La Via Campesina: “We speak out on behalf of those who defend lives, Marielle Franco is present with us”

“If you tremble with indignation at every injustice, then you are a comrade of mine”.


(Harare, 21 March 2018) La Via Campesina demands justice and calls for unified mobilisations in order to speak out against worldwide structural violence committed by capital. This is all against a background of growing fascism, coups, violent wars, a worrying decrease in democracy, the gradual withdrawal of historic rights, in addition to the string of murders and criminalising of social leaders who are committed to defending lives and natural resources.

On 14 March 2018, with a great deal of sorrow and indignation, La Via Campesina came to learn of the murder of comrade Marielle Franco. Marielle, also a friend of MST and a number of organisations within La Via Campesina Brazil, was a black activist who was very well known in the city of Rio de Janerio for her important work in protecting human rights and social equality – in a country where there is a questionable concentration and unfair distribution of wealth. Brazil is one of the countries that has had the most murders of social and environmental leaders (landless people, indigenous people, quilombolas, peasants, trade unionists) in recent years.

At the time, Marielle was serving as a City Councillor, and she vehemently denounced the constant misuse and abuse of power carried out by public security. The situation was aggravated a month ago when president Michel Temer authorised a military intervention.

This despicable fact is added to the bloody list of murders of social leaders, which take place both in the countryside and in the city – like the murder of Honduran Bertha Cáceras, who was murdered two years ago and whose killers remain unpunished. La Via Campesina therefore calls for human rights organisations to urgently intervene, so that the right to life – in addition to other rights – are upheld and respected for all members of the working class, both in the global north and the global south.

We call on the Brazilian state to conduct an immediate and rigorous investigation into the case of Marielle Franco, using its various relevant bodies. What is more, we demand justice for the hundreds of murders that have been denounced by our member organisations in Brazil. We call for no crime to go unpunished, because impunity is one of the main reasons why leaders have been murdered in Brazil. We call for an end to the repression and criminalisation of those who defend life in Brazil and the rest of the world.

Finally, we would like to reiterate our solidarity not just with all Brazilian people, but also all the people, men, women, young people and children who struggle and resist the violence of capital, poverty, occupation, evictions and exclusion and fight for human dignity, social justice and sovereignty.

We come together and speak out on behalf of Black people, Landless People, people who have been cut off from resources, people who fight against mining, indigenous peoples, and peasants who uphold Food Sovereignty, to say the following:

Grief is Struggle!
Globalise the struggle, globalise hope!


Cover Image: Mídia NINJA, licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license.

This post is also available in Español.