- Stéfano Santagada
The recent disclosure of a letter from Guaraní Indians-Kaiowás, interpreted as a threat of mass suicide, it was not the first controversy involving representatives of the tribe. Before you publish to social networks the text that CITES “collective demise” of the Indians before an alleged judicial determination to leave an area in Mato Grosso do Sul, the Kaiowás joined protests in other Brazilian States.
Last week, the Indians were in Sao Paulo and Altamira (PA)-about 3 thousand miles of Mato Grosso do Sul-, protesting against the construction of the Belo Monte hydroelectric plant. On March 19, participated in the Act on the Esplanade of the ministries, in Brasilia, in favour of indigenous peoples.
The regional coordinator of the indigenous missionary Council (Cimi) in the State, Flávio Vicente Machado says that there are “joint” between indigenous leaders for the Organization of these acts. According to him, the offsets are funded from its own resources and, in some cases, by the organizers of the events.
The latest and most public manifestation was echoing against the repossession of an area occupied by Kaiowás in Iguatemi (450 miles from Campo Grande), played with farmers since 2002. In the letter, they said that the eviction of the residents of the village would decree the death of 170 Indians, including 70 children.
The announcement of the injunction was made last week, but last Friday, the Justice due explained that the decision is to maintain possession, and reintegration. In other words, the Indians may remain in the area while the issue is not resolved.
The situation, however, drew attention to conflicts involving ethnic Guarani-Kaiowás, the second-largest indigenous group from Brazil. According to the National Indian Foundation (Funai), are about 45 thousand people of ethnicity scattered in small areas, mainly in the southern state of Mato Grosso do Sul.
According to Funai, the dispute in Kue Pyelito “is not an isolated case”. “Gurani-Kaiowá Communities throughout the region are facing serious problems and threats to life,” said reporters without borders, in a statement.
For Flávio Hafiez, the constant conflicts over land between Indians and farmers have caused the increase of violence in communities. “The situation has reached this point due to the omission of the Brazilian State. The Charter (community Pyelito Kue) brings the desire of an entire people, a people who are being murdered by the omission from the Government, “he says. “The executioners of the Indians are in Mato Grosso do Sul and in Brasília”, concludes.
As Cimi, studies show that people lived in the region until the Decade of 1920, when the agricultural expansion began to expel the local Indians. The process was accentuated approximately 40 years, with the introduction of soybean crops in the locality. “There’s extensive documentation that proves the historical occupation of this region by Kaiowás”, says M.
For him, since then, there has been a “confinement” of Indians in small communities. According to the Coordinator, the resumption of land by the indigenous communities started only in the late 1980. Since then, however, there was a sharp increase in the number of killings of leaders and conflicts between Indians and farmers.
“The State of Mato Grosso do Sul is rich, and our situation is of violence and insecurity. We are just fighting for our right. Our future is in our land and the Government has to respect our space. It is for this that we fight, “says Assemblyman Bob Ricardo (EN), Hidden City (MS), Board member of Aty Guasu, representing the Guarani-Kaiowás.
In a manifesto published by social networks, Aty Guasu says that ethnicity is in the process of “genocide”. “These facts lead the Indians to the State of despair and fear. So, think of resist and react to die all together, “said the group.
Suicides Faced with the impact of the Charter of the community Pyelito Kue, organisations and indigenous leaders have denied that the text announces a “collective suicide”. According to Bob Alderman, the message was misinterpreted by the population. “It is not true. That isn’t going to happen. Suicide is a very heavy for us, “he said.
In a statement, the Aty Guasu also refuted the rumors. “The Kaiowás talk of collective death in the context of the struggle for land, i.e. If the Justice and the gunmen hired by ranchers insist on removing them from their traditional lands, are willing to die all in it, without ever abandoning them.”
Despite the negatives, the suicides have become common practice in Kaiowás communities. According to data from the Cimi, each week a young ethnic takes his own life-in the last three decades were more than 1.5 thousand cases. Report of the United Nations (UN) released in 2010 says that the rate of deaths among Kaiowás type was 19 times greater than the national average in the past decade. Most of the cases occurred among young people ages 15 to 29 years.
Even with the high level, the Coordinator of the Ccme in the region says that suicide is not a feature of the indigenous group. “There is cultural, there are no records that in anthropology,” he says. According to him, the cases are a consequence of the “lack of perspective to live in own territory”.