poor families who came to the region in search of land to work ended up having
two options: either return to where they came from or work in the goldmines. Nowadays,
the majority of these goldmines are out of service, and sawmills have been installed in
their place.
Castelo dos Sonhos’ history is filled with cases of murders occurring in plain public
view, in large plantations, or in areas where illegal logging takes place. According to
residents, the wave of terror was assuaged only after the presence of federal policemen153
in the city of Novo Progresso.154 “The federal police’s helicopter landed and all of the
hired gunmen ran,” said one of the inhabitants of the area.

1. HISTORY OF THE REGION’S OCCUPATION

The process of occupation of the region of BR-163, where the district of Castelo
dos Sonhos is located, resulted from a series of public and private Amazonian colonization
projects. It can be said, however, that the principal reason for settling the southern Pará
border with the BR-163 was to expand the occupation of North Mato Grosso. This is a
settlement frontier, which is characterized by the illegal appropriation of public lands
(grilagem) and other illegal activities, such as the opening of goldmines (in decline but
which still continue in some areas), predatory logging, and more recently, the advance
of agribusiness.
In the beginning of the 1970s, Castelo dos Sonhos’ principal economic activity
was gold mining. According to a resident (who did not wish to be identified), “when the
goldmines arrived, more people came. This gave way to serious confusion. Because of
the goldmines, everyone wanted to take land from each other.”
With the decline of gold mining, logging took over more space in the region,
becoming significantly influential in the settling of Castelo dos Sonhos. With the
depletion of raw materials in the region of Sinop, the North Matogrossan regional
center, many loggers moved (and continue to do so) to the Pará stretch of BR-163, with
prominence being given to the Novo Progresso municipality and the towns of Castelo
dos Sonhos and Moraes de Almeida.
More recently a new “territorial order” is being developed in the state of Pará with
an influx of migrants from the north of Mato Grosso and the partial transfer of this
region’s economic activities to Southeastern Pará. The illicit exploitation of timber con-

153
Emergency Measures taken by the Federal Government in the first semester of 2005, after the first stage of public
meetings for the creation of the Regional Sustainable Development Plan for the area around the BR-163 Highway,
between Cuiabá and Santarém.
154
Novo Progresso is located 160 km from Castelo dos Sonhos. In the dry season, this distance is crossed in around
four hours by car; however, during the Amazonian winter, the same area requires 12 more hours, or an entire day, to
cover.

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tinues to support sawmills which principally supply the national market via Mato Gros-
so. A small part is exported through Santarém.155
According to a worker’s testimony,

Gold mining stopped, and logging and sawing started, and more people came to work in logging.
The same thing as in the time of the goldmine, until that ran out. The first logger was “Pica
Pau.” “Quico” had a small sawmill. “Chico,” too. The Trevisan family also had an even smaller
sawmill. All to build small houses. When Castelo [dos Sonhos] was founded, the small sawmills
weren’t able to saw enough wood for houses. Only when the planks were made did timber start
being sent out. There are so many sawmills! Currently there are 33 or 34 sawmills. In the
mahogany era, they sawed a lot of mahogany, they sold everything abroad. After that, they
almost couldn’t find any more mahogany; they went after different woods: Rose cedar, Champagne,
Marupá, Jatobá, Ipê, Itaúba, which were taken even all the way to Rio Grande do Sul. They have
already paid up to R$1,300 (US$577) per cubic meter. Here it was sold for R$300 (US$133).
They paid next-to-nothing here. There were shipments and more shipments with fake bills and
invoices. I always thought: one day all of this here is going to pop. The government isn’t even
aware that the timber is leaving the area and everything is being exported.

As the logical consequence of the economic model, focused on the interests of


agribusiness, the logging process transformed vast forested areas into pastures, bringing
about the process of cattle-ranching. According to a resident: “afterwards, the cattle-
raising began. There is a lot of cattle here. Harvesting is difficult. Only the smallest
[farms] harvest.”
With large areas available without any state control, many cattle ranchers from the
country’s southern region and from the state of Mato Grosso started to invest in land
and forest property. The availability of timber with commercial value grew and this was
the principal financial source to guarantee the implementation of large pasture areas.
The ease of putting out cattle and the prosperity to be gained from meat and its by-
products through the existence of a network of cold storage rooms in Mato Grosso were
further incentives for the expansion of cattle ranching in the region.

2. ILLEGAL LAND APPROPRIATION AND


CONCENTRATION IN CASTELO DOS SONHOS

Economic activity in the region revolves around cattle raising carried out in large
areas and the unsustainable extraction of timber. Along the BR-163 highway, large
estates have been set up. Settlement projects and the presence of peasants is almost non-

155
According to data from the Regional Sustainable Development Plan for the Area Around Highway BR-163, from
Cuiabá to Santarém, Interministerial Working Group, Decree of 15 March 2004.

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existent. The entire region is characterized by the presence of large estates, mainly
composed of illegally-held public lands (terras griladas), the illegal possession of which is
protected by armed militias (hired gunmen) who are contracted to maintain “security.”
According to workers’ testimonies,156 few properties in the region can be classified as
small or medium sizes (10-42 hectares and 200-300 hectares, respectively). The size of
most estates averages around 25,000 hectares; owners of areas smaller than 2,500 hec-
tares are considered small landowners.
The availability of large areas of forested land, without any state control, allowed
for many large land-owners already present in the region to set up sawmill plants and
illegally take control of federal government land through grilagem. This is done through
the use of falsified documents or documents relating to nonexistent land, to encourage
the creation of forest management projects by the federal government’s environmental
regulation agency. The frenzied exploitation of forests contributed to continued defo-
restation, with the investment of logging profits in cattle-raising. As soon as the varieties
with the highest market value, such as mahogany, were extracted, forest areas were
converted into large pastures.
The BR-163 Highway Sustainable Plan identifies the following as principal factors
favoring the illegal appropriation of land:

...[R]ecognition of deforestation, including that occurring on public lands, as being an


improvement in the estates subject to land regularization; the weaknesses of demarcation
processes, and of the verification of property titles’ legitimacy; lack of supervision of the property
registry offices; the low cost of land and high rate of return from predatory economic practices;
political interests offering incentives for land occupation by landholders; speculation related
to expectations of expropriation and/or the installation of infrastructure.

The process of land concentration has as an essential component the grilagem of


public land, in addition to the super-exploitation of labor and natural resources (which
permit the possibility for accumulation and concentration of profits). According to the
Regional Development Plan, “frequently the illegal land appropriation is related to
other illicit acts, such as slave labor and other violations of human and workers’ rights,
tax evasion, illegal logging, and money laundering from drug trafficking.”
In the region of BR-163’s reach, illegal land appropriation is the rule. “From whom
do they buy the lands?” asks one resident (who also asked not to be identified, for fear of
reprisals) who lost his land to one of the present landowners in Castelo dos Sonhos. The
large concentration of land and the expected asphalting of the highway have exacerbated
the rate of conflict and violence in the countryside.

156
All the testimonies mentioned in this chapter were given by residents of Castelo dos Sonhos to research teams from
Terra de Direitos and the Pastoral Land Commission during an in situ mission on June 24 and 25, 2005.

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The oldest residents say that the land in Castelo dos Sonhos was once divided into
the right and left sides of BR-163. All the lands to the right of the highway from Cuiabá
to Santarém, “belonged” to Léo Reck. He still lives in Castelo dos Sonhos and refers to
himself as the registered landowner of almost all of these lands. He sold land to families
who arrived from various parts of the country in search of work, including those seeking
gold. Having control over the land meant, and still means, controlling the exploitation
of gold and other regional riches. According to a resident’s testimony, Reck controlled
almost all the goldmines:

The Esperança [goldmines] I, II, III, IV, V, VI ,VII ...he said those goldmines were his. The
gold miners paid a percentage, everyone paid. He sold gold mining lands for gold, they would
cost so many grams of gold. Until today this still happens, like in the Arraia Hill [Serra do
Arraia], with the lands of the president of the gold miners association, João Reck, who is Léo’s
son; [those] who want a little piece of land have to pay a percentage. This happens even today,
no one enters for free. There in the hill there is a small village, I never went there, but it is said
to be very pretty there. Everything was arranged for and agreed with Léo Reck.

Even the urban part of Castelo dos Sonhos was held as property by Léo Reck.
According to a resident, “Everyone knows the right side of the BR belonged to Léo.”
Another resident who does not wish to be identified noted that

...[I]n order for Castelo [dos Sonhos] to form a city, from the start, he gave away a few plots,
others [plots] could be paid for in installments. Even today, there are people who haven’t paid
anything, because the land wasn’t his [Léo’s], because he acquired it illegally. Today we purchase
[land] using contracts of buy-and-sell. Now there is nothing official, nothing registered in the
notary’s office; at least I only have two contracts for two plots here, and they’re only buy-and-sell
types. I don’t know if one day this will be mine. The plots here in Castelo [dos Sonhos] were
supposed to be his [Léo Reck’s]. The lots here in Castelo were his. And there in São Francisco,
people arrived there and took the land illegally, because no one had any documents.

The land to the left side of the BR-163 was illegally appropriated by other large
landowners who arrived in the same period. “On this [left] side of the BR [163, Cuiabá-
Santarém] the large landowners came and claimed the land illegally. Just like [Mr.]
Maneco, and various others, they also took lands illegally.” These testimonies demonstrate
the degree to which the irregular appropriation of public lands occurred and the total
informality — and consequent illegality — of the lands’ occupation, which also generates
insecurity in the current landholders.

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3. CASTELO DOS SONHOS: ABSENCE, OMISSION,


AND COLLUSION OF PUBLIC AUTHORITIES WITH LOCAL ELITES

The principle demands of workers and settlers encompass the absence, omission,
and even partiality of public authorities. This absence and omission is obvious in the
small district of Castelo dos Sonhos, which has only one advanced post of the military
police with four policemen. The police rotate every 24 hours between internal services
and patrolling the city. There are no public hospitals, only one infirmary with a single
doctor.
As a district of Altamira, Castelo dos Sonhos only has a proxy town hall. There are
two state-run schools, one being a regular primary school and the other a very basic
secondary school, both taught by teachers from Altamira. As far as the healthcare system
goes, one resident from the Bartolomeu Morais da Silva camp said that “when you get
sick you have to leave because there is no hospital. That is, if you have the money you
can stay, otherwise you have to leave.”
Sick of their isolation and the absence of public authorities in regard to agrarian
reform and social inclusion, residents emotionally gave their testimony to the research
team. According to João Tenório: “This region is very different from all the other regions
of Brazil. This region seems not to exist. If you were to know of the situation in which
we’ve been living for six-and-a-half years in Castelo [dos Sonhos] ...My sons couldn’t
stand to stay in Castelo [dos Sonhos] any longer, afraid because when we first arrived
two or three people were killed every day.”
When the public authorities are not absent, there are many complaints of their
collusion with the region’s large estate owners and loggers. The police force, for exam-
ple, according to workers, is maintained by the “community.” This is the name given to
a group of businessmen, large landowners, and loggers who provide everything from
food to fuel for the only police car in the region. They pay for repairs and parts for this
vehicle, obtaining in exchange control over police actions.
An emblematic case demonstrating this control is the assassination of young Cledson
Brange, which occurred in February 2003. The prime suspect in Cledson’s death was
the son of the region’s largest cattle-breeder, Florindo Minosso. He financed the military
police battalion’s diet, providing one ox per month for the policemen. The investigation
was so convoluted that the police, aside from refusing to search for the body, arranged
for the funeral of the young man to take place quickly. The dead body showed clear
signs of cruelty, according to the family, who located Cledson’s body on their own.
There have also been complaints of the involvement between the military police
and private militias which are contracted by the region’s large landowners. One episode
occurred in April 2003 and involved the owner of the Tigre Ranch, known as “Nilo.”
This is a good example of the collusion and even support given to private militias.
According to information provided by Fátima, a resident of Castelo dos Sonhos who
was threatened for having knowledge of this facts,

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One day four settlers came, they came and passed the headquarters of the ranch, they were
thirsty and went to ask for water. Then a sergeant thought that they were Nilo’s hired gunmen,
but they were some people who were settling. Then the sergeant said: ‘I forgot to send a
message there to Mr. Nilo that I could not send the bullets, because the lieutenant, the lieutenant
is new ...but will you do me a favor? Will you go there, there is another sergeant there in the
police station, call the sergeant hidden from the lieutenant and talk to him about the bullets.’
Then the kids, faking that they were hired gunmen, went to the delegacy, called the sergeant
and gave him the message. Then the sergeant said this: ‘I have to send this there now.’ The
sergeant called the policeman and said: ‘you go to the headquarters [of Nilo’s ranch] and send
the cartridges.’ Then they came, still following the police to the Zelândia post, but they were
afraid that the police would discover they were not the gunmen and kill them. A few days
later, they discovered the kids were not gunmen, because the kids had talked to me, to Toninho
and to other people who must have told the police. And then Paulista, Toninho, and me were
threatened [“condemned”] with death.

According to Fátima and Toninho, a woman told them to be careful, because they
promised to kill them:

There was a woman, from the cabaret on the bank of the river, there were 15 hired gunmen
taking a shower and another 72 in the water. They said this: ‘one of these days we are going to
have to have a party here in Castelo. The first that we are going to rub out are the Sister of
Brasília, Toninho from the fruit stand, and Paulista.’ Then she [the owner of the cabaret]
came and said that we needed to be careful, because Nilo wanted to kill us. I left immediately
for Brasília, Toninho remained locked inside his house, and Paulista escaped.

Another resident (who also asked not to be identified, fearing for her life) complained
that the police were starting to send citizens to kill and hide the bodies of people who
were caught stealing in residences. “They came into one woman’s house here during the
night, robbed some things, the television. And the police spoke in this manner: “We
cannot do anything because the majority are minors, and if we grab one of them we’ll
go to jail. So as you were robbed, go and get them, kill them and then hide the bodies.”
The residents interviewed were unanimous in their testimony regarding the per-
formance of the local police, even believing the police should be removed from Castelo
dos Sonhos altogether. According to them, it would be one less problem, one less fear to
deal with. “We should put together a petition to remove the military police from here.
If you had a bunch of hired gunmen on one side, if Fernandinho Beira-Mar [a famous
drug lord from Rio de Janeiro] were here and the military police were here, then I
would go to Fernandinho Beira-Mar’s side, because the police are shameful.”
It is in this context that Castelo dos Sonhos is isolated, marked by the absence of
public authorities and by the partiality and involvement of institutions such as the local
military police with large estate owners and loggers.

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4. POLICIES TO COMBAT DEFORESTATION

One of the main debates in the region around Highway BR-163, where Castelo
dos Sonhos is situated, revolves around the emergency actions adopted by the federal
government to curb the illegal deforestation of the region’s Amazonian forest. Since the
beginning of the debate on the creation of the Regional Sustainable Development Plan
for the highway area, it became clear that it was urgent for the government to adopt
measures aimed at immediately ending the predatory exploitation of timber, which is
reaching alarming rates in the highway region.
The Sustainable Amazonian Plan (Plano Amazônia Sustentável, PAS) was formulated
by the federal government and the state governments of the Northern region and presents
five principal points: 1) sustainable production with innovation and competition; 2)
social inclusion and citizenship; 3) environmental management and territorial organi-
zation; 4) infrastructure for development; and 5) a new financing framework. Accor-
ding to the government, PAS’ guidelines are incorporated into regional development
policies, and, departing from the national standard, are based on the identification of
sub-regions for which a specific plan will be formulated in the context of the more
general principles of sustainable development.
In relation to the Plan of Action for the Prevention and Control of Deforestation
in the Legal Amazon, the federal government states that the general objective is to
“promote the reduction of the rate of Amazonian deforestation by way of joint integrated
actions in the areas of territorial and agrarian organization, through monitoring and
control, and by fomenting activities of sustainable production and strategic plans for
infrastructure projects.”157
The process of creating the Regional Sustainable Development Plan (which
encompasses the Sustainability Plan for BR-163) was led by social movements and
human rights organizations. For a long time these groups have asked for the implemen-
tation of public policies which follow the principles of sustainability and promote, defend,
and guarantee economic, social, and environmental rights.
On 18 Februrary 2005, as a form of response to popular pressure which exploded
following the assassination of Sister Dorothy Stang, President Luis Inácio Lula da Silva
issued the Provisional Measure (Medida Provisória, MP) no. 239. This MP
administratively froze all of the activities related to logging exploitation and forest and
other native vegetation in a total area of 8.2 million hectares for six months with a
possible extension for another six.
Castelo dos Sonhos lives a very precarious and uncommon situation. Without the
noise from sawmills, smoke in the chimneys, and shipments of lumber coming and
going, the impression is that a plague has hit “almost empty village.” Groups of men

157
Regional Sustainable Development Plan for the Area Around Highway BR-163, Interministerial Working Group,
Decree of 15 March 2004.

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sitting on the corners talk about the government’s freeze, of the absence of public
authorities, and principally, of their desire to have a piece of land. This Provisional
Measure, however, did not reach cattle-raising lands which were already more devastated
and only prohibited new deforestation.158
Aside from this interdiction, another action that should be mentioned is the
realization of “Operation Curupira” by the federal police. This initiative, which culminated
in the imprisonment of various agents and directors of IBAMA, investigated and removed
from the market Authorizations for the Transport of Forest Products (ATPF), which
had been obtained illegally by loggers working in conjunction with specialists from
environmental organs. The obstacle created in the illegal market of ATPFs, added to the
administrative interdiction of clear-cutting activities in the forest, ended up compromising
the illegal and predatory activities of the loggers, which in turn affected Castelo dos
Sonhos’ sawmills.159
The emergency actions adopted by the federal government aimed at ending the
illegal and predatory deforestation in the region. These measures were considered more
than necessary and consist of an attempt to stop the continuation of illegal exploitation
of lumber at the time that deforestation in the Amazon is reaching absurd levels.
The impact of the policies of combating deforestation was felt by local communi-
ties. It happens that, as already mentioned, most families who arrived in the region
hoping to realize their dreams of having some land encountered a scene marked by
agrarian chaos resulting from the illegal appropriation of public lands by large estate
owners and loggers. Far from the perspective of an agrarian reform policy and as victims
of violence by armed militias, the majority of families was obligated to seek their
sustenance in the sawmills and large plantations (fazendas) in the region.
As the majority of the actions carried out by loggers in the region were, in one way
or another, illegal, the large part of the sawmills were obligated to freeze their activities.
This left a large number of landholders, workers, families of low income, and those who
were denied rights to the land, unemployed and without the means to sustain themselves.

158
This MP was converted into Law 11.132 on 4 July, 2005, adding article 22-A to Law 9985/2000, which regulates
art. 225, § 1º, insertions I, II, III and VII of the Federal Constitution and instituted the National System of Units for
the Conservation of the Environment. The text of the article is: “Public authorities will be able to, excluding cattle
raising activities and other current economic activities and licensed public works, through legal means, decree provisional
administrative limitations to the effective exercise of activities and explorations or potential causes of environmental
damage, for the purpose of studies with a view to the creation of Conservation Units, when, according to criteria from
the competent environmental agency, there is risk of serious damage to natural resources of the area.” (free translation)
159
“Logging activities were not frozen only by the interdiction. They were frozen principally by Operation Curupira
(illegal commerce of transport authorization) and by the unavailability of new ATPFs. After the imprisonment of
IBAMA’s director, the representatives of IBAMA who had placed the ATPFs in the market no longer wished to release
them. As a consequence, there were no more ATPFs on the market in order to permit the illegal extraction of timber.
Today you have legal activity frozen and illegal activity compromised.” (Interview with Adriana Ramos from the
Socio-environmental Institute — ISA, on 18 August 2005.)

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The measures adopted by the federal government to curb illegal deforestation in


the region cannot be analyzed negatively. On the contrary, social movements, local
communities, and environmental entities have demanded for many years the adoption
of energetic measures toward the end of illegal logging.
Thus on the one hand, the government produces a package of measures intended
to combat deforestation; on the other hand, however, it does not balance these efforts
by seriously confrontating the dangerous agrarian situation. This is a situation that has
even been identified by the government’s own Interministerial Working Group, mandated
to draft the Sustainable Regional Development Plan for BR-163.
In order to promote economic, social, and environmental rights, it is necessary to
confront this agrarian problem, along with developing a new plan for development,
adjusted to the socio-environmental characteristics of the region. The claim made by
social movements includes the need for dialogue between the Ministers of the
Environment and Agrarian Development regarding the adoption of public policies
focused on the implementation of agrarian reform that guarantee the preservation of
the environment through sustainable use.

5. THE STRUGGLE FOR LAND: THE BARTOLOMEU MORAIS DA SILVA ENCAMPMENT

This context characterized by the concentration of land, illegal landholding, violence,


unemployment, hunger, and the absence of public authorities led about 400 families to
start, at the edges of BR-163, 15 km from the urban area of that district, a camp named
Bartolomeu Morais da Silva.160 Dozens of families joined the camp daily, demanding
the right to the land, work, food, adequate housing, health, and education. The workers,
mostly unemployed and victims of historic agrarian concentration, have tried to get the
state to pay attention to their misery and social exclusion.
The testimony of landless worker Aloisio Pereira da Silva perfectly illustrates the
precarious situation in which they live:

I think I am one of the newest ones in the area. Today I turned 71 years old. My heart can’t
take it any more. I saw a lot of fathers suffering, wanting a piece of land to work. I also have no
house in which to live. The lands here all belong to large landowners. And now all of the
movements stopped, and the people don’t have a place to go to. This is how these poor fathers
of families are going to live. The city of Castelo [dos Sonhos] is a small one, conditions are
poor, there are no resources. We are here in the middle of the world, here and far from resour-
ces, Brasília [the capital] is far away. The people have to look at this situation, and help

160
Name given in homage to STR member Bartolomeu Morais da Silva, known as “Brasilia,” who was assassinated in
Castelo dos Sonhos in 2002, as a result of land conflicts.

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humanity. We are human. And there has to be someone on our side. ...It’s been a while since
I’ve been living here, I don’t know for how long, but I never could find a piece of land to work,
I live only by working for others; sometimes I receive, and other times I don’t.

The situation of these families is alarming and requires urgent steps by the federal,
state, and local authorities. During one visit to the camp, our team accompanied the
distribution of the last basic food basket at the Trade Union Post of Castelo dos Sonhos.
For the most part the quality of this food was poor, with expiration dates already past
and some food was rotten. Even so, the baskets were accepted by the families, as they
were the only source of available sustenance at that time. According to Maria de Lourdes
Morais, 56 years old,

There is one thing we have to say to you. We accept these basic food baskets because we need
them. We are ashamed to take these basic baskets, seeing as we are healthy enough to work, it
is only that we don’t have a piece of land to plant anything, because if you come across a piece
of land here in six months you have something to eat. But if we don’t have a piece of land what
are we going to do. There is no service in the street. I have been in Castelo dos Sonhos for 14
years. No one supports us. I have three sons, but they are with their father, because if they
were here, they would all be dying of hunger or robbing, because there isn’t anything else for
people to do here.

Since the lands are totally destined for the large cattle industry, small plots and
areas of local family production are virtually non-existent. The production of basic diet
products is also compromised. Even flour, an essential product in the basic diet of this
region, is brought from Santarém, more than 1,000 kilometers from Castelo dos Sonhos.
The workers, for the most part, arrived in Castelo dos Sonhos in search of a piece
of land, but were forced to work in goldmines, logging, or at fazendas in the region.
With the decline of gold mining activity and the freeze on illegal sawmills, the poorest
workers have no place to work and no way to support their families. Thus, they live in
a drastic situation of hunger and misery.
Although many have lost their jobs in the sawmills, workers demand agrarian
reform and do not want to return to lumber exploitation in the region. According to
them, this exploitation and the process of raising cattle are causes of serious environ-
mental damage, violence, and misery in the region. According to one landless worker,
“Here the hope is only this: land to work. We hope the authorities will take care of the
population. Everyone needs a piece of land, here everyone is unemployed. Everyone is
going hungry.”
The families plan to remain in camps on the sides of BR-163 until the federal gover-
nment takes the appropriate actions directed at legitimizing their settlement. They demand
policies focused on the protection of human rights, agrarian reform, housing, labor,
sustenance, health and education, as well as policies to combat deforestation and violence.

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6. HUMAN RIGHTS DEFENDERS:


THE CONTEXT OF PLANNED AND ANNOUNCED VIOLENCE

Castelo dos Sonhos is known for its sad history of violence and impunity, having
been the site of veritable slaughters, which took place especially during the gold mining
period. Until today the population lives in fear, in a context of threats and murders by
hired gunmen, who parade unworriedly through the city called by the residents “lawless
land.”
The causes of grave human rights violations in the Castelo dos Sonhos area are the
absence of a territorial occupation plan (which resulted in a highly concentrated agrarian-
based structure) and the disorganized proliferation of the gold mines. These were
reinforced by the illegal exploitation of lumber and, more recently, the advance of
agribusiness. The absence, omissions, and, in many cases, collaboration between the
public authorities and local elites, compound the current disrespect for human rights in
the region.
On asking how many murders occur in Castelo dos Sonhos in the context of rural
conflicts, the answer is always the same: they are innumerable. Also innumerable are
the stories of bodies buried in clandestine cemeteries, located in the center of urban
Castelo dos Sonhos or in the fazendas. Many of the bodies were thrown into the Curuá
River, which divides the region. “Hiding a body in the fazendas is customary here,”
confirms one director in Castelo dos Sonhos’ Trade Union Post. The population is
generally aware of the majority of these cases, and they possess detailed information
about who was killed, when and why a person was killed, where the body was buried,
etc. Even then, impunity is the law, and only the law of the strongest rules in the region.
Fátima, Brasília’s sister, reports that between 1990 and 1991, “there was a time
when they killed half of the people there in the [gold mine] Esperança IV. They even
killed an airplane pilot. They had a battle, too. This plane pilot had people who went
out to the people asking where he had been buried. His family was on [TV program]
Linha Direta. They said that he was buried there, but he was buried on the bank of the
Curuá River, only that no one knew where. Nine people were machine-gunned on that
day.”161

161
One of the remarkable stories in Castelo dos Sonhos is that of the life and death of Marcio Martins, known as
“Brazilian Rambo.” Marcio was a young mechanic who turned into a type of “justice-seeker” for some, gunman for
others, when he decided to dispute the control of the gold mines, occupying the cargohold of hidden flights with his
armed group, buying guns and laundering money coming from narcotics trafficking with gold in the region. In the
dispute over land, for the control over gold mines and narcotics trafficking, Rambo was executed by a special group of
Pará state military police, under the order of the governor of the state at that time, Jader Barbalho. Barbalho sent
around 50 men who searched for four days before invading the place where Rambo was hidden. Inside of his house he
was shot multiple times.

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The violence against these workers is constant and occurs in different forms. Aside
from murder, there are cases of slave labor, expulsion of peasants from their land, physical
and moral aggression, persecution of leaders, death threats, etc. Even today there are
complaints by workers submitted to slavery conditions and murders in Castelo dos
Sonhos. According to various testimonies, it is common that large landowners, instead
of paying their workers, order their deaths. According to one worker’s testimony:

There is a story in Mr. Ze Inacio’s fazenda, that he had the boats of the gold miners who went
there. ....[N]ow he was already dead, but at that time he was a large landowner, he was the
owner of the boats in the Curuá River, in Jamanxim. And then so as not to have to pay the
unfortunates they killed them instead of having to pay them. All of this happened. And even
today it still happens in Castelo dos Sonhos. The killers here are Bil from Figuara, Alexandre
Manoel Trevisan, Florindo Minosso, Lituíno, old Robson, Panquinha, who is one of Ralf ’s
people, and all of these large landowners kill and at times pay to kill. They put people to work.
This son of Mr. Julião, he went to work, they forced him to work, he was shot, then went to
the hospital. They said to Mr. Julião, who is disabled with an amputated leg ...look, Mr.
Julião, with his son shot, that Panquinha ordered him to be shot in order not to pay him, that
the name of this boy was Julio, they also said to Mr. Julião: look here Mr. Julião, if you don’t
file a report in the police station, we will pay your hospital bill. Panquinha ordered that he be
killed, sending someone from Ralf ’s group, only what happened was the bullet hit him like
this and went out the other side of his face, so he ended up with a deformed face. Afterward,
Ralf forced him to work off his debt in the fazenda.

Another case that attracted attention was the murder of Felix Faustino Goncalves,
known as “Paraguay,” which occurred on 2 December 1999. Paraguay was murdered
because he charged Florindo Minosso, a large landowner from Castelo dos Sonhos, a
payment for the construction of a bridge, from a contract divided between the landow-
ners and the Altamira city council. According to his wife, Paraguay left on 1 December
of that year to work cutting timber for a man known as Nelson da Laminadora. She said
that da Laminadora, in fact, had agreed to participate in an ambush planned for Paraguay.
The following day, da Laminadora’s boss, known as “Bil,” appeared in Paraguay’s
home saying that he [Paraguay] had suffered an accident; that a log had fallen on his
head. On going to look for the body, family members could tell that Paraguay had been
beaten to death with some instrument, as there were various signs of aggression (he had
sustained no other injury typical of a work-related accident). According to his wife’s
testimony:

Arriving there — my son told me afterward — he [Paraguay] was far from the woods. The
woods were quite far away, a saw was at his [Paraguay’s] side, the cover was open, and his
stomach was facing up and there was a piece of wood in his hand, everyone who went saw this.
The most annoying thing was that he said he was underneath some wood and arriving there

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...there wasn’t any ...and [instead he had] a piece of wood in his hand, dirty with blood, his
eyes completely purple. ...And his head was not bruised, his head was cut in a “V” from two
whacks from a machete on his back.

As there were no doctors in Castelo dos Sonhos, the family asked the pharmacist to
examine the body. Not one forensic expert examination was carried out. The pharmacist
confirmed the suspicion that he had been murdered: “And Jeová came... [H]e said: your
husband was really murdered.”
There is also suspicion of other landowners’ involvement in the drama of this
murder. According to the wife, aside from Florindo Minosso, Léo Reck and others were
involved. The reasons leading her to this conclusion are, aside from money that Paraguay
was supposed to receive for the construction of the bridge, the effort that they made so
that he was buried without forensic examination. They tried to prevent people from
seeing the wound on his head, and even expected the widow to abandon the house
where she lives. Again according to the widow,

Old Léo arrived and said what he needed, I said he needed to order that the casket be prepared
to mourn the body. Then he went and bought these things of ...bandage, he bought those
things there, and carried them in order to bandage his head. For no one to see. They put him
in a bed there, that in the photo, and he put a gunman there. Only his hand showed, [and]
after I visited, it was the same thing there. So that no one would come close.

Paraguay’s obituary states as his cause of death an accident while working. The
family and residents, in the meantime, denounced the murder, revolted by the lack of
effort taken to clarify the facts and punish those responsible. After Paraguay’s death, the
family has been threatened, but his widow continues her search for justice.
There are many complaints of people disappearing in Castelo dos Sonhos. Accor-
ding to Fátima, “When Brasília died there was a list of 72 missing people here in Cas-
telo dos Sonhos. It was written this way, disappeared. [Then] this list disappeared. I left
my things in a room there in the Trade Union; I locked it with a padlock. They entered
there, took this list, took the photographs of Brasilia with the people, robbed everything,
as soon as he died.”
The criminalization of peasants has been a motif throughout Castelo dos Sonhos’
history. The principal factor in the criminalization of victims has been the influence
exercised by estate owners over the local police. The principal case of criminalization
was the episode of the imprisonment of 19 landless workers who were occupying a
public plot of land. There are suspicions that the prisoners were chosen by a landowner
who claimed to be the owner of the lands. Of the imprisoned workers, 12 of them were
not even able to enter the area, having been caught when they were on BR-163.
According to testimonies from workers who were arrested on this occasion (who
asked not to be identified for fear of reprisals),

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First a representative of INCRA from Miritituba came and said that this area belonged to the
federal government. Then we resolved to go there and try to get a piece of land. And when we
arrived there, there were seven inside who were grabbed first and 12 who were grabbed in the
street. The police went there to look, but first there were two guaxebas from the fazenda to see
where the camp was and then afterward the same guaxebas162 took the police there and those
police apprehended the first seven who were there inside. And then I don’t know from whom
he knew that 12 more were going to enter [the estate]. Jose Almiro Bil claimed to be the
owner of the area. I don’t know how what size this area was, we’d heard it was 62,000 acres.

The workers say that they were detained in the bathroom of the house where the
military police battalion operated. Only afterward were they transferred from Castelo
dos Sonhos, and they never had the right to talk to their relatives, or any other person.
According to some workers who were arrested,

“ ...It was an ambush. They grabbed us with the clothing we had there in the forest, brought
us here, without letting us tell any relatives or anyone, we had no right to communicate. ...My
wife, she knew that I was there in the forest, she only found out that I was imprisoned eight
days later, because the way they grabbed us there, they entered the road from below and went
to the police station. They brought us there to the jail, we stayed there inside a bathroom,
because that is not a cell, it is rather a bathroom, we were 23 people inside a bathroom.”

The workers were humiliated and threatened by the police who promised to kill
them if they did not “behave” themselves. “And the threats that we suffered after Itaituba
onward. ...They said that if you don’t want to behave yourselves, we are going to do
with you what we did with the 19 in Carajá, and we really were 19 as well. And then we
were scared.”
The case of violence against human rights defenders, which led Castelo dos So-
nhos to be known internationally, was the murder of the labor leader known as “Brasília.”
After his murder, his sister Fátima chose to dedicate her life to accompanying the inves-
tigations and the process, as well as the fight of the rural workers. Better known by her
nickname “Saint,” she is always in the region and already has suffered innumerable
threats. Many workers already have sought her out to warn her that her life is under
threat, as there are many large landowners inconvenienced by the work she is doing.
According to her story,

I traveled in the trunk of the car, hidden in the car. That’s how I got around when Brasília
died, even a year after it was this way that I got around here in Castelo dos Sonhos. In order to
leave the city I had to do this or otherwise go by foot, 40 km on the side of the road, more

162
Guaxeba is an expression used to designate guards or gunmen hired by large landowners to protect their property
and fazendas.

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toward the forest than the road, and the police would not help me. And for me to ask the
police to kill me, I wouldn’t! And another thing, when a crime happened that they thought
you were going to report, they sabotaged the telephones, you’d be a whole week without
contact with anyone. When Brasilia died this exact thing happened. For eight days we were
unable to get through to Altamira, to anyone, even inside the city we were without telephone.

Fátima also said that she has already been followed by Márcio Cascavel, a well-
known hired gunman in the region. In addition to this, she knew from Andre Tavares
(from Sinop who works as a wood-cutter in the region), that the large landowners
commented that the landowner Manoel Alexandre Trevisan, know as “Maneco,” had
said: “When I get her [Fátima], first I am going to cut out her tongue and only afterwards
will I kill her.” On the night of 10 November of that year one of Manoel’s drivers
lingered outside the house where she was staying. The lorry stayed outside the house,
with the three gunmen rotating shifts until 5 a.m. the following day.
The aforementioned cases are but a few of the many examples of violence against
human rights defenders in Castelo dos Sonhos. The lack of state commitment to preventing
these human rights violations has allowed impunity to become the rule and a major factor
in the perpetuation of these crimes. Policies for the protection of human rights defenders,
such as their inclusion in the program for the protection of victims and witnesses, are not
adequate enough to permit them to live in Castelo dos Sonhos. As of this writing, no
surveys or studies have been officially dedicated to human rights defenders.

7. AN EXEMPLARY CASE OF HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATION: THE DEATH OF BRASÍLIA

Bartolomeu Morais da Silva, known as “Brasília,” was a labor unionist and member
of the Workers’ Party (PT) and the most important popular leader in Castelo dos So-
nhos. He defended human rights as a type of “lawyer” of the poor. On 21 July 2002, he
was brutally murdered by eight bullets. His body was found on the side of BR-163,
near Castelo dos Sonhos. The Office of the Public Prosecutor in the state of Pará opened
the criminal process to determine the crime. This case is still pending before the state
court in Altamira.
Mr. Arlindo de Sousa (known as “Gaucho”) an eyewitness to the crime, is missing.
He stated in his police testimony163 that on the day in question, he was in an area eight
km from the Jamanxin River, looking for gold when at about 9 p.m. he saw a greenish-
grey Toyota Bandeirante approaching. It stopped and the driver, the large landowner
Maneco, and a passenger, Brasília, got out. Then Márcio Cascavel and Parazinho came
out of the forest. The witness hid and saw that the four people continued to talk in front

163
Taken from Arlindo de Souza’s statement. Criminal case n.º 2002700740-5, pp. 185/186.

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of the car (which had its headlights on). Brasília was gesturing with his hands as if he
were explaining something.
At a certain point, Márcio Cascavel and Parazinho grabbed their guns (which
appeared to be a pistol and a revolver) and four shots were fired at Brasília. He fell to the
ground, and the two shooters immediately loaded the body in the boot of the Toyota,
while Maneco watched. They left the scene with the body.
This witness also said that the victim, on the day of the crime, was wearing
stonewashed blue jeans and a light checkered shirt. This description matches the civil
police’s report.164 “Bartolomeu always said he was being threatened by the large lando-
wners, like Manoel, Nilton Braga, Nilo, because of a problem with the federal lands,
those which the men took illegally and then sold,” elaborated Judas Tadeu de Moraes,
the victim’s brother, who was with him the morning on which he was murdered.165
Raimundo Dionisio dos Santos, owner of a plot in Gleba Gorotire, stated that on
23 July 2002, after returning from Brasília’s funeral, Zé Brabo, an employee of Manoel
Alexandre Trevisan, said: “I asked for Maneco not to do this, that he was going to ruin
his life, because things were already stabilized, but he ended up doing it.”166 He also
said that, on the same day that he gave his deposition (25 July 2002), he was warned by
a woman not to return to Gorotire. She said she had reliable information that the
gunmen were in that area under orders from Nilton Braga, ready to kill him.167
More recently, on 25 May 2005, witness José Ferreira dos Santos gave his
testimony,168 revealing that he was offered a proposal by large landowner Nilton Braga
to kill Brasília. The witness stated that at the time this murder occurred, Brasília was
constantly being threatened by Nilton Braga, Nilo, and Alexandre. In his testimony,
José Ferreira dos Santos denounced all of the plans carried out by the large landowners
in order to expel landholders from Gleba Gorotire. They had had meetings to plan
Brasília’s execution, proving the existence of a consortium among the landowners
interested in his death. Furthermore, José Ferreira dos Santos stated:

...The victim, at this time, was being threatened by Nilton Braga, Nilo, and Alexandre Trevisan
...he worked for Nilton Braga from March 15, 1995 until February 25, 2002. Nilton Braga
wanted to contract the deponent to assassinate him [Brasilia]; that for the death [he] would

164
In his testimony, Arlindo de Souza added that he saw Marcio Cascavel assassinate a person known as ‘Grande’ at
daylight in Castelo dos Sonhos.
165
Taken from Judas Tadeu de Moraes’ statement. Criminal case nº 2002.700740-5.
166
Raimundo Dionísio dos Santos’ declaration. Criminal case n.º 2002700740-5, p. 43.
167
Raimundo Dionísio dos Santos stated that it had been two years since 18 people had been assassinated and burned
by Maneco’s order.
168
Taken from José Ferreira dos Santos’ statement, in the Criminal case n.º 2003700176-8, lodged by the State of
Pará’s Office of the Public Prosecutor against Marcio Antonio Sartor, Manoel Alexandre Trevisan, Juvenal Oliveira da
Rocha, for the homicide of Bartolomeu Morais da Silva, before the 3rd Criminal Jurisdiction of the Municipality of
Altamira, in Pará.

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HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS IN THE AMAZON: CONFLICT AND VIOLENCE IN THE STATE OF PARÁ

pay R$45,000. And this amount would be paid by Nilton Braga and Nilo; that a meeting was
held, where the witness, Nilo, Nilton Braga, and Manoel [Trevisan] were present, and at this
meeting they decided that the witness would bring guns from the fazenda in which he worked
for Mr. Nilo, that the fazenda in which he worked was Nilton Braga’s and at this meeting they
also decided that Alexandre Trevisan would be responsible for executing the victim Bartolomeu;
therefore, the witness did not accept the proposal ...That following the meeting, aside from
the witness, officer Willian, Active Lieutenant, some businessmen and large landowners from
the area were present; among the landowners were Alexandre Trevisan’s two brothers, Mr. Bil,
Florindo Minoso, Liduino, Ivo Parente; that the death of the victim was because of the land
conflicts in the region; that with the victim’s death the conflicts in question would go away;
that the aforementioned meetings occurred in Recreation Club in Curuá.

Manoel Alexandre Trevisan (“Maneco”), Marcio Antonio Sartor (“Marcio Casca-


vel”), and Juvenal Oliveira da Rocha (“Parazinho”), accused of murdering Brasília, are
in jail and shall be brought to trial. It is important to point out that this is one of the
only cases of a rural worker’s assassination in the state of Pará which has resulted in the
imprisonment of an estate owner (Manoel Alexandre Trevisan). The investigation and
imprisonment of those involved only took place after massive popular pressure and
public clamor. On the other hand, there are indications that there are other large lando-
wners in Castelo dos Sonhos who were involved in the assassination of Brasília and
other crimes who are not being investigated.
Despite putting herself in a risky situation, Fátima and the rural workers in Caste-
lo dos Sonhos have fought ceaselessly so that Brasilia’s death is not forgotten and goes
unpunished, as has occurred in so many other cases of violence against human rights
defenders in Pará.

Bartolomeu Morais da Silva, known as “Brasilia”,


assassinated on 21 July 2002.

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Chapter VII

THE STRUGGLE FOR ENVIRONMENTAL PRESERVATION:


THE CASE OF PORTO DE MOZ

T he municipality of Porto de Moz is located at the mouth of the Xingu River, in a


region known as Lower Xingu (Baixo Xingu), between the Transamazonian Highway
road network and the Amazon River. It is one of the oldest riverine communities along
the Xingu and received its name in homage to a Portuguese city. Fifteen percent of the
municipality’s land is made up of floodplains and the remaining land is solid ground.
Similar to other villages founded in the 16th and 17th Centuries in the Amazon,
Porto de Moz began as a settlement run by a missionary from the Companhia de Jesus
(the “Company of Jesus” of the Catholic Church). At first, the region was inhabited by
the indigenous tribe Maturu, which occupied both the floodplains as well as the solid
ground. Following the Portuguese expansion into the area accompanied by the
proselytising work of the Jesuit missionaries, the Maturu were used as guides or even as
laborers to gather forest products which were then sold in Belém.
In 1639, the Jesuit priests formed the Maturu Settlement, today the name of the
city’s oldest quarter. A group of smaller village settlements, located along the tributaries
of the Xingu (the region where the Amazon River meets the Xingu was an area of
expansion for the Ge, Tupi, and Karib groups) were part of the priests’ missionary work
in the region.169
In 1758, the Maturu settlement achieved the status of a small town and came to be
known as Vila de Porto de Moz. In the same year, the Companhia de Jesus was expelled
from Brazil (a decision made by the Portuguese Marquis de Pombal) and their missionary
work, especially the protection of indigenous tribes in the Lower Xingu region, faded.
In 1890 the small town became a municipality.
As a result of the rubber boom, Porto de Moz turned into a large production
center. Families linked to the government began to obtain large areas of land for rubber
exploitation. They used indigenous and black laborers and those indigenous groups
that resisted were violently expelled from their land.

169
In the 1970s, the former Service for the Protection of Indians carried out a series of forced transfers of indigenous
groups that wandered in the region, for example the Arara do Pará (to the Penetecaua region), the Kayapó-Kararaô (the
Jaraucu region), and the Asurini do Trocará (the Pacajá region).

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HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS IN THE AMAZON: CONFLICT AND VIOLENCE IN THE STATE OF PARÁ

Currently, the population of Porto de Moz consists primarily of traditional riverine


communities (descendants of indigenous groups, black communities, and people from
the northeast). The majority of the population lives in rural areas. The economy is
based on subsistence family farming (small fields planted with manioc, rice, corn, beans,
greens, bananas, coconut, and coffee); harvesting of lumber and other forest products
for local consumption and small businesses; and fishing.170 Natural resource preservation
is a critical issue for the survival of these communities. More recently, buffalo farming
has become one of the riverine communities’ livelihood activities, aided by the fact that
the floodplain remains flooded for half of the year.
The Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics’s (IGBE) 2000 census registered
23,545 inhabitants in the municipality of Porto de Moz, of whom 56.6% live in rural
areas and 43.5% in the cities. According to IBGE projections, the municipality will
have an estimated population of 28,023 in 2005.
Due to its location, Porto de Moz was not directly affected by the opening of BR-
232 (the Transamazonian Highway) in the 1970s. While its forested areas remained
intact until the mid-1990s, the socio-environmental threats came instead from the
predatory fishing by the large trawlers equipped with freezers to store vast quantities of
fish. Faced with the dearth of fish in the Amazon River, these trawlers began to search
for schools of fish in the lakes, rivers, and igarapés (narrow river banks between two
islands) in this region, causing conflicts with the local communities that rely on the
daily protein provided by fishing for their survival.

170
Moreira, Edma Silva. Tradição em tempos de modernidade: reprodução social numa comunidade varzeira do Rio Xingu/
PA. Belém, EDUFPA, 2004, p. 84.

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1. THE LAND OWNERSHIP ISSUE

It is not uncommon to hear the riverside communities making references to José


Julio de Andrade, better known as Colonel Zé Julio. Sometimes they are not even direct
references to him, but to his legacy, as Vivaldo Ferreira Barbosa explains.171 His father
was employed by Michel de Mello e Silva on the Fazenda (Farm) Aquiqui.
At the end of the 19th Century and the beginning of the 20th, Colonel Zé Julio
shared the political and financial command of the area with José Porfírio de Miranda,
Jr. This resulted from the appropriation of large areas of land in the region.172 Accor-
ding to Moreira, until the mid 1970s, they were the “bosses,” establishing a social
relationship which was dominated by “tyranny” (p. 66). The “bosses” used and abused
the power they possessed, coercing tenants and suppressing riverine communities and
their leaders. The power resulting from the possession of land permeated every aspect of
daily life.
With the appearance of new economic activities, such as the illegal exploitation of
timber, the new “bosses,” claiming to be heirs of those caudillos, sought to reaffirm their
power in the region. They seized property from the large expanses of land in Porto de
Moz, with the intention of exploiting its greatest resource, the wood (timber). Accor-
ding to Moreira,
Since the 1980s ...the penetration of the forest by timber companies, displaced from the
island region where they had exhausted the highest quality wood, has increased. This invasion
encouraged the creation of lumber mills and the trade in timber by local businessmen.
Apparently, the communities did not feel threatened as they had with the large fishing trawlers.
This is probably due to the fact that these loggers, unlike the fishermen, did not invade their
land directly (p. 94).

The current process of land appropriation and seizure, which until the middle of
the 20th Century was encouraged by rubber tappers, is carried out largely by loggers. As
a rule, the illegal appropriation of land is carried out through grilagem of public lands or
the violent seizure of land from squatters. Grilagem is very common in Porto de Moz, a
municipality marked by a lack of agrarian organization, ineffectiveness of public bodi-
es, and confusion over the responsibilities of the various entities that exert jurisdiction
over federal and state lands and pieces of land belonging to the navy.
According to Moreira, the illegal appropriation of land is facilitated on the one
hand by “the failure to define the original chain of ownership of the land and on the

171
The statements in this chapter were taken by a team from Justiça Global on 14 May 2005, on the occasion of a visit
to the municipality of Porto de Moz.
172
Letrizia Fróes Duarte, Secretary of the Rural Workers Sindicate, met Maria Eduarda Do Amaral, who told stories of
rubber tapping from when he and his wife were employed by Col. Zé Julio. He told of the work of the hired gunmen
on the farm who took away the riverside dwellers’ goods. Many people were “disappeared” in this period and o Jarí was
the arrival point to kill people or castrate those who displeased Col. Zé Julio. They could not ask anything of the
caudillo or disagree with his orders as they would be physically punished with ox letter whips.

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HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS IN THE AMAZON: CONFLICT AND VIOLENCE IN THE STATE OF PARÁ

other hand, the fact that the floodplains are under the Brazilian Navy’s jurisdiction. In
this case, the Pará Land Institute (ITERPA) is responsible for solid ground and the
Navy for the floodplains. In fact, the situation is made worse because in daily community
life the two areas form one single unit (p. 139).” In addition to this, the insufficient
measures and lack of inspection and regulation by governmental entities allows grilagem
of public land and forests to continue.
One form of illegal appropriation of land in the region is the “system of renting
land.” The grileiro gains access to the land through a “lease agreement” (generally infor-
mal, without any form of documentation) and after a short period of time has transpired,
he goes to the registry office and publicly registers the property as if he were the rightful
owner. The scam becomes clear when the original chain of ownership is traced, and
evidence is found demonstrating that the area of land was never formally removed from
the public domain. Thus, a deed of ownership is issued and registered as if it were, in
fact, private land. In possession of one of these registry documents, the supposed owner
begins to expel, through legal and/or violent means, the traditional inhabitants (settlers)
from the area.
Based simply upon this type of registration, the current “owners/heirs of the caudillos”
of Fazenda Aquiqui are leasing out the land therein. This is creating great conflict, as
there were already settlers in the area before Michel de Melo e Silva obtained the registry
documentation. These long-term residents have worked for decades on the land, first as
“herdsmen” on the farm, and later remaining after its demise, developing their riverine
lifestyle and livelihoods.
Another example of the uncertainty surrounding the original chain of ownership
is what occurred in the case of Vivaldo Ferreira Barbosa. Barbosa’s land was seized by
Fernando Fernandes de Neto (known as “Fernandão”). Barbosa, married to Osvaldina
Braga Duarte, has 14 children and lives in the community of Conceição, on the Quanti
River, in the same place where his father lived for approximately 40 years. Barbosa’s
story is similar to many others in the region: a rubber tapper who struggled through the
rubber busts (1910-1920 and after the World War II) and then settled on land abandoned
by its owners. They took to extractivism for survival based on fishing, hunting, and
wood extraction.
In 1999, Fernandão, in possession of documents registered at the Registry office,
filed an Action for Reintegration of Possession, demanding that the land be vacated. He
affirmed in court that he had bought the area from Álvaro Soares de Sousa in 1998. The
property, however, was then found to be registered under the name of Michel de Melo
e Silva and Cléia Bentes de Melo e Silva. There are no references to the land having
been divided, an inventory having been made, or a title granting ownership having
been made to Sandro Luiz de Melo e Silva173 with whom the contract for the buying
and selling of the land was made.

173
Information contained in the Lawsuit for the Reintegration of Ownership no. 028/99 and the Final Allegations by
Vivalvo Ferreira Barbosa and others, received on 19 January 2004 at the registry office in Porto de Moz.

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HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS IN THE AMAZON: CONFLICT AND VIOLENCE IN THE STATE OF PARÁ

As a floodplain, this land is under water for a period of time each year, belongs to
the Navy, and cannot be registered as private property in any case. Only the use of the
land can be granted by the Regional Manager of Federal Lands (Gerência Regional do
Patrimônio da União, GRPU). There is no record of a request for use of the land made
in the name of Michel or Cléia, in whose name the area was first registered with the
Property Registry Office in the municipality of Gurupá.
This conflict between the riverine communities and grileiros manifested itself on
two occasions. Before the lawsuit for the Reintegration of Ownership was filed, there
was distress on the riverside dweller’s plot due to the introduction of animals into the
area by Álvaro Soares de Sousa, in an attempt to evict the family from the area. On 14
October 1999, Barbosa, represented by Idalino Nunes de Assis of the Rural Workers’
Union (Sindicato dos Trabalhadores Rurais, STR) in Porto de Moz, notified the Office of
the Public Prosecutor in that municipality of these events.
De Sousa, former manager of the Fazenda Aquiqui, allegedly bought the land
from Sandro Luiz de Melo e Silva (who claims to be the heir of Michel de Melo e Silva,
the alleged original owner of the farm) and later sold it to Fernandão. In 1972, INCRA
registered all the property, amounting to a total of 57,058 hectares,174 in the name of
Michel and Alfredo de Melo e Silva.
Unfortunately, these are not the only cases of grilagem and conflicts over the
possession of land and forest in the municipality. The STR and the Porto de Moz parish
described the “system of land leasing” and grilagem by loggers, giving numerous concrete
examples, in a document entitled: “The Agrarian Question in the Municipality of Por-
to de Moz.”175 This dossier describes in detail the stages of the grilagem process, such as:
“the truck driver is the person who does the deal for the buying and selling of the wood
with the settlers. However, the logger has often already cleverly included the settler’s
plot of land in the invoice, which then gives him the means to gain the deeds for the
public registry of the land.”
According to this document, the truck driver arrives to open a road in the middle
of the forest and begins extracting timber. He calls himself the “owner” of the plot and
removes all the trees found in the area without any form of agreement with or consent
from the settlers. After forcibly taking control of the area, the logger forbids the riverine
communities from hunting, fishing, and extracting wood from their plots of land. The
riverine community dweller ends up accepting the proposal and sells or abandons the
land so that he will not lose everything and therefore receives no compensation
whatsoever. There are examples where the members of riverine communities becomes

174
Hebette, Jean and Moreira, Edma Silva. Estudo Sócio Econômico com vista à criação da Reserva Extrativista “Verde
para Sempre” no município de Porto de Moz, estado do Pará, in Administrative Procedure 02001.007795/01-91, creating
the Extractive Reserve (RESEX) “Verde para Sempre,” 2003, p. 20.
175
This document was drafted and sent to the Parliamentary Commission of Inquiry looking into the grilagem of land
in the Amazon.

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“wood peons,” watching over the area and preventing other loggers from entering the
area, in other words, in the employ of the land grabbers. Most frequently the “wood
peons” look for another area to settle down in or leave the countryside towards the
urban centers.
According to a passage from the dossier:

The logger buys land from the settlers with or without INCRA registration, generally plots of
about 100 hectares in size. The final objective is to use the area as a port and gain authorization
for exploitation from the Brazilian Institute for the Environment and Natural Renewable
Resources (IBAMA) in the future. Grileiros are contracted to demarcate the land beyond the
plot, with trails. A topographer subsequently works on the development of topographic ground
plants, planning maps or sketches of the land that is not within their possession. With a
receipt for the buying and selling of the plot of land, the logger is able to obtain the deeds for
area from the property registry. Somehow the logger ends up with the documents for the
whole area (the land in their possession and the land that has been appropriated illegally)
which are required by IBAMA for the licensing of exploration.176

Even before gaining complete ownership (via registry documents and/or the eviction
of the settler), the logger begins to exploit the forest’s riches. According to a description
from the aforementioned dossier:

The [timber] company carries out the first survey of the area from the air; someone is contracted
as a tracker (rastreador) to identify the species from the top of the trees. Equipped with GPS
technology, he takes the bearings of the land and upon terminating the work, has the boundaries
of the area of interest. With the boundary coordinates, the topographer demarcates the area
by putting up signs and placing guards on the land. The company goes to the property registry
office and registers the property. It is common practice to neither name the area, nor identify
from whom it was acquired or the current owner.

During the illegal appropriation of public land (grilagem), the logger or landowner,
beyond just falsifying land titles, also uses violence to evict riverine communities from
areas that they traditionally occupy. The presence of gunmen in these communities is
common, forcing community members to leave their land under threat that their homes
will be burned and/or destroyed, that they and their families will be beaten up or even
killed, etc. There are numerous testimonies confirming this practice throughout the
region.

176
According to the same document, “the plots of 100 hectares possessed by settlers are bought by the loggers. These
INCRA documents serve as an opening for the process of deforestation or management by IBAMA. Nevertheless, the
area begins to be exploited annually and often beyond the original 100 hectares. It is possible that INCRA and
IBAMA employees take part in the process.”

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HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS IN THE AMAZON: CONFLICT AND VIOLENCE IN THE STATE OF PARÁ

One of the riverine community dwellers who has faced the greatest number of
threats is Odair Matos de Lima and his family. They have lived in the area called
Fazendinha for 57 years. This is an area of 200 hectares, where Odair was born, grew
up, married, and brought up his children and nephews. The area originally belonged to
his mother and was always occupied in a calm and peaceful manner without any form
of opposition. Five years later, he was surprised to find that the land had been bought
by the former mayor Gerson Campos and his wife Dilcilene Tenório.177 He had never
transferred his ownership of the land to anyone. He continued to live in the area with
no danger of losing his plot of land until 1999, when things changed.
Those who had “acquired” the land ordered the widespread clearing and planting
of 452 hectares, an area that included land belonging to 11 families. Virtually the whole
of Odair’s plot was affected by the felling of trees, burning of wood, and planting of
fodder for grazing.178 The grass seed was sown from an airplane, from which could
clearly be seen the extent of the felling of trees and environmental destruction that was
reported to IBAMA. The planting of grass means that nothing else can grow on the
land, thereby making Odair and his family’s subsistence farming unviable. After the
planting of the grass, the “buyers” let loose a herd of 100 cattle which encroached on all
of Odair’s land. They trampled on and destroyed the flour mill as well as one of his son’s
fields. Subsequently those who had “acquired” the land ordered that it be fenced, stripping
Odair and his family of his land tenure.
These actions consisted of the dispossession of the settlers’ possession of the land.
As a result, Odair and his family were unable to work on their own land. They no
longer had any land to cultivate to feed their family. As a person uncomfortable with
conflict and faced with the intensity of the violence, Odair did not seek out judicial
authorities, but instead began to cultivate land at the edges of the plots of land belonging
to his neighbors.
From the moment when the criminal attacks on Odair’s land began, the main
culprit was Antilho Marcelino Leite (known as “João Leite”), who made constant threats
to the squatter’s family. João Leite’s very presence (he is always armed with a revolver
and rifle) constituted a threat as he was known as a gunman in the region. He was a
“confidant” of the “buyers,” ensuring that work was carried out without any resistance.
In the past five years, Odair and his family have suffered every type of humiliation on
their own land at the hands of João Leite and his men with the aim of expelling his
family from the area.

177
A particularly important example of the illegal appropriation of land, according to accounts in the aforementioned
dossier, is that of Dilcelene Campos (mother of Gerson Campos, former mayor of Porto de Moz, 1996-2003) who has
three estates, each covering an area of more than 2,900 hectares. According to the property registry (the Gurupá
registry office and surveying by a registrar from ITERPA), these properties were “donated” by the government to the
state of Pará.
178
In Odair’s case, the felling of the trees destroyed 40 cacao beans, 12 orange trees, 15 tangerine trees, 12 mango trees,
10 avocado trees, 10 palm tree fruit (pupunha), 300 pineapple grove, 1,500 trees of açaí, two hectares of ripe manioc,
and 1 hectare of unripe manioc.

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HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS IN THE AMAZON: CONFLICT AND VIOLENCE IN THE STATE OF PARÁ

This dispute ended tragically: Odair Matos de Lima, acting in self defense, killed
Antilho Marcelino Leite, when Leite threatened him with a large knife. Odair and his
wife were arrested, only gaining bail after three months in prison.
After five years of suffering through the plundering of his land, persecution, threats,
insults, humiliation, the loss of cultivated land, having his plots of land invaded by
cattle, and nearly losing his life, Odair, his wife, and his son ended up being involved in
the death of a hired gunman. They were arrested and prosecuted and when freed, were
unable to lead normal lives as other employees of the “buyers” continued threatening
and intimidating them, disregarding Odair’s rights as an owner, without being punished.
On 27 October 2004, the house of Odair’s son, Adamir Castro de Lima, located in
Mungumbal, close to Fazendinha, was burnt down. On 30 October, Odair’s kiln and
stables were set on fire. Other than this, the foundation for a house that Odair was in
the process of building was virtually destroyed. It is still not certain who ordered the
fires set, but they were criminal acts and there were reports of the presence of the hired
assassins of the “buyers” in the area on the day of the incidents.
According to Odair’s statement, on another occasion, threats were made in the
presence of and with the collaboration of soldiers from the military police:179

At about 8 or 9 a.m., Antonio Cabeça Branca and four policemen were seen heading in the
direction of the cowshed where they met two more policemen. More than an hour after
leaving the cowshed, they arrived at the flour mill which they set alight and they demolished
a brand new house with an axe. They destroyed the cowshed that they had tried, but failed, to
set alight. The house belonging to Jota, son of Ada, which was nearly finished was destroyed
with an axe. At about 4 p.m., the police returned to Porto de Moz. Two gunmen remained in
the cowshed. Another day the gang leader, Zé Maria, made a call to the mayor, Gerson Cam-
pos, and said “I need to speak to Gerson Campos urgently.” Following this, Gerson came on
the radio and asked what Zé Maria wanted. And Zé said: “Listen Gerson, I want you to send
me without fail a box of 12-calibre cartridges because I’ve got a frightened man, with a bunch
of people complaining that’ll hunt me down.” The following day, Zé Maria Pereira [another
Zé Maria] arrived on a speedboat together with Antonio Cabeça Branca.

According to Odair’s account, his family was not evicted from the land on that day
because many locals began to arrive in the area after having been told by a neighbor’s
wife. About 40 neighbors kept vigil the entire day, thereby preventing any form of
violence to be perpetrated against the family from the riverine community.
All these cases and threats are typical and reflect a recurring ages-old practice in the
region: first, there is the process of buying and selling land with a supposed owner,
ignoring the rights of the traditional inhabitants. Then violence is used to evict the

179
Accounts given in statements to the Justiça Global team by Odair Matos de Lima, Francisca Castro de Roes, and
Adamir Castro de Lima on 13 May 2005.

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settler(s) without any compensation provided to them. Their links with that piece of
land where they lived their whole lives are disregarded along with their rights, while the
perpetrators go unpunished. It is thus that from within the registry itself that the majority
of the fraudulent land documents originate.

2. LOGGING EXPLOITATION IN THE REGION

According to the aforementioned dossier, between 1974-1982 in the Porto de


Moz region, “[T]he main business was based on bartering, although some small
proprietors did appear such as Foad (a buyer), Vieira (a buyer, representative of Amazô-
nia Company), and Varejão (a buyer).”
The wood was extracted by laborers contracted daily and then handed over to the
buyers as a form of payment for debts incurred for food, clothes, fuel, and tools (a type
of exchange known as escambo). Those who bought the wood also provided the workers
with basic survival products. These laborers had no other choice but to fell the wood in
order to pay off their debts. They bought the basic products they needed to survive,
only to then enter into a life of slavery.
This exploitation took place on river banks, as the abundance of plant species
made the grabbing up of the forest economically unattractive.180 According to the
aforementioned dossier, “[A]t first the work of the small lumber mills predominated:
Foad, Varejão, and Vieira.” When high quality wood began to be scarce on the river
banks, it became necessary to penetrate the forest.
The period 1982-1990 is known as the second stage of wood exploitation in Porto
de Moz. During this period, “the medium scale loggers, with additional resources, brought
in to the forest heavy machinery, lorries, rafts/ferries, tugs, and motor-saws. They began
to fell wood up to five km inside the forest.” The arrival of these medium scale loggers
had negative consequences for both the riverine communities as well as the environment.
This predatory exploitation of timber, beyond the obvious environmental damage, sped
up the rate at which the illegal appropriation of land took place and affected the riverine
communities’ way of life (formerly based on extractivism).
Wood exploitation was also a strategy used to exploit other natural resources and
control large areas of land. This process increased from 1982 on. The riverine commu-
nities in Porto de Moz then began to be threatened by the loggers that arrived from the
Breves region.
According to Hebette and Morreira, one of the main logging companies, Madenorte,
“began its work in the region some 30 years ago, in the rich forested area in the Breves
region, which has today been transformed into grazing land (p. 30).” Currently, 90% of

180
The main types of wood found in this period were sucuruba, esponja, parapará, marupá, virola, cedar, freijó, sucupira,
ucuuba, macacauba, moratinga, sumauma, and assacuzeiro.

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the timber (veneer and production) is destined for export.181 The migration of loggers
to Porto de Moz is one of the consequences of the diminution of wood stocks in the
large production centers, such as in the municipalities of Breves, Portel, Paragominas,
and Tailândia.
As previously stated, the process of illegal timber exploitation was based on the
appropriation of land using false registry documents, formation of criminal gangs, and
use of armed militias and gunmen to guard the land. This process made the loggers
more powerful so that they then went on to control the political administration of the
municipality. This allowed the occupation of thousands of hectares of forest, resulting
in predatory exploitation that is both environmentally and socially unsustainable. The
majority of the plans for exploitation and management approved by IBAMA were located
in the riverine communities’ and settlers’ areas of community use, especially in areas
under public land tenure.
This type of illegal appropriation can be verified through any form of inspection.
This happened recently in an INCRA inspection, in which the following was reported:
“Wagner Rogério Lazarine: AUTEX (authorization for exploration) 1502200220062,
valid between 10 September 2002 and 10 September 2003; however, it was suspended
on 24 October 2003 due to suspected fraudulent documents (from the Gurupá registry).
We seized the land with an area of 1,976,525 cubic meters, totalling 723 different
species of logs.”182 At the closure of this report, not one of the people responsible for
the illegal exploitation had been punished effectively. However, when inspections do
take place and fines are imposed, they are never paid.
According to the Amazon Institute of People and the Environment (IMAZON),
the majority of the holders of PMFs do not respect the legislation and many of them are
located in areas of the forest which are in fact public land. According to an initial
evaluation by IBAMA in 2003, about 80% of the PMFs in Pará were authorized in an
improper way on public land. Consequently, even though the wood coming from these
projects is authorized by the governmental body responsible, it is still technically illegal.183
According to information from IBAMA, in the municipality of Porto de Moz
alone, 34 companies controlled about 105,893.66 hectares and in 2003 they applied to
IBAMA for authorization to extract more than 1.2 million cubic meters of wood from
the forest. All the companies extracting wood in the municipality show some level of
irregularity or fraud in their agrarian documents.

181
The Madenorte area in Porto de Moz is ‘reserved for the reserve,’ 20 November 2003 — Porto de Moz (PA), http:/
/www.greenpeace.org.br/amazonia/.
182
Data from a report on a trip made by José Geraldo Brandão, Environmental Analyst from IBAMA in Santarém,
dated 2 July 2003.
183
The report: “Pará — Estado de Conflito, uma investigação sobre grileiros, madeireiros e fronteiras sem lei do estado do
Pará, na Amazônia,” available at http://www.greepeace.org.br, accessed on 13 July 2005.

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3. THE STRUGGLE FOR THE PRESERVATION OF THE ENVIRONMENT

At the very time when Minister of the Environment Marina Silva was travelling
with her entourage in toward the place where the first meeting of the inhabitants of the
Extractive Reserve Verde para Sempre would be held, Sister Dorothy Stang was murdered
by two men in the municipality of Anapu. Aproximately 250 km separated Sister Dorothy
from Minister Silva, who was meeting with leaders and riverine communities in the
Comunidade dos Carmelinos, in Rio Jaurucu, Porto de Moz.
Since the 1980s, the riverine communities in Porto de Moz have protested against
and denounced the arrival of large trawlers that come from Belém and Macapá to fish
on a large scale in the region. Then, with the arrival of the loggers, the land and forests
used by the communities started to be threatened by predatory exploitation. The various
attempts to make these community areas official by legalizing them, thus preventing
loggers from accessing them, have thus far been fruitless.
For a long time, the fight to preserve natural resources has been taken on by the
riverine communities themselves, mainly as a question of survival. There have been a
number of important events and manifestations of this struggle. The creation of the
“Verde para Sempre” Extractive Reserve was a victory for the preservation of their
traditional way of life, resulting in a bold type of mobilization, the blockading of the
Jaurucu River.
According to a report by the president of STR in Porto de Moz, Idalino Nunes de
Assis, IBAMA’s inefficiency at investigating the numerous denunciations made by riverine
community members and leaders led the inhabitants to protest on a large scale. The
objective was to draw the attention of national and international authorities to the
environmental destruction in the municipality. However, they opted for the blockading
of the Jaurucu River, the main exit point for the region’s timber.
Approximately 600 people from the riverine communities created a blockade with
their small vessels for three days, preventing the passage of ferries and rafts transporting
wood. This act culminated in the retention of two boats laden with illegally extracted
logs, which had been registered with IBAMA. Idalino Nunes, president of the Rural
Workers in Porto de Moz, explains that the protest served “to show the world that they
[the communities] were telling the truth and that it was the government, through
IBAMA, that was lying. They decided to close the river and not let any loggers or
grileiros go past.”184
Another leader, Father Adernei Guemaque Leal, confirms that the carrying out of
this blockade was important to draw society’s attention to the illegal exploitation of

184
Statement given by Idalino Nunes to the Justiça Global team on 18 May 2005, in Belém, Pará.

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wood. It was also important in that it mobilized the riverine communities that deman-
ded their right to “live their lives as riverine community members, as people who live
off of the river, forest, or land.”185 He further claims that the

...blockade was a reaffirmation of our identity as a riverine community, of the right to live on
the banks of the rivers, of our way of life, and of our way of relating to the forest. The riverine
dweller has always respected the natural environment; he has always respected the river; he
cares for the forest. The water and the forest are part of the riverine dweller’s identity. It
represents our original identity in this relationship with the land, water, and forest.

According to Nunes, the blockade began on 19 September 2002 at dawn and the
only person who broke through the blockade was Rivaldo Campos.186 On the afternoon
of 20 September, two ferries approached the blockade with one captained by André
Campos, the brother of Rivaldo and Gerson Campos.
In the early morning of 20 September and into the 21st, the ferry-boats were let
loose, threatening more than 600 people in more than 80 boats taking part in the
blockade. It was a moment of tension and desperation, due to the presence of women,
old people, and children. The force of the boats was so strong that it broke the sterns on
some of them. The riverine community members and those supporting them woke up
in time to prevent a tragedy and a Greenpeace launch was able to keep back the boats.
In Porto de Moz there was a small group of loggers and city councilmen who
incited the villagers against those taking part in the blockade of the river, including
encouraging the use of violence. As time has gone by the number of people following
the loggers and policies contrary to those of the extractive reserve has increased to such
an extent that they began to use a local radio station to call upon the people to oppose
the blockade. As 22 September drew to a close, they grouped themselves together at the
entrance to the city awaiting the return of the leaders and others who had participated
in the blockade.
Upon arrival at the quayside, Claudio Wilson Soares Barbosa, then coordinator of
the Group for Sustainable Development in Porto de Moz, was physically attacked and
nearly killed. He was pulled from the STR boat, which was then wrecked and set on
fire. Later, the crowd regrouped in the port when they caught sight of the parish’s boat,
and began shouting at the priest. Meanwhile, for security reasons, the priest had returned
in another launch and anchored in a different place than usual, hiding out at a friend’s
house.

185
Statement given by Father Adernei Guemaque from the CPT in Xingu to the Justiça Global team on 18 May 2005,
in Belém.
186
Rivaldo Campos is the current president of the Town Council in Porto de Moz and the brother of the former mayor,
Gerson Campos, a member of the Grupo Campos.

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At the airport, a journalist from the Rede Record channel in São Paulo was attacked;
his equipment and all of the photos he had taken over the three days of protest were also
destroyed. Witnesses confirm that then mayor Gerson Campos was present and
encouraged the assault. The majority of the leaders who took part in the blockade
(many of whom had already been threatened) did not return to the city.
All the group leaders who took part in the blockade were criminally prosecuted by
the State Public Ministry in the District of Porto de Moz.187 The case particulars have
already been prepared and it is in the final stages of prosecution. The captain of the boat
that made an attempt on the lives of riverine community members was also prosecuted
for attempted murder, but the sentence has still not been handed down. The blockade
led to other proceedings such as the Circumstantial Term of Occurrence and Action of
Indemnification (Termo Circunstanciado de Ocorrência e Ação de Indenização) for physical
and psychological damage resulting from the fire set on the STR launch, but no legal
process has yet been concluded.
IBAMA officials, upon arriving in Santarém during the blockade, reported that
the wood was illegal. André Campos claimed that it had been extracted through the
Biancardi Loggers, whose Management Project did not, in fact, exist. The wood was
seized (more than 100 logs) and taken to the city. Meanwhile, with no inspection or
regulation undertaken, the wood was chopped up and sold without any form of
punishment being meted out. According to Moreira, the popular organizations’ actions188
“are popular responses to the mechanisms that threaten their permanence in the area in
better living conditions.” They fought for the creation of the “Forever Green” Extractive
Reserve as a way to encourage the sustainable use of natural resources in the region and
prevent the destruction of the Amazon forest.
The blockading of the Jaruruco River was a daring step with huge repercussions
in the historical struggle of the communities of Porto de Moz. The creation of the
extractive reserve, guaranteeing the sustainable use of natural resources and preventing
the plundering carried out by loggers, was the climax of the long historic struggle for
the land.

187
They were framed under Article 261 of the Penal Code, which deals with an “attack on sea, river, or air transport,”
and outlines a punishment of between two and five years of imprisonment.
188
The struggle for the preservation of the natural resource base is organized by the of Rural Workers Union (STR),
the committee for the sustainable development in Porto de Moz, Pastoral Land Commission, Association of
Fishermen, Colony of Fishermen in Porto de Moz, Association of Women in the County and City, and Rural
Community Association.

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4. THE CREATION OF THE “VERDE PARA SEMPRE” EXTRACTIVE RESERVE

The “Verde para Sempre” Extractive Reserve (Reserva Extrativista, RESEX)189 was
created by decree on 8 December 2004 and is located in the municipality of Porto de
Moz. Today it is the largest extractive reserve in the country, encompassing an area of
more than 1.3 million hectares. From the beginning of the administrative process to
develop the reserve190 to the publication of the Decree approximately three years elapsed,
but the fight for its establishment is actually much longer than that.
The public bodies’ negligence and collaboration with the grileiros forced the com-
munities to organize themselves and adopt their own methods to defend their land,
such as demarcation. According to Maria Creusa Gama Ribeiro,191 one of the coordi-
nators of the group for sustainable development in Porto de Moz, “ ...[N]ine communal
areas decided upon and demarcated by the communities themselves appeared. They
formed groups to administer the area.”192 These areas are not recognized by the state,
and they came about and continue to exist as a result of the communities’ ability to
mobilize and organize themselves. These communities sought a guarantee of permanence
in the area and the ability to preserve their extractivist way of life.
In 1994, the first Seminar on Natural Resources took place which had participation
from representatives of the STR, the parish, Association of Industrial Fishermen, and
Workers’ Party (PT). As a result of contact between numerous social movements and
human rights groups during the seminar, the Group for Natural Resources was created.
The objective of this group was to articulate the representation of the riverine commu-
nities’ rights by the numerous social movements and groups.193
While these seminars were taking place, the idea emerged for the creation of an
extractive reserve as an alternative to slow down the process of environmental degradation,
grilagem, and forced eviction of traditional communities from their lands. It was, howe-
ver, the social movements that after a long process of study, discussion, and awareness
raising, suggested the creation of the “Verde para Sempre” RESEX.
At the hearing on 12 February 2005 (attended by Environment Minister Marina
Silva) the federal government presented the people with guidelines and characteristics

189
The creation of extractive reserves is outlined in law 9,985, of 28 July 2000, which regulates Article 225, para. 1, I,
II, III and IV of the Constitution. Decree 4,340, of 22 August 2002 regulates Articles 22, 24, 25, 26, 27, 30, 33, 36,
41, 42, 47, 48, and 55 of the law 9,985, as well as articles 15, 17, 18, and 20 with respect to the councils of the
conservation units.
190
Administrative procedure 02001.007795/01-91, on 31 October 2001.
191
Information gathered by Justiça Global researchers on 13 May 2005, at the Committee for Sustainable Develop-
ment in Porto de Moz.
192
The so-called ”communal areas” are decided upon and demarcated by the communities themselves.
193
This committee subsequently acquired judicial characteristics and became known as the Committee for Sustainable
Development in Porto de Moz, conformed by all resident associations, fishing communities, church parishes, STR,
youth groups, and other groups.

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specific to extractive reserves. The local landowners and loggers attempted to demobilize
the community. Despite this manoeuvre, the population stuck with its decision to create
the extractive reserve and the implementation process began.
The first step was the creation of a Provisional Commission (comissão provisória),
comprised of representatives from the community, with the goal of creating the reserve
within one year. At this meeting promises and motions were made by Minister Silva,
including the following in particular:

a) The so-called “cleaning up” operation of the land, consisting of taking away land
from landowners, loggers, and grileiros, the cancellation of registration obtained
illegally, and the expropriation of land with legal titles.
b) The registration of land in riverine communities.
c) The demarcation of land for the reserve.
d) The freeing up of R$22,000,000 (US$10 million) through the National Program
of Family Agriculture (Programa Nacional de Agricultura Familiar, or PRONAF),
to be distributed among settled families, with the objective of subsidising the
construction of housing and funding the first harvest.
e) The construction of a joint federal police and IBAMA station in the municipality.
f) The carrying out of a series of social measures by a team from the Sala do
Cidadão, a project within INCRA responsible for issuing documents to riverine
community laborers.

By the end of June, very few measures had been adopted and put into action as
promised by the plans. The registration of the families was not even carried out. Even
so, the creation of the extractive reserve is an important victory for the preservation of
the environment in the Amazon.
According to the terms of Law 9985 of 2000, extractive reserves are areas used “by
traditional extractivist people, whose survival is grounded in extractivism together with
subsistence farming and the rearing of small animals. The basic objective [of establishing
extractive reserves] is to protect their way of life, the culture of these communities, and
guarantee the sustainable use of natural resources in the area.”
It is important to emphasise that extractive reserves are public lands and only the
use of the land has been granted to the traditional communities — not the land itself.
According to the law (Article 18), the “commercial exploitation of timber will only be
allowed in sustainable areas or in special situations and those that compliment the many
activities being developed in the extractive reserves, according to the guidelines and the
management plans for each unit of land.”
Faced with this new situation, the laborers in Porto de Moz began demanding the
implementation of public policies which would not only guarantee the preservation of

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the environment, but also those aimed at agrarian regularization, allowing the traditional
communities in the region to stay on their land.
However, the workers’ main worries are linked to the continued illegal deforestati-
on and violence committed against settlers, with the intention of intimidating them
and expelling them from their land. The loggers and grileiros continue criticizing the
creation of extractive reserves, announcing publicly that they will do their best to reverse
the process of implementing them.
On 8 March 2005, a Mandamus was registered in the Supreme Federal Court by
Davi Resende Soares and others against the President of the Republic, seeking to suspend
the creation of the extractive reserve. On 7 July 2005, a decision which would favor the
landowners and loggers who were opposing the establishment of the reserve was
refused.194
The creation of the “Verde para Sempre” Extractive Reserve arose as an alternative
project for sustainable development in the region. The transformation of the area into
an extractive reserve was the riverine communities’ way of trying to curb illegal land
appropriation, although the legislation determines that the ownership of land comprising
an extractive reserve remains under public control, as well as bringing the predatory
exploration of wood to an end — in the face of the ban on the commercial exploitation
of wood.

5. HUMAN RIGHTS DEFENDERS: FIGHTS AND THREATS

The struggles, advances, and conquests made by the communities and leaders in
Porto de Moz are significant in the consolidation of the riverine communities’ rights
and are directly opposed to the interests of large commercial groups. The resistance by
the communities is becoming an obstacle to the realization of the commercial groups’
projects for predatory and unsustainable exploitation of the natural resources.
This leads the landowners and loggers to react and they do not hesitate to use
violent means to halt the popular struggle and protect their own interests. In this dispu-
te over natural resources, there is state omission, inefficiency, and even collusion with
commercial interests, thus leaving the communities and their leaders dependent on
themselves with no state support. They remain at risk from measures taken by loggers
and even from public bodies such as the police that are oftentimes used as instruments
of violence.
An illustrative example is the aforementioned Criminal Lawsuit (Ação Penal), set
in motion by the Pará Public Ministry against 12 leaders who took part in the blockade
of the Jaurucu River. The Public Ministry’s efforts in this case were channelled into the

194
Federal Supreme Court, 15 July 2005, decision available at http://www.stf.gov.br/.

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criminalization of the struggle by the community organizations. (The Public Ministry’s


constitutional role is to defend society and preserve the environment.) The attempt to
carry out what is in fact the government’s role — to guarantee an ecologically balanced
environment for current and future generations (Federal Constitution, Article 225) —
was transformed in a crime.
Human rights defenders struggle daily against violence and environmental
degradation perpetrated by groups of grileiros and loggers in Porto de Moz. The defenders’
work to help sustain the riverine dwellers’ way of life exposes human rights defenders to
all forms of reprisals and human rights violations. They are often victims of physical
violence and threats. The leaders and riverine laborers often receive threats and are
coerced in different ways. Aside from these conflicts noted above, death threats,
intimidation, and direct assaults on important local leaders all occur.
The president of the STR in Porto de Moz, Idalino Nunes de Assis, has received
several phone calls with death threats because of his work as a union leader. Once he
learned about an offer of R$10,000 (US$ 4,000) to have him killed. The offer was
made to José Orlando da Silva. Upon receiving this information, Idalino left the town
for a few days. Letrízia Fróes Duarte, STR’s secretary, has also received death threats.
On 21 September 2002, Claudio Wilson Barbosa, coordinator of the Committee
for Sustainable Development in Porto de Moz, was violently attacked and beaten up by
14 people.195 Aside from being beaten up on the final day of the blockade of the River
Jarancu, he has also received numerous death threats.196
Father Aderney Guemaque Leal,197 a member of the Xingu Parish branch of the
CPT, was also threatened with lynching on the occasion of the river blockade and
remained in town heavily protected by local inhabitants.

CONCLUSION

Until now, the laws and the guarantee of the implementation of policies in
conservation areas have not been established by the federal government. Neither the
management plan or the plan for the use of the “Forever Green” Extractive Reserve laid
out in Brazilian legislation have yet been implemented.

195
Some of these people were: Maria Varejão, Haroldo Santana, Valdo Tenório (councilman), Fátima Nogueira
(councilwoman) and her son Fernando, Helena Varejão, Braz Duarte (employee at the City Hall), Babal, Berg Campos
(nephew of Mayor Gerson Campos), Faraday Varejão, Edinaldo Tenório, Nildo Pontes, Ivair Pontes and Rivaldo
Campos (councilman).
196
A letter dated 27 September 2003 on behalf of the groups that helped create the “Verde para Sempre” Extractive
Reserve, and statements from the lawsuit for compensation for physical and psychological injury (No. 001/2003),
lawsuits lodged by the STR and Mr. Cláudio Wilson Barbosa.
197
Statement by Father Adernei (CPT in Xingu) to Justiça Global researchers on 18 May 2005 in Belém.

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Other communities outside of this extractive reserve and have become targets for
illegal logging. These communities continue to have no protection from the federal or
state governments, which have simply abandoned these communities and left them to
fend for themselves.
The fines issued in cases where environmental crimes and the measures to recover
the forest which should have been paid, and implemented, by the those charged with
environmental crimes have still not been fulfilled. This results once again in impunity
and the “cohabitation” of governmental entities with private interests producing the
environmental devastation in the first place. This impunity is decades old and still
reigns in the region. Faced by this very difficult and dangerous situation even today, the
riverine communities, even after commemorating the victory of the creation of the
extractive reserve, continue to resist the encroachment of the illegal ranchers and loggers
and struggle to preserve the environment and guarantee human rights in the region.

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Chapter VIII

RECOMMENDATIONS FOR THE STATE OF PARÁ

T his report is more than just a description of the significant events in the life and
struggles of the workers and human right defenders in Pará. It is not merely an
analysis of events, but goes beyond, to the responsibilities of the governmental authorities
mandated with developing and implementing policies of reparation, protection, and
promotion of human rights. This is without losing sight of public and private actors
who also systematically violate the economic, social, cultural, and environmnetal rights
of the Amazonian population.
The purpose of this list of recommendations is to set out in a transparent fashion
the responsibilities so that organizations, social entities and movements can establish
mechanisms for ongoing monitoring and evaluation. The objective is to confront the
problems of rural workers and search for ways to strengthen the respect for human
rights, thereby building an active and involved citizenry.
This report will serve as a compendium wherein we detail the responsibilities of
each governmental body so that each can be held accountable. Hence, we tackle the
lack of commitment of those who make promises and do not implement them, laying
out the actors involved in those issues and where the bottlenecks are in the implemen-
tation of public policies.

1. RECOMMENDATIONS TO COMBAT VIOLENCE AND IMPUNITY

l Considering the huge number of assassinations, “disappeared people,” clandestine


cemeteries, and that virtually all of the cases remain without resolution, the Fede-
ral Police should carry out an investigation with the objective of verifying the
denunciations of human right violations contained in this report (Federal and
State Public Ministries, Civil Police of Pará, Public Security Secretariat (Secretaria
de Segurança Pública, SESP), and Ministry of Justice/Federal Police).

l Execute immediately all of the arrest warrants that have been handed down

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HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS IN THE AMAZON: CONFLICT AND VIOLENCE IN THE STATE OF PARÁ

against hired gunmen and large landowners (judicial power; Public Ministry; Civil
Police of Pará; and Federal Police).

l Investigate all of the cases of threats, assassination attempts, and assassinations of


agricultural workers, union and religious leaders, and human rights defenders in
Pará (State Public Ministry and Civil Police of Pará), including the effective and
direct participation of the Public Ministry and Federal Police.

l Carry out efficient administrative and criminal investigations into all cases of
denunciations of abuse of authority and torture carried out by agents of the state
such as civil and military police officers.

l Speed up investigations of criminal actions already in progress into the murders


of rural workers and their leaders and carry out jury trials of those responsible for
these crimes (Public Ministry and the judicial power of Pará).

l Immediately remove the large landowners who have been denounced for
embezzling SUDAM funds and who remain on lots designated for expropriation
by the federal government for establishment of a Sustainable Development Projects
(PDS). An example is found in Anapú, where, on 13 June 2005, Laudelino Délio
Fernandes remained in lots 56 and 58, irregardless of the many denunciations of
illegal land occupancy.

2. RECOMMENDATIONS ON SLAVE LABOR

l Approve immediately the Proposal for Constitutional Amendment 438/2001


that would expropriate lands where slave labor has been found to exist.

l Approve immediately Draft Bill 2022/1996 that utilizes prohibitions to formali-


ze the contracts with agencies and organs of the government and the participation
in public auctions of the companies that, directly or indirectly, use slave labor in
the production of goods and services.

l Create Federal Prosecutor Offices and Federal Public Defender Offices in the
municipalities of São Félix do Xingu, Xinguara, Conceição do Araguaia, and Re-
denção in the state of Pará.

l Increase the number of Labor Courts in Pará for the municipalities in the interi-
or of the state, particularly in the cities of Santana do Araguaia, Xinguara, and São
Félix do Xingu.

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l Organize, immediately, public exams for the fulfillment of the vacancy of judge
in the County of Redenção.

lSet up federal police stations in the municipalities of São Félix do Xingu and
Tucuruí.

l Permanently allocate 60 federal police agents and 12 federal police chiefs to


combat slave labor in the municipalities in the interior of Pará.

l Approve the resolution of the National Monetary Council that prevents the
concession of funds to public or private financial institutions, privates companies,
and large landowners employing slave labor, using as a reference the list developed
for by the Ministry of Labor and Employment.

l Implement a broad-based campaign for the dissemination of information on the


“chain of production” of slave labor-produced foodstuffs and other items, alerting
companies that directly or indirectly consume/use these products, threatening to
expose this fact publicly if they continue to employ slave labor in any part of that
chain of production.

3. RECOMMENDATIONS FOR THE PROTECTION OF HUMAN RIGHTS DEFENDERS

l Formulate a protection policy that ensures the security of all human right
defenders.

l Facilitate the access of defenders to mechanisms of public security, respecting the


specificity of each situation.

l Ensure that police security is carried out by federal police agents or by police
officers from other regions or states.

l Immediately provide protection for the lives of human rights defenders in the
region of the “Verde para Sempre” Extractive Reserve, for the Rural Workers Union
of Rondon of Pará, pastoral agents, union leaders, social movement leaders, and
advisors of the workers of Anapu (State Steering Committee of the Human Rights
Defenders Program of Pará, Steering Committee of the National Human Rights
Defenders Program, police stations, Public Ministry, Special Secretariat for Hu-
man Rights, and the federal police).

l Designate, in the National Plan of Agrarian Reform, specific and emergency

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HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS IN THE AMAZON: CONFLICT AND VIOLENCE IN THE STATE OF PARÁ

actions to counter violence in the areas of agrarian conflicts (Ministry of Agrarian


Development, INCRA, National Agrarian Ombudsman and ITERPA).

4. RECOMMENDATIONS FOR AGRARIAN REFORM

lRe-incorporate into the public domain all the public areas that have been illegally
appropriated, making them available for agrarian reform (INCRA, MDA and
ITERPA).

l Host seminars and public consultations with rural workers who are in landless
encampments, defining through that process the best areas for implementing
agrarian reform settlements (INCRA and MDA).

l Earmark the necessary resources for reaching the goals set out in the II National
Plan for Agrarian Reform, including supplementing the MDA budget in order to
guarantee that the goals (aimed at tackling the irregular agrarian situation) are
reached and the corresponding actions implemented.

l Legally title all estates covering up to 100 hectares in the state of Pará, allocating
appropriate funds for investment in and maintenance of the settlers (INCRA and
MDA).

l Set up administrative mechanisms that allow for better joint action by INCRA
and ITERPA regarding expropriation of lands, dispossession, and creation of
Settlement Projects (INCRA and ITERPA).

lConclude the process of expropriation of unproductive properties that are claimed


and/or occupied by more than 20,000 landless families in the state of Pará (INCRA;
MDA; Attorney-General; and Federal Courts).

l Form a commission, led by INCRA’s Federal Prosecutor, to verify the situation


and inquiry into the interruption of dozens of administrative procedures before
INCRA’s Superintendency in Marabá (INCRA, MDA and NGOs).

4.1 Recommendations to Rondon do Pará, Castelo dos Sonhos and Anapu

l Improve the material conditions of the settlements in Rondon do Pará, particu-


larly regarding road maintenance, construction of schools and health clinics, and
provision of technical assistance to the settled workers.

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HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS IN THE AMAZON: CONFLICT AND VIOLENCE IN THE STATE OF PARÁ

l Speed up the administrative procedures of expropriation, by INCRA and MDA,


of the plots of land occupied by landless workers in Rondon do Pará.

l Settle all the families registered with the Rural Workers Union and all those in
encampments, particularly the families of landless workers camped by the BR-163
Highway in the “Brasília Encampment” (Castelo dos Sonhos).

l Adopt urgent measures to inspect, and consequently expropriate, all the plots
of land that do not fulfill the “social function” of rural properties, be it for their
unproductive status or environmental or labor law violations within those
properties.

l Immediately implement the proposals announced during a meeting on 25 February


2005 in Anapu by the Minister of Agrarian Development, Miguel Rosseto. These
proposals include the geo-referencing of 22 plots located within Sustainable Deve-
lopment Projects (PDS) and expropriation of those areas (IBAMA and the Ministry
of Labor and Employment’s Regional Superintendency to carry out a joint inspection
operation; INCRA and IBAMA technicians to inspect and immediately notify the
proprietors of areas where environmental crimes are identified).

l Urgently analyze and decide upon the lawsuits filed by INCRA before the Fede-
ral Courts, aimed at reverting the dominium of public areas that are in the possession
of grileiros, landowners, and loggers in the municipality of Anapu.

l Concede to INCRA the legal possession of plots 109, 111, 124, 126, 127, 128,
131, 134, 135, 137, 177, and 179, all located within the PDS Virola Jatobá. Ac-
cording to information provided by workers and rural technicians, these plots
have already been fully inspected by INCRA.

l Immediately settle all the registered families who are living in the Manduacari
Plot (Gleba Manduacari), the PDS Esperança, and Virola Jatobá, in the municipality
of Anapu.

l Publicize the reports with the actions implemented by INCRA in the municipality
of Anapu.

5. RECOMMENDATIONS TO COMBAT GRILAGEM

lImmediately cancel the irregular registries of illegally appropriated land (INCRA,


MDA and ITERPA).

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HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS IN THE AMAZON: CONFLICT AND VIOLENCE IN THE STATE OF PARÁ

lNullify all the property titles and property registries of rural properties with
more than 2,500 hectares which were acquired illegally (INCRA and MDA).

l Publicize the administrative procedures resulting from Portaria 558/99, inclu-


ding which properties did not fulfill the requirements set forth in that Portaria
(INCRA and MDA).

l Immediately implement the Public System of Land Registry, in which — according


to Law 12,267 and Decree 4,449 — each request for a property registry should be
accompanied by a document describing the property, the geographical coordinates
that define the boundaries of the rural property, geo-referenced by the Brazilian
Geodesic System (INCRA and MDA).

lImmediately carry out a review and correction of wrongdoings in the Registrar’s


Office of Rondon do Pará (High Court of Pará’s Oversight Office).

l Adopt urgent measures aimed at geo-referencing to identify and inspect rural


properties located in Castelo dos Sonhos, taking into consideration the denuncia-
tions of grilagem of public land presented in this report.

l Cancel the registration in the federal and state governments’ funding programs,
of the landowners involved in crimes against rural workers, environmental crimes,
slave labor and illegal appropriation of land.

5.1 Specific recommendations to Anapu

l INCRA should file a Reintegration of Ownership Lawsuit and adopt other


necessary measures aimed at the expulsion of the grileiro who currently occupies
plot number 55.198

l Adopt the necessary measures to remove the grileiros from plot 108 in PDS

Virola Jatobá — Gleba Belo Monte, plots 56, 58, 61 and 62 of PDS Esperança,
plots 21, 23, 25, and 27 and other areas allocated of PDSs.

198
According to a report on actions carried out by INCRA on the PDS in Anapu after the assassination of Sister
Dorothy Stang, the Federal Court in Marabá authorized three actions of recovery of possession in INCRA’s favor.
These were plots 108 and 129 on PDS Viroal Jatobá — Gleba Belo Monte and plot 55 on PDS Esperança — Gleba
Bacajá. However, workers in the region confirm that plot 108 in this PDS continues in the possession of a grileiro
known as Gilberto, despite the judicial decision mentioned above.

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HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS IN THE AMAZON: CONFLICT AND VIOLENCE IN THE STATE OF PARÁ

l Investigate the denunciations of all persons involved in grilagem of public lands


in the municipality of Anapu, bringing those responsible to justice and removing
them from their illegal possessions.199

l Publicize the results of the actions implemented by INCRA in the municipality

of Anapu.

5.2 Specific recommendations to Rondon do Pará

l INCRA or ITERPA should file lawsuits to recover public lands that had their
registries cancelled, particularly the following farms: Serraria Jerusalém Ltda., San-
ta Cruz, Bela Vista, Jucamarhe, Pantanal, Coração do Brasil, Garrafão, Futuro,
and Graciosa.

l Speed up the administrative procedures of registry inspection of rural properties


located in Rondon do Pará.

6. RECOMMENDATIONS TO TACKLE THE PROBLEM OF DEFORESTATION

l Strengthen and re-structure the IBAMA offices in Pará, ensuring the efficiency
of their actions to monitor and combat illegal deforestation, and to implement the
conservation units already created.

l IBAMA should deny new authorizations for Plans for Sustainable Forest
Management (PFMS) without in loco follow-up or without the proper certification
of the local companies applying for such licenses.

lIntensify the actions to apprehend the boats and illegally transported logs (IBAMA
and MMA).

199
The main grileiros in Anapu are: 1) on PDS Esperança: Avelino Dedea (plot 29); Laudelino Délio Fernandes (plots
52, 56, and 58); Dominguinhos Ricardo (plot 57); Luis Ungaratti (plot 53); Julio César, Empresa Brasil Central (plots
59, 60, 61, and 62); Marcos (plot 54); 2) PDS Virola Jatobá: Gabriel Madeireiro (plots 135,136, 137, 138, 139, 158,
and 159); Paulo Medeiros (plot 124); Paulo Ribeiro Andrade, Grupo Trindade; Luciano Fernandes (plot 126); Luis
Henrique (plot 107); 3) Gleba Manduacari: Domingos Bibiano; Goianinho; Tranca Rua; Tota and sons; Cleildo and
Pereira.

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HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS IN THE AMAZON: CONFLICT AND VIOLENCE IN THE STATE OF PARÁ

6.1 Recommendations to Porto de Moz, Castelo dos Sonhos and Anapu

l Adopt urgent and necessary measures to guarantee the implementation of the


“Verde para Sempre” Extractive Reserve, such as allowing the free use of the land by
the traditional and extractivist communities and carry out the expropriation of the
private rural properties located within the boundaries of the reserve, according to
Articles 3 and 4 of Decree 8, of November 2004 (IBAMA).

l Promote and execute the expropriation for social interest of the rural properties
and their developments identified in the “Verde para Sempre” Extractive Reserve.
The justification for the recovery of possession should be the urgency required by
Decree-Law 3,365, article 15.

l Promote, through IBAMA’s legal department, the appropriate administrative


and judicial measures aimed at canceling eventual property titles and their respective
registry certificates which are considered to be irregular and that impact on the
“Verde para Sempre” Extractive Reserve.

l Take measures to guarantee efficient inspections by environmental organs, inclu-


ding setting up, with the required infrastructure, an IBAMA advanced post in the
region (IBAMA and MMA).

lTake the necessary measures to inspect and fine those responsible for environ-
mental crimes and remove their names from properties destined to PDS projects.200

lPublicize the results of the actions carried out by IBAMA in the municipality of
Anapu.

6.2 Recommendations to Terra do Meio

l Immediately start the procedures to implement Conservation Units already decreed


that remain to be physically demarcated, and the elaboration of management or
usage plans (federal and state governments).

200
In a meeting that took place in Anapu on 25 February 2005, IBAMA technicians were to follow inspection activities
carried out by INCRA in the region. According to information provided by workers, on 13 June 2005 very few areas
were effectively inspected by IBAMA. The situation of illegal exploitation of timber in areas destined to the PDS
remains a serious problem.

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l Immediately set aside the area around the Canopus Road as an Area for Environ-
mental Preservation, according to a requirement by the Movement for the Develo-
pment of the Transamazonic and Xingu Regions (Movimento pelo Desenvolvimento
da Transamazônica e Xingu, or MDTX), carrying out the micro-zoning and then
allocating the areas for family agriculture (Pará state government).

lSupport legal actions against landowners who have destroyed forest areas without
permission from environmental organs, including the obligation for those landow-
ners to pay the costs of the recovery of the destroyed areas.

7. RECOMMENDATIONS TO COMBAT CORRUPTION IN PUBLIC BODIES

l Start an inquiry within INCRA and ITERPA to investigate the members of their
staffs who participated in the grilagem scheme in that region (Federal Public
Ministry; INCRA; and IBAMA).

l Set up procedures to investigate and punish the agents involved in the cases of
violence against workers and environmental crimes denounced by this report (state
and federal Public Ministries).

l Immediately support and pass the Constitutional Amendment Proposals 304/


2004 and 374/2005, which deal with the “provision of notary and registry services
by public bodies” and the federalization of the registry offices.

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HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS IN THE AMAZON: CONFLICT AND VIOLENCE IN THE STATE OF PARÁ

Annexes

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Annex I
LEADERS OF SOCIAL MOVEMENTS AND OTHER
ORGANIZATIONS MURDERED IN THE STATE OF PARÁ
MUNICIPALITY NAME DATE LEGAL PROCEDURE

01. São Geraldo Araguaia Raimundo Ferreira Lima – Trade Unionist 1980 Not brought to court
02. Marabá Gabriel Sales Pimenta – Lawyers 1982 Procedure ongoing
for 23 years
03. Tomé-Açu Benedito Alves Bandeira – Trade Unionist 08.07.1984 No information on the case
04. Eldorado do Carajás Sister Adelaide Molinari – Missionary 02.05.1985 Only the gunman was tried
and then aquitted 19 years
after the crime
05. Rio Maria João Canuto de Oliveira – Trade Unionist 18.12.1985 Masterminds convicted and
sentenced to 18 years,
but still at large
06. Belém Paulo Fonteles de Lima – Lawyer and 1987
former congressman
07. Rio Maria Expedito Ribeiro de Souza – 02.02.1991 Gunman convicted and
Trade Unionist sentenced, but still at large.
The mastermind of the crime
convicted and sentenced to
house arrest
08. Eldorado do Carajás Arnaldo Delcídio Ferreira – 01.05.1993 Procedure ongoing for
Trade Unionist 12 years
09. Eldorado do Carajás Antônio Telles – Trade Unionist 02.10.1994 Procedure ongoing for 7 years
10. Mãe do Rio Reijane Guimarães – Trade Unionist 1995 No information
–Member of women’s movment
11. Parauapebas Onalício Barros e Valentim Serra – 26.03.98 Procedure ongoing for 8 years
Leader of Landless Workers Movement
12. Parauapebas Euclides Francisco Paulo 26.09.1999 Only the gunman has been
convicted and sentenced and
is doing time
13. Rondon do Pará José Dutra da Costa (Dezinho) 21.11.2000 Procedure ongoing for
– Trade Unionist 5 years
14. Marabá José Pinheiro Lima – Trade Unionist 09.07.2001 Procedure ongoing for 4 years
15. Altamira Ademir Alfeu Federicci (Dema) 30.08.2001 Procedure ongoing for 4 years
– Trade Unionist
16. Altamira Bartolomeu Morais da Silva (Brasília) 21.07.2002 Procedure ongoing for 3 years
– Trade Unionist
17. Afuá Osvaldino Viana de Almeida (Profeta) 20.10.2002 No information available
– Trade Unionist
18. Santarém José Orlando de Souza – Trade Unionist 03.05.2003 No information available
19. Rondon do Pará Ribamar Francisco dos Santos 06.02.2004 Investigation not concluded
– Trade Unionist
20. Anapu Sister Dorothy Mae Stang – Missionary 12.02.2005 Procedure ongoing
Source: Pastoral Land Commission in Pará.

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Annex II

PEOPLE THREATENED WITH DEATH IN THE STATE OF PARÁ


LOCATION OR TYPE MOVEMENT /
VICTIM MUNICIPALITY SITUATION
OF CONFLICT CATEGORY
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01. Riozinho Raimundo Deumiro Leader of a riverine Altamira/ Bannach/ Threatened after protesting
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Settlement de Lima dos Santos community Ourilândia in favor of the creation of
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the reserve.
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02. Riozinho Benedito Freire Leader Altamira/ Bannach/ As above.
Settlement Ourilândia
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03. Riozinho Raimundo Pereira Leader Altamira/ Bannach/ As above.
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Settlement do Nascimento Ourilândia
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04. Riozinho Dionísio Pereira Leader Altamira/ Bannach/ As above.
Settlement Ourilândia
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05. Boa Sorte / Ednalva Rodrigues Leader Parauapebas Threatened by the landowner,
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Boa Vista Farm Araújo Valdemar Camilo, after leading
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the occupation of the farm.
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06. Regional Sebastião Alves de FETAGRI’s Marabá Coordinates the settlements
FETAGRI Sousa. Secretary for in the region and for
Agrarian Policy this reason is receiving
threats.
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07. Bom Jardim José Agrício da Landless worker São Félix do Xingu
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Farm Silva
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08. Bom Jardim Filhos de José Landless worker São Félix do Xingu
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Farm Agrício
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09. Bom Jardim Raimundo Vicente Landless worker São Félix do Xingu
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Farm da Silva
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10. Bom Jardim Tereza Ferreira da Landless worker São Félix do Xingu
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Farm Silva
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11. Bom Jardim Gilson José da Silva Landless worker São Félix do Xingu
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Farm
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12. Regional Francisco de Assis Regional Marabá Threatened by the
FETAGRI office Solidade da Costa coordenador landowners in the region,
due to heavy involvement
in the occupation of large
farms in the region.
Considered at risk.

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HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS IN THE AMAZON: CONFLICT AND VIOLENCE IN THE STATE OF PARÁ

LOCATION OR TYPE MOVEMENT /


VICTIM MUNICIPALITY SITUATION
OF CONFLICT CATEGORY
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13. Gleba Curuá Ivanilde Maria Rural worker Novo Progresso Sister of Adilson Prestes,
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Prestes Alves murdered in Novo
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Progresso for denouncing
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grileiros and loggers in the
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region. Has received
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threats.
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14. Vale do Genival Soares Leader Paragominas
Jurupi/Colônia dos Santos
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Providência
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15. Vale do Jurupi/ Raimundinho Leader Paragominas
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Colônia
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Providência
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16. Rural Workers Maria Joel Dias da President of the Rondon do Pará Widow of Trade Unionist
Union Costa Rural workers José Dutra da Costa,
Union murdered in 2000. Despite
being under police
protection continues to
receive threats.
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17. Rural Workers José Soares de President of the Abel Figueiredo Was subject to an attempted
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Union Brito Rural workers’ kidnapping when he was a
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Union Trade Unionist in Rondon
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do Pará. Has rereceived
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continual threats. Conside-
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red at risk.
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18. Rural Workers Antonio Gomes President of the Marabá Has received death threats
Union Rural workers’ as a result of heavy
Union involvement in landless
people settlements. Consi-
dered to be at risk.
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19. Praia Alta Maria do Espírito President of the Nova Ipixuna Has received continual
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Piranheira Agro- Santo Residents’ death threats from
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extractivist Association landowners and loggers in
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Settlement Plan the region. Considered at
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risk.
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20. Rural Workers Cordiolino José de Director of Rural Rondon do Pará Threatened by landowners
Union Andrade Workers Union due to heavy involvement
in landless people
settlements.

174
HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS IN THE AMAZON: CONFLICT AND VIOLENCE IN THE STATE OF PARÁ

LOCATION OR TYPE MOVEMENT /


VICTIM MUNICIPALITY SITUATION
OF CONFLICT CATEGORY
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21. Rural Workers Geraldo Soares Director of Rural Rondon do Pará Threatened by landowners
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Union Fernandes Workers Union due to heavy involvement in
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landless people settlements
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in the region.
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22. Creation of Tarcisio Feitosa da Pastoral worker Altamira Devoted to the sttrugle for
extractive reserves Silva the creation and
in Terra do Meio maintenance of forestal
reserves in the Altamira
region. Has received threats.
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23. Rural Workers Carmelita Felix da Director of Rural Parauapebas Threatened as a result of his
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Union Silva work alongisde rural
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workers in the municipality.
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24. Rural Workers Sandra Barbosa Settler Parauapebas She led the camping of
Union Sena landless families in the
Tapete Verde Farm. Has
received threats.
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25. Sister of the Maria de Fátima Sister of Victim Castelo dos sonhos Has received continual
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murdered trade Moreira – Altamira threats due to her work
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unionist Brasília seeking justice for the as-
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sassination of her brother.
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Considered at risk.
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26. PDS Cícero Pinto da Cruz Witness to the Anapu Was included in the
Esperança murder of Sister PROVITA, witness protecti-
Dorothy Stang on program.
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27. PDS Geraldo Margela de Agricultural Anapu One of the witnesses to the
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Esperança Almeida Filho technician murder of Sister Dorothy
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Stang. Considered to be at risk.
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28. PDS J. L. S. Witness to the Anapu Witness to the murder of
Esperança (53 years-old). murder of Sister Sister Dorothy Stang.
Dorothy Stang
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29. PDS in Anapu Francisco de Assis President of the Anapu Under Police protection.
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dos Santos Souza Rural workers’
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Union
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30. PDS in Anapu Gabriel de Moura Vice-President of Anapu Threatened due to his
the Rural workers’ work ahead of the STR
Union (STR) and for his support to
farmers within the PDSs.

175
HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS IN THE AMAZON: CONFLICT AND VIOLENCE IN THE STATE OF PARÁ

LOCATION OR TYPE MOVEMENT /


VICTIM MUNICIPALITY SITUATION
OF CONFLICT CATEGORY
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31. PDS Father Amaro Lopes Agente de pastoral Anapu Lives under constant threat. Did
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de Souza not accept ostensive security
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and demands security through
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investigation of the threats.
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32. Verde para Idalino Nunes Assis President of the Porto de Moz One of the main leaders in the
Sempre Extractive Rural workers’ sttrugle for the creation of the
Reserve Union Extractive Reserve Verde
para Sempre in Porto de
Moz. Has received continual
threats and is at risk.
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33. Verde para Adenei Gemaque CPT worker Porto de Moz Has received many threats in
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Sempre Extractive Leal 2002 and 2003 due to his work
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Reserve for the creation of the Extractive
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Reserve. These threats cooled
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down in the last two years.
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34. Murder of Antonio Ferreira de Witness Castelo dos Threatened because he is
trade unionist Almeida Silva Sonhos – Altamira one of the main witnesses in
Brasília the case of the assassination
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of trade unionist Brasília.
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35. Conflicts in the Raimundo Nonato Leader of the Castanhal
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Mãe do Rio dos Santos, known Landless people
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municipality as “Índio” movement
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36. Carajás Raimundo Nonato Leader Parauapebas Led the encampment in the
Encampment Costa Silva, known Pampulha Farm. Threated
as “Italiano” by the landowners of the
región. Considered at risk.
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37. Encampment Manoel Leader Rondon do Pará Leader of the encampment.
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in the Santa Has received continual
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Mônica Farm threats. Considered at risk.
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38. Viver e Antonia Melo Leader Altamira Has received threats due to
Preservar da Silva his work for the creation of
Movement environmental reserves in
the Altamira region.
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39. Verde para Claudio Wilson Leader Porto de Moz Has received heavy
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Sempre Extractive Soares Barbosa threats in 2002; these
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Reserve threats have cooled
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down in the last two
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years.
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176
HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS IN THE AMAZON: CONFLICT AND VIOLENCE IN THE STATE OF PARÁ

LOCATION OR TYPE MOVEMENT /


VICTIM MUNICIPALITY SITUATION
OF CONFLICT CATEGORY

40. Praia Alta José Claudio Leader Nova Ipixuna Has received continual
Piranheira Agro- Ribeiro da Silva threats from landowners and
extractivist loggers in that municipality,
settlement who disagree with the Settle-
ment. Considered at risk.
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Leader of the Landless
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41. Conflict in Odino Ferreira da Landless worker Anapu Workers Movement. Has
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12345678901234567890123456789012123456789012345678901234567890121234567890123456789012345678901212345678901234567
Gleba Mandaquari Conceição received threats.
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Is under police protection.
42. Human Frei Henri des Missionary Xinguara Has been threatened for
rights defender Reziers several years by landowners
in the region.
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43. Conflicts in Elias Pereira de Leader Anapu Has received threats.
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Anapu Sousa Receives minor protection
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from the National Program for
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the Protection of Human
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Rights Defenders.
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44. Conflicts in Eloina Estevão de Leader Anapu Has received threats.
Anapu Araujo (Maria) Receives minor protection
from the National Program for
the Protection of Human
Rights Defenders.
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45. Information Deurival Xavier Leader Pacajá Has received threats.
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not available Santiago. Receives minor protection
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from the National Program for
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the Protection of Human
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Rights Defenders.
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46. Conflicts in the Raimundo Paulino Leader Tucumã – Receives police protection. Has
Santa Clara Farm da Silva Ourilandia been threatened for
coordinating the processo f
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land occupations in the region.
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47. Conflict in the Sebastião Leader Marabá Threatened by gunmen
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Cosme e Damião Rodrigues de ordered by the landowner
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Farm Castro who had interests in the
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Farm. Considered at risk.
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48. 1º de março Maria Gorete Leader São João do Has received threats from
Settlement Barradas Araguaia groups linked to local
politicians who are against
agrarian reform.
Source: Pastoral Land Commission in Pará.

177
HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS IN THE AMAZON: CONFLICT AND VIOLENCE IN THE STATE OF PARÁ

178
HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS IN THE AMAZON: CONFLICT AND VIOLENCE IN THE STATE OF PARÁ

Annex III
EMPLOYERS FINED FOR MAKING USE OF SLAVE LABOR IN
THE STATE OF PARÁ (PORTARIA 540, 15 DE OCTOBER 2004)
NATIONAL IDENTIFICATION NUMBER OF MONTH /
EMPLOYER PROPERTY & LOCATION
NUMBER –(CNPJ/CPF/CEI)201 FREED WORKERS YEAR
Abdon Lustosa Neto 191.608.011-15 Fazenda Sossego, zona rural, 26 Decem-

Vicinal Tuerê – Novo Repartimento ber/2004


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Adauto José Galli 026.396.888-04 Fazenda Lago Azul – Rod PA 150, 107
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Decem-
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km 250, zona rural – Sapucaia
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ber/2004
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Adenilson Rodrigues 469.607.241-04 Fazenda Santa Rosa do Pará, zona 154 Decem-

da Silva rural – Cumaru do Norte ber/2004


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Afonso Vieira Simões 031.108.776-00 Fazenda Rancho Alegre, zona rural 42 Decem-
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– Ulianópolis
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ber/2004
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Agropal Agropecuária 04.995.650/0001-75 Fazenda Táxi Aéreo – Estrada Rio 49 Decem-

Palmeiras Ltda. Dourados, km 100, zona rural – ber/2004

Santa Maria das Barreiras


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Agropecuária Irmãos 31.541.907/0003-53 Fazenda Santa Leonina – Estrada 18
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Decem-
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Avelino Ltda. Banach, km 25, zona rural – Rio
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ber/2004
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Maria
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Agropecuária São 46.991.295/0001-06 Fazenda São Roberto, zona rural – 171 Decem-

Roberto S/A Santana do Araguaia ber/2004


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Agropecuária 15.320.781/0001-79 Fazenda Santa Fé – Rod. PA-150, 118
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November/
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Umuarama Ltda. s/n, zona rural – Parauapebas
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2004
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Aldo Pedreschi 015.279598-72 Fazenda Três Rios 8 July/2005
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Alexandre Luiciano 032.118.601-00 Fazenda Rancho da Prtata – BR 13 Decem-
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Santos Prata 010 – Vila Ligação – Dom Eliseu
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ber/2004
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Alsoni José Malinsky 008.369.312-20 Fazenda Cajazeira, zona rural – 41 Decem-

Município de São Félix do Xingu ber/2004


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Altamir Soares da Costa 031.091.351-91 Fazenda Macaúba – Estrada do 52 July/2005
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Rio Preto, km 152, Marabá
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Aluísio Alves de Sousa 054.909.523-34 Fazenda N.Sa. Aparecida, zona 37 Decem-

rural – Breu Branco ber/2004


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Alvany Dias Santana 062.451.881-72 Fazenda 5 Estrelas – Gleba Café, 13 Decem-
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Projeto Tartaruga, zona rural – ber/2004
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Marabá
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201
CNPJ = National Directory of Legal Entities Number (Cadastro Nacional de Pessoas Jurídicas); CPF = Taxpayer
Identification Number (Cadastro de Pessoas Físicas); CEI = Special Social Security Registry (Cadastro Especial no Insti-
tuto Nacional de Previdência Social).

179
HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS IN THE AMAZON: CONFLICT AND VIOLENCE IN THE STATE OF PARÁ

NATIONAL IDENTIFICATION NUMBER OF MONTH /


EMPLOYER PROPERTY & LOCATION
NUMBER –(CNPJ/CPF/CEI) FREED WORKERS YEAR

Antônio Barbosa de Melo 112.050.246-20 Fazendas Alvorada – 30km Rod PA 20 June/

279, entre Água Azul e Ourilândia do 2004

Norte
Fazenda Araguari – Rod PA 150, Xin-
guara e Povoado de Gogó da Onça
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Antônio Luiz Fuchtel 138.445.129-34 Fazenda Rio da Prata – Santana do 169 June/
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Araguaia 2004
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ATS Serviços LTDA 01.646.204-0001-67 Fazenda Pau Pelado – Estrada do 16 Decem-

Rio Preto, km 248, zona rural – ber/2004

Itupiranga
Fazenda Tuere – Folha 10, Quadra 127 November/

11, Lote 25 – Nova Marabá 2003


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Azis Mutran Neto 001.149.102-78 Fazenda Mutamba – Rod PA 150, 48
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November/
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km 21, zona rural – Marabá
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2003

Carlos Gilberto 061.129.601-25 Fazenda Olivence – Rod PA 275, km 12 Decem-

de Oliveira Barreto 40 – Curionópolis ber/2004


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Carmo Guimarães Giffone 036.642.871-34 Fazenda Acapulco – Rod PA 270, km 62
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November/
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49 – Xinguara
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2003

Constantino de Oliveira 069.745.541-68 Fazenda Colorado – Rod PA 275, km 17 July/2005

Guimarães 50, Curionópolis


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Clemente Duarte Ferreira 009.507.346-91 Fazenda Esmeralda – Estrada 16 Decem-
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Bannach, km 50 – Bannach
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ber/2004

Dalva Navarros 792.342.759-34 Fazenda São Miguel – estrada Rio 1 June/

Capim, km 100 – Paragominas 2004


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Delvar Amâncio de Araújo 037678.766-04 Fazenda Ponta da Serra – Estrada 32 Decem-
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do Rio Preto – km 131 – Marabá
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ber/2004

Divino Andrade Vieira 167.833.442-15 Fazenda Santa Luzia Tuerê II – 52 November/

Marabá 2003
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November/
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Ediones Bannach 257.411.529-53 Fazenda 5 Irmãos – Bannach 77
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2003
Eurélio Piazza 107.517.509-72 Fazenda Diadema IV ou Fazenda 18 November/

Surucucu – Gleba Marabá, zona ru- 2003

ral – Água do Norte


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Eutímo Lippaus 117.813.007-04 Fazenda 1200 (Fazenda Boa Fé) – 36 November/
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Rod. PA 279, km 145 – Gleba 2003
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Luciana, zona rural – Ourilândia do
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Norte
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Fernando Dellacqua e 035.973.507-04 Fazenda Baunilha – Rodovia BR 16 July/2005

José Roberto Dellacqua 243.973.507-04 222, km 8,5 – estrada do Jacuzinho,


km 48 – Rondon do Pará

180
HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS IN THE AMAZON: CONFLICT AND VIOLENCE IN THE STATE OF PARÁ

NATIONAL IDENTIFICATION NUMBER OF MONTH /


EMPLOYER PROPERTY & LOCATION
NUMBER –(CNPJ/CPF/CEI) FREED WORKERS YEAR
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November/
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Fernando Luiz Quagliato 013.401.828-15 Fazenda Rio Vermelho – Xinguara 167
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2003
Francisco Donato Linhares 142.680.863-15 Zona rural do município de São Félix 60 November/
de Araújo Filho do Xingu 2003
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Geraldo José Ribeiro 036.908.651-15 Fazenda Boa Esperança – São Félix 4
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July/2005
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do Xingu
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Haroldo Vieira Passarinho 090.656.952-49 Agropecuária Maciel II – Tucumã 152 June/2004
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Humbero Rubens 164.968.094-53 Fazenda Ouro Verde – Estrada 43
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November/
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Cansanção Filho Sapucaia/Pontão, km 08, zona rural
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2003
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– Xinguara
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November/
Iolandes Bannach 108.353.429-72 Fazenda 03, zona rural – Bannach 26
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2003
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Jairo Carlos Borges 003.552.755-20 Fazenda Ouro Preto – Vicinal Tuerê, 27 November/
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km 32 – Novo Repartimento
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2003
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Fazenda Ouro Preto – Vicinal Tuerê, 18
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June/2004
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km 32 – Novo Repartimento
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Jairo de Andrade 152.415.306-06 Fazenda Forkilha – Rod. Rdedenção/ 97 November/
Santana do Araguaia, km 80, mais 2003
14 km à esquerda – Santa Maria das
Barreiras
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Jesus Batista Ferreira 069.135.201-15 Fazenda Franciscana – Água Azul do 13 November/
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Norte
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2003
João Batista Lopes 048.978.032-68 Fazenda Lorena – Rod PA 150, km 16 Decem-
35 – Marabá
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ber/2004
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João Pereira Rocha 099.639.526-15 Fazenda Rolimaq – Estrada Tupanci, 13
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Decem-
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distante 25 km da PA 279 – Água ber/2004
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Azul do Norte
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José Braz da Silva 034.895.906-00 Fazenda Boa Esperança – ET VS 10 June/2004
45,8 – Ent.44 – Canaã
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José Carlos dos Santos 862.707.961-72 Fazenda Bela Vista – Terra do Meio, 19 July/2005
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zona rural – Altamira
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José Cristino Souza 04.863.478/0001-04 Agropecuária Mirandopolis S.A – 33 Decem-
CPF 003.107.601-78 Fazenda Mirandopolis – Rod BR 158, ber/2004
km 180, Sta Maria das Barreiras
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José Ribamar Oliveria 061.525.381-49 Fazenda Consolação – Rod OP 03, 58 June/2004
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km 20 – Brejo Grande do Araguaia
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José Humberto de Oliveira 217.768.491-91 Fazenda Palmar – Rod. PA 257, Km 20 November/
16, zona rural – Curionópolis 2003
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José Rodrigues Alves 026.849.501-72 Fazenda São Lourenço, zona rural 20 Decem-
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500.047.41578.8 – Santa Maria das Barreiras
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ber/2004

181
HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS IN THE AMAZON: CONFLICT AND VIOLENCE IN THE STATE OF PARÁ

NATIONAL IDENTIFICATION NUMBER OF MONTH /


EMPLOYER PROPERTY & LOCATION
NUMBER –(CNPJ/CPF/CEI) FREED WORKERS YEAR

José Silva Barros 095.339.582-00 Fazenda Vale do Rio Fresco, zona 261 Decem-

rural – Cumaru do Norte ber/2004


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José Vaz da Costa 017.670.891-04 Fazenda Nsa. Aparecida, zona 90 November/
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rural – Rio Maria
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2003

Juliano Heringer Branco 958.964.303-53 Fazenda Herança – Goainésia 6 July/2005


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Lázaro José Veloso 007.941.806-63 Fazenda São Luiz, zona rural – 3 June/2004
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Parauapebas
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Lima Araújo Agropecuária 41.183.740/0001-98 Fazenda Estrela de Maceió, zona 59 November/

Ltda rural – Piçarra 2003

Fazenda Estrela de Maceió, zona 60 November/

rural – Piçarra 2003


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Luiz Antônio Zapparoli 026.574.558-67 Fazenda São Luiz – Ourilândia do 14 Decem-
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Sacarelli Norte
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ber/2004
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Manoel Porfírio dos Santos 148.742.707-78 Fazenda Paraíso – Rod PA-150 15 Decem-

Vicinal da Cikel – Goianésia ber/2004


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Manoel José de 044.320.523-91 M.José Carvalho ME – Furo dos 19 Decem-
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Carvalho ME 15.74955/0001-13 Poros, s/n – Afuá
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ber/2004

Marcos Antônio Eleutério 967.616.821-34 Fazenda Gurupá – Estrada da 15 June/2004

Neto União, Gleba Xincrim, Zona rural


de água Azul do Norte
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November/
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Miguel Vieira Messias 089.536.515-49 Fazenda Boca Quente – Bannach 13
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2003
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Milton Alonso 363.085.958-53 Fazenda Dona Francisca – Zona 25 November/

rural do Município de São Félix 2003

do Xingu
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Newton Cunha Lemos 787.054.878-20 Fazenda Marajaí – Rod PA 150, 64 November/
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& Outros km 70 – Xinguara
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2003

Olavio da Silva 090.345.106-97 Fazenda Selva de Pedra – Vicinal 6 July/2005

do Gelado, km 21, Novo Reparti-


mento
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Pecuária Rio Largo Ltda 08.156.226/0005-11 Fazenda Rio Dourado, s/n, mar- 54
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June/2004
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gem direita do Rio Fresco, zona
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rural – Cumaru do Norte
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Pedro Lopes Lima 018.614.921-20 Fazenda Pai Eterno, zona rural – 77 November/

São Félix do Xingu 2003


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Roberto Castanheira de 619.715.706-30 Fazenda Ribeirão Bonito – Rod. 23
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November/
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Oliveira Silva Transamazônica, km 105 – Novo
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2003
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Repartimento
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Romar Divino Montes 242.084.931-00 Fazenda Vale do Paraíso II, zona 15 June/2004

rural – Curionópolis

182
HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS IN THE AMAZON: CONFLICT AND VIOLENCE IN THE STATE OF PARÁ

NATIONAL IDENTIFICATION NUMBER OF MONTH /


EMPLOYER PROPERTY & LOCATION
NUMBER –(CNPJ/CPF/CEI) FREED WORKERS YEAR
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Ronaldo Ferreira Melo 667.240.312-49 Fazenda Pau Pelado, Estrada do Rio 42 Decem-
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Preto, km 248, zona rural, Itupiran- ber/2004
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gaba
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Roque Quagliato 013.402.128-20 Fazenda Colorado, zona rural de 81 November/

Xinguara 2003
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Sandra Nancy de 243.997.411-15 Fazenda Buriti II – Estrada da 27 November/
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Souza Cunha Canopus, Gleba Rio Pardo, zona ru- 2003
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ral – Altamira
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Santa Ana – Agropecuária 05.157.428/0001-01 Fazenda Santa Ana, zona rural – 99 Decem-

e Industrial S/A Cumaru do Norte ber/2004


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Senor Ltda 06.266.209/0003-40 Fazenda Senor – Rod BR 222, km 153 November/
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21, zona rural – Dom Elizeu 2003
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Túlio Paiva Gomes 096.009.811-91 Fazenda Santa Maria – Rodovia BR 11 Decem-

50.004.42.008.82 158, Santa Maria das Barreiras ber/2004


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Vale Bonito Agropecuária S/A 01.794.428/0001-16 Rod PA 150, à direita, km 40 – 88 November/
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Xinguara 2003
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Wanderlei Dias Vieria 375.721.481-15 Fazenda Estância do Pontal – Estra- 11 Decem-

da da Central, próximo a Pontalina ber/2004

– São Félix do Xingu


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Wilson Ferreira da Rocha 451.263.137-20 Fazenda Califórnia Rod PA 150, km 26 Decem-
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142, zona rural – São Félix do Xingu ber/2004
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Wilson Moreira Torres 087.141.342-68 Fazenda Rio Lages – Estrada Ímpar, 27 November/

km115, zona rural – Goianésia 2003


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Yashuhide Watanabe 105.575.552-72 Fazenda Pindará – Estrada 42 June/2004
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Marajoara, margem direita, km 08 –
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Dom Elizeu
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Z.G. Ferreira Agropecuária 03.501.470/0001-27 Fazenda Madrugada – Redenção 74 Decem-

ber/2004

Source: Ministry of Labor and Employment – Mobile Inspection Group (list updated on 15 September 2005)

183