Xavantes, invaders and the rule of law



20.12.2012 13:53

Xavantes, invaders and the rule of law


by Felipe Martinez


One of the biggest law enforcement operations ever conducted in the Brazilian Amazon began on Sunday 9 December. In recent days, managed to undermine local resistance and resume to the wealth of the Union about 50 farms occupied illegally. It is an indigenous land invaded, that is approved by the Presidency of the Republic and guaranteed by repeated judgments (first instance, appeal and the Supreme Court).

The Court determined the possession, but lacked the fulfilment of the order. In the field, was established a territorial and ecological conflict between an indigenous people, the Xavante (uwê Uptabi, ‘ in its name), and the agrarian structure that goes in search of new lands, formed by small farmers, squatters, large farmers, professional politicians, and large economic interests of agribusiness. Up for grabs are 165 thousand hectares of land, of which 110 thousand were Amazon forest coverage and 20 thousand of cerrado. Today, according to Funai, more than 60% turned into pasture and soybean, and one-third is controlled by 22 “big houses” that do not allow interference in their business.

Caetano Veloso, on his last album, sings that “the rule of law”, and in an analogy we can say that “there are arriving in the heart of Mato Grosso, to get there”. The offset of this Empire to fulfill the law occurs with more force: armed forces, National Strength, Federal Police, Federal Highway police, and a coordinated bureaucratic apparatus by the Presidency of the Republic, which involves, among 12 bodies, the Incra and Funai. And the resistance to it uses broad methods: political pressures in the legislative, Executive, judiciary, media. And also the cruel: death threats, blood, war, and racism and intolerance. “Politics is war by other means,” said the philosopher Michel Foucault.

Ask a xavante from Marãiwatséde about the recent decision of the Supreme Court, in which Joaquim Barbosa, confirmed the decision in December, Ayres Britto, October, while he was President of the Supreme, in which suspended an injunction that prevented the withdrawal of the invaders. Or about the demonstrations in Rio + 20. He will say that we need to understand his return to the region in 2004, the approval of the 1998 international denunciations of their oppression in 1992, the Eco92 and, without going into their long millennial ethnohistory, of conflicts and in the Northeast at the time Europeans arrived and villages in Goiás, already in the 18th century, or in the first peaceful contact with the colonizers in 1960, and you will arrive to the month of August of the year of 1966: key date in order to understand what is happening today.

Who first felt the State power in the Araguaia region were not farmers, but the ‘ uwê Uptabi. In 1966, 233 men and women xavantes embarked on the BAF aircraft bound for a Catholic mission 450 kilometers south in the State of Mato Grosso. The territory they had held so close to the newly created Park of Xingu (1961), had been left out of the indigenous protection by Jânio Quadros, which excluded all xavantes areas appearing in the first projects presented by the Villas Bôas brothers, Darcy Ribeiro, Noel Nutels and Eduardo Galvão. The Earth was greed of large object farmers and squatters Sao Paulo, led by Ariosto of Riva, a “colonizer” of São Paulo, and also by politicians pioneering cultivators. Until then “isolated”, or as “aloof”, the Xavante they refuted the hostile relationship with society that surrounded, and with the State. There remained the exchange of mutual violence, with the Indians attacking ranches, and the “whites” promoting “punitive expeditions” decimating villages, plus some food and material goods exchanges eventually peaceful.

A manager of Ariosto of Riva, who took care of the area at the time, claimed that the Indians were attending too the seat to grab machetes, axes and flours, and were giving injury. With the Indian Protection Service (SPI) decadent, wrapped in corruption scandals (would be phased out to make way for Funai in the following year), came the decision to “clear the area”.

The articulation to the eviction of this community was mobilized at the start of the dictatorship. Involved the army, the air force, the SPI, the Catholic Church, with Father Mario Panziera taking forward, local politicians, and the financing of Sudam (supervision of the development of the Amazon) to agribusiness. In the two weeks following the transfer, about two-thirds of the ‘ uwê Uptabi who had been displaced from their land died in the Salesian mission.

About the Indians dropped a chemical bomb known as measles. The number of deaths, around 160, it is not necessary. Among them was Ru ‘ waê. A Mr slim, tall, strong, which exercised an influential leadership over his people, though not absolute — so much so that voting was defeated and moved contradicted his claim to resist. Among the children who left are Paridzané (“Sharun”), and Ruwa ‘ wé (“Ruffino”).

The descendants of Ru ‘ waê never gave up the return. Rufinus was the Warrior, had United the Group internally, while Damian the politician that represented the community in front of whites. However, the same state that had shifted, acted to prevent this return. The earth went to Riva and transferred to Ometto. The Indians, appalled by what was happening, went on to occupy various lands xavante, who knew by historic ties. The farm became a Johan Missú (reference to two watercourses), Brazil’s largest ground, the scene of violence and object of value in the land market, and then marketed. Passed into the hands of Liquigas, succeeded to the Italian Agip Petroli, and there remained throughout the years 1980.

During this period, the ‘ uwê Uptabi followed a strenuous diaspora. Moved to the territory of Overflow, after Parabubue, Litters, and received exile, finally, in the land of a xavante group with which have old relationships of alliances: the big Chief Warodi (died 1988), of nearby Indian land Pimentel Barbosa, authorised the construction of village Bethlehem, existing to this day.

In the years 1970 and 1980, many Territories xavantes were demarcated in the State of Mato Grosso, which served as a refuge to Marãiwatséde. Excluded from its territory and weakened due to large die-offs that have suffered, and the exile and the diaspora to which they were subjected, failed to gather enough strength to reclaim the land. However, at no time are no longer considered A ‘ uwê Uptabi of Marãiwatséde, which came to cause conflicts for historical reasons with others Xavante. But nothing that would prevent a possible Alliance against the waradzu, or “white”: Siridiwê, Chief of Ethenhiritipá village, said that if you need to go to war to help Paridzané to defend Marãiwatséde, your people are ready. As well as all the xavantes indigenous lands have expressed solidarity with the struggle of Paridzané.

Then comes the end of the dictatorship, the Federal Constitution of 1988, and the Eco92 Conference, and the story of the relationship of the xavante with the State begins to change. It is during this period that occurs the main political approach with an international organization, which was fundamental to the history of resumed: the Italian Campagna Nord Sud, which operated from 1989 to 1992. Led by the Green parliamentary Alex Langer, the Organization fiscalizava the performance of Italian companies in the world. And the case of Agip on Xavante was exposed, causing great embarrassment. The mobilization involved the departure of Paridzané for Italy and in Italian newspapers. The visibility of the International Conference was seen as a hope for the xavante leader to attract attention to their case. Also so that he could have a new access to the institutions of the State, this time to benefit you with rights acquired in 1988. Wanted to return to Marãiwatsède and the demarcation of the land.

In June 10, 1992, during the Eco92, the Chairman of Agip Petrolli, Gabrieli Cagliari, stated that the company would return the land to the Xavante. The breath of hope to the Xavante in wonderful city has turned into a strong wind and turbulent in Mato Grosso: Brazilian subsidiary rebelled. Renato Grillo, local Manager of Saman Liquifarm farm-Missu, disagreed with the intentions of the Italian bosses, and went on to encourage the invasions. On June 16, wrote a letter to the Minister of Justice informed that 250 squatters had invaded the property that was being returned to the Indians. But they could not occupy all: maps indicated the locations for small, medium and large part, at least one third in the first, had another destination: the agribusiness. On November 30 the same company announced a land auction, organized by the Brazilian Company auctions, at Castro’s Hotel, in Goiania, featuring a poster with stamp of Bamerindus. In addition to the land, were also sold 14 thousand head of cattle.

In the middle of the forest, around the illegal gas station began to cluster inhabitants, the “Posto da Mata”, began a new use of racism to delegitimize the rights of Indians, on the verge of returning. Similar to racism perpetrated by Riva, Ometto and the military in 1966. The photographs of the time show a dusty Earth (it was the beginning of drought), and the longilíneos Amazonian stems with thick cups. A recording of the World Radio FM, June 20, 1992, starting at 3 p.m., describes the meeting of squatters and farmers and the deliberate invasion movement.

Some excerpts of audios reveal that one of the main strategies of the organizers of the invasion was to use the racism and hatred of Indians as a bonding tool:


First, Mazinho, a local politician:

-And if it is putífire in its natural environment have to arrange where to have virgin forest. How is that going to put ífire among the people?;

Then Chest, then-Mayor of San Felix’s Movement:

While the company was intact in respect to property. We have to respect the property to be respected;

The people of the regionãthe was worried about the return of theseíIndians;

If the populationintegrationthe saw fit that should take care of these lands to inviss dáthem to theíIndians, noohave to give this support to the people;

Is the proprio people that estwill be entering and demarcating their lands. Yetitwas passed the Scripture for íIndians;

(J)áwe talked to the Governor, to giveáall backed by the people;

This dislike of our people to the Xavanteisvery old;

The xavanteisaífire arrogant;

What jámarked the place first placeishim;

Nãthe has the mínima possibility of return of the Xavante. We are channeling the will of the people;

Nos nãthe wantíIndians here senãthe will devalue the entire regiãthe;

We talked to the Governor and he said that noãthe will send polícia, can stay quiet;

Filemon Chitalu Limoeiro, current Mayor of São Felix’s Araguaia, followed the speech:


Or nos or them, and prefer to be nos;

Today (the Earth) was going to be played atãthe ofíIndians;

Those that areãthe concerned with theífires, which have to be based, has a lot of país nãthe hasífire. Can lead half;

In Itália hasífire? Nisthe nismet. Leads! Leads to lwill! Carries prá lwill! Now, nisthe next play in nos nã. to disrupt a regiis;

If you placeífire here ends;

We help with truckãI have truckãthe to load them to lá. Here nisthe;

Ífire come cá and nisgoing to produce anything;

Who let thisárea here pro personnel who work either;

Xavanteiscerrado, kills it nãthe enters, afraid of onçthe

Bring theseíIndians will harm the regiãthe whole


Imagining yourself “free” of Indians, planned to build a “City” in Posto da Mata, a bandeirante de Ariosto of Riva. Riva was still alive at the time and, according to a voice on the radio, was happy with the possibility of “city of squatters” and the “progress”. “We will respect this area of the city because after will give problem”, ordered the leadership to squatters who arrived, self-assured urbanistic standards required. Some showed restrictions, asking if the Indians would not return, and return, which would make. But there is another, more tough guy, and says in tom which guarantees: “we already have a caboclo good Bom Jesus there already on the front lines there in Guanabara. I think we have to be willing to anything. The land is ours. Willing to anything. “

Boldly, the anthropologist Carlos Fernandez, engaged in the defence of the rights of Indians, and that signs the identification report for Funai, says on the same recording, with firm voice, that the area is in the process of being recognized. “It is a great mayor and irresponsibility of those who encouraged the occupation knowing that there is a process of recognition of indigenous land. Is irresponsible. Is a crime, “said she to the squatters.

Funai in 1991 and 1992 mobilised to demarcate Marãiwatséde, and the first steps are given in terms of the frontiersmen Sidney Possuelo and, as a result, Claudio Romero, this identified throughout his life with the xavante people. At the same time, the political power in the weapon’s resistance strategies which try to conquer. The anthropologist Carlos Fernandez presented the award with agility, the land is recognized by Funai demarcated in 1992 and in 1995.

In 1998 the Marãiwatséde indigenous land is approved, registered in the registry in the following year, without which no xavante can enter the area, occupied and guarded by more invaders. As the indigenous claim won more and more support from the federal Government, the illegal occupation was intensified. In late 2000, year after year, Marãiwatséde has been the most indigenous land deforested in the Amazon.

Led by Paridzané, the ‘ uwê Uptabi left exile in Pimentel Barbosa and departed in 2004, with warriors, old men, women and children, to retake the area. The conflict was established with squatters in a front marked by a stream, over six months. Three children died during this period. In August of that year, having at hand a favourable decision, even in a preliminary injunction, the STF Minister Ellen Gracie, the ‘ uwê Uptabi enter the first farm, Caru, and occupations in the vicinity. In 7 years acting almost on their own, only with support from local Funai and little-watched by the force of the State, managed to pick up less than 10% of the territory.

In 2010, the Federal Court confirmed the decision of first instance, favourable to the Xavante, in action that discussed the demarcation. The judiciary recognized the legality of the administrative procedure of demarcation of indigenous land and, consequently, the withdrawal of non-indigenous occupants and the recovery of degraded areas of YOU Marãiwatsédé. The decision ensured the full ownership of all indigenous land indigenous – and not just in the area of the village where they were.

However, the FEDERAL COURT has not determined the fulfilment of the order. As a technical note Funai clarifies: “after receiving in his office three representatives from a group of approximately 300 women in the movement, and two parliamentarians of the State of Mato Grosso, all who oppose the intrusion, the Federal Judge granted such a suspension order. Based on his understanding that “in the current itinfrastructuresthe exaltedroleof â(s) between those involved, the best solutionintegrationthe is maintain the status quo”. An eternal status quo of illegal occupation was requested.

At the end of 2012, the issue reached the Supreme. There was the definition of the Court, by the President Ayres Britto and then reconfirmed by the new, Joaquim Barbosa, determining it to be fulfilled the sentence, upheld by the Court of appeals, in which the “status quo” should have the legal meaning of legal order, not the order of opposing the right facts, i.e. the invasion.

That same year, Paridzané returned to Rio de Janeiro, now for the Rio + 20, and circulated both by UN official space, how much by the Summit of the peoples. It was aided by the Amazon Operation, an organization in support of indigenous peoples. Found personalities, politicians, appeared again in the media, and expos the drama and anguish of exile, pressure and threats. In one of the speeches, mentioned a few times the word death. Ending by saying that he wanted to die in Marãiwatséde.

The second half was intense. The Government has prepared a plan of intrusion, bringing together 12 agencies and coordinated by the General Secretariat of the Presidency. “The State, in case the federal Government, acting to support for that decision. This is what is happening. The Government of the President, this is an irreversible decision, “said Paulo Maldos, General Coordinator of the Working Group (click HERE to read).

The same political actors that have contributed to the invasion in 1992 reappeared. Mayor Ford, the squatters and farmers gathered in an association, large farmers, politicians, deputies, senators. Unlike local attorneys, the Association of rural producers of Johan Missú (Aprosum), hired the brother of influential Senator Katia Abreu, President of the National Agriculture Confederation (CNA) – Luis Alfredo Karlo de Abreu. The primary defense strategy became the victimization of squatters-an attempt to present a “status quo” of innocence, and glorifying an “agrarian reform” made “by the people”. As opposed to the “poor victim”, came the attack on the Indians, characterized by racist messages and attempts to dehumanize and desindigenizar the community.

In social networks, youth from Araguaia Muscat began to expose a feeling much like that exalted by his parents in 1992. However, camouflaged by the impersonality of social networks, were more aggressive: “LET’S FUDE with THESE MOTHERFUCKERS”, wrote one on Facebook. “I enter with weapons and ammunition,” commented another. The photo under discussion had to say: “will even let lazy Indians that 500 just sleep and eat our expense take the 7 thousand workers?” The small newspaper Bbnews announced a call: “up in arms: Ngos want to turn the Araguaia in Indian country”.

The national flag was burned, and the violence has been characterized by Ashgate, in recent weeks, security forces, the “rule of law”. A rivalry between the brothers Paridzané and Ruwa ‘ wé was fierce. Ruwa ‘ wé was expelled from the village and Funai was awkward in trying to promote peace in order to protect the community from external pressures. The invaders have put into practice the “strategy of China”, and with money and promise to some Indians, brought Ruwa ‘ wé to his side. So bitter, he went on to say contrary to the land for which he fought his entire life. The State Government offered, even though it is contrary to the Constitution, another land, a “barter”. Ruwa ‘ wé accepted the offer, a seductive flooded area that is the Parque Estadual do Araguaia. A conservation Park in exchange for an indigenous land is a transaction plausible in the rhetoric of those who see “Earth” as “the farm”, and “Indian” as “species”, being a “kind” can be “moved” to areas without any cultural sense with its existence.

Death threats are nearly to blows with Bishop Pedro Casaldáliga and with the xavante leader Damian Paridzané – in addition to the small producers who wanted to remove their belongings and move to a settlement and the prefect of Alto Boa Vista, Wanderley Perin. In the Gallery of the Senate, with a very busy by the rural lobby Congress, Senator Cidinho Fields (PR), suggested the dehumanization of the Indians: “Today we can say that, first, there are the rights of the Indians and then come the human rights”. The Pastoral Land Commission found “the manifestation of prejudice and hatred”. In a letter, saying: “all of this comes with an unbreathable climate and serious consequences not only for the Xavante people, but to society as a whole. Cause and exacerbate, every day, vengeful and violent hatred and blackmail. “

In the local press and on websites spoke in war, blood, resistance and a challenging and intimidating. Held locks, that spread in agrosolidariedade and agroaltruísmo, by the State. A team of newspaper Folha de s. Paulo was addressed in one of the locks inside of Mato Grosso, where listened: “people of NGOs we break”. The federal Government sent a large, effective and articulated the full force of the State, isolating the region controlling movement. Gradually, the resistance was undermining. “Diarrhea and dengue undermine the morale of residents of Posto da Mata” announced a local site.

First, dropped the large farmers. Then the mids. In the last balance sheet of Funai, on December 18, “41 inspected farms since the beginning of the intrusion until the end of the day yesterday (17) and, of these, 18 were vacated.”

With respect to small landholders, Funai, representing the whole group of Government, reports: “so far, the Incra already registered 183 families, 80 of which fit the profile. The resettled families receive a concession contract of land use, which is the first step to access to land and the initial credits. Also will be integrated with the Directory Only the federal Government and, through it, can access social programs such as Bolsa Família, Smiling, Brazil Brazil ‘s, among others. From Tuesday (18), will be held to change the first five families who registered in the agrarian reform program. They will be taken to St. Rita settlement, located in Ribeirão Cascalheira (MT). “

The first time I’ve been on Marãiwatséde, at the beginning of 2006, I figured it was in the Amazon. Not by any image of Savannah, located close by and originally present in 10% of the area. But the big empty. It was hard to find the “high forest”, “dangerous” forest, “dense forest”, as Paridzané translated for me the word seaisiwatsisof. I might be in the State of São Paulo and Minas Gerais, the areas now occupied by large agribusiness ventures, but that was all dominated by the extinct South Kayapo people in the 18th and 19th centuries (now imagines that the Panará, who lives in Mato Grosso, may be descended from a group of caiapó).

There was anxiety in the air. A feeling among Indians that the resumption was bound to happen because they were inside the ground and Paridzané described the parties that had already carried out there with great joy. But 17 children had died that year-and almost all of the Xavante, in mourning for losing a family member, had the long hair shaved. “Bridget”, as I was introduced to the mother of Paridzané, had more than 90 years, and included words that had told his son: “the spirit of his father is there in Marãiwatséde. I want to die in the land of Marãiwatséde. ” She hardly spoke, neither raises his wheelchair. Even so had managed to return, accompanied by the son. At the time, Paridzané told me: “She came along with us, resisted, fought, was encamped to enter alongside the warriors. Was the dream of her back. Since he arrived, never wanted to go to the hospital. Don’t want to leave. “

It was not enough to the will of the Indians, or the will of the farmers, to finally the anguish, be it from the Indians, either from unsafe possession squatters. It was necessary to any “force majeure”, a “rule of law” for the resolution of conflicts. And, mainly, to repair a historical injustice. The operation of ongoing intrusion, represents a new relationship between the State power with the Xavante, and second rate Paridzané in a letter disclosed by Federal prosecutors, it is “great”.

“Now the intrusion has already begun. The elders waited too long to take the non-Indians from the land. Have suffered a great deal. The whole life suffering, waiting to take the large farmers.

The federal law, the Constitution, the authorities are on our side. The authorities of the National Force, the army, the federal police are on our side because President Dilma knows that the Earth is the xavantes de Marãiwatsédé.

We would like to thank the authorities and all entities that support us in this fight for the truth against falsehood. The intrusion is great. “




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