Press Release, in response to the Tragedy at Brumadinho/Minas Gerais, Brazil.
(Harare, January 28, 2019) Last Friday, 25th of January 2019, we witnessed a grave environmental and social crime caused by on the largest mining companies in the world. The “Corrego do Feijão” dam of the Vale S.A mining company had breached, releasing more than 14 million cubic meters of toxic mining waste across the region of Brumadinho in Minas Gerais. Latest reports confirm 58 people as dead and an estimated 300 still missing.
La Via Campesina stands in solidarity with the affected families and asserts its full support for the organized struggle of social movements, in this sad moment in Brazilian history. We call for the organizing of affected families to guarantee their rights. We demand an end to the impunity of the corporations that violate rights and threaten the lives of humanity and common goods. We affirm with urgency that the affected families must be heard, to begin the process of reparations and restitution.
For many decades, we as Via Campesina have denounced corporate impunity both at the global level as well as their actions in our territories. In 2015, Vale S.A. was also responsible for the destruction of the entire watershed of the Doce river and both banks of its shoreline; but Vale continues to operate with total impunity.
It demonstrates the lack of action on the part of the State and thereby disregarding its obligation to protect the people. This tragedy also represents a system of destruction and exploitation of people and the environment and of biological diversity; it is a system that takes over fertile land to promote a savage form of capitalism. The small-scale family farmers and farmworkers of La Via Campesina continue to strongly denounce the consequences of this model of exploitation and death.
We call upon the Brazilian government to give adequate attention to the victims and to make the company, and its directors and managers, responsible for this grave crime. At the same time, we call upon Brazilian society to support the organized grassroots social movements, so that disasters like the ones at Mariana y Brumadinho are never again repeated.
Globalize the struggle, globalize hope!
La Via Campesina
For interviews in Brazil, please contact: Maria Julia Andrade –Movimiento por la Soberanía popular en la Minería, MAM: +55 31 85117347 – or- Tchenna Maso – Movimiento de los Afectados por las Represas, MAB: +55 27 995203101