January 30, 2017

Brazil: As Guarani Celebrate Victory for Land Rights, Danger Lurks in Mato Grosso do Sul

Photo courtesy of Maurício Carvalho/ISA

After a series of attacks and threats of eviction over the past weeks in the State of Mato Grosso do Sul, Guarani indigenous communities in the neighbouring state of São Paulo have a victory to celebrate. According to an article published by the Instituto Socioambiental (ISA) on 30 January 2017, the indigenous territory of Pindoty/Araçá-mirim has finally been officially identified by the FUNAI – the federal agency in charge of indigenous land demarcations. A study identifying an indigenous land is the first of three crucial steps in order to properly demarcate an indigenous territory. Even being a first step, this development is greeted as a victory, as the demarcation of indigenous land has come to a virtual halt over the last decade.

The same day, however, less celebratory news comes from Mato Grosso do Sul. Deputies allied to agribusiness interests have done yet another attempt to undermine the cause and the credibility of the Aty Guasu – the general assembly of Guarani-Kaiowá leaders which UNPO visited in December 2016. The “Forum of Chiefs” (FOCAMS), an organisation that was created with the help of anti-indigenous ruralist politicians, falsely claimed endorsement of their activities by the Aty Guasu assembly. The assembly released a statement – published by the Conselho Indigenista Missionário (CIMI) denouncing any use of their name by FOCAMS. This attempt to cause confusion and division within the indigenous movement comes as a warning to remain vigilant for the Aty Guasu.

The full article published by ISA (in Portuguese) can be found here.

The full statement published by CIMI (in Portuguese) can be found here.