Quilombo Campo Grande Camp, Brazil: Urgent Call for Solidarity

Message from The Landless Workers’ Movement MST

07 November, 2018

Dear comrades and friends

First of all, on behalf of the MST and the 450 families of Quilombo Campo Grande Camp, we thank all solidarity letters received against the eviction of our camp.

Unfortunately, during a hearing held on Wednesday afternoon, Nov. 7, Brazilian *judge Walter Zwicker Esbaille Junior ordered the eviction of 450 families* who live in the area of the old Ariadnópolis mill owned by a bankrupt debtor in the city of Campo do Meio, state of Minas Gerais, Brazil.

He established a seven-day deadline to have his order executed.

The decision means destroying 1,200 hectares (nearly 3,000 acres) of corn, beans, manioc, and pumpkin crops, 40 hectares (roughly 100 acres) of agroecological gardens, and 520 hectares (more than 1,200 acres) of coffee crops. Not only that, hundreds of homes, corrals, and miles and miles of fences will be torn down.

The court order will destroy everything people have built in two decades of hard work.

According to the lawyers representing the families, the judge’s ruling is arbitrary and hurts constitutional principles by not recognizing values of human dignity. The hearing was unusual. Representatives of the families who live in the camp and authorities who traveled to attend it were not allowed in. While holding the session, the judge called the riot police to the room. Representatives of big farms and the local government wanted the families to be taken to a gymnasium. The judge eventually quickly rendered his judgement.

The Landless Workers’ Movement (MST) is appealing this arbitrary, unfair decision. We reiterate our will to continue to struggle and resist yet another attack by the old mill.

The case is now in the State Justice Tribunal.

We are aware that the fascist inclinations of the project recently elected to run Brazil will lead to increasing use of State apparatus to criminalize us and segregate the landless people – as well as urban communities. But the Brazilian people is brave and strong. We have faced the military dictatorship since the birth of the movement. It’s with this story and this courage that the families living in Quilombo Campo Grande will resist and stay in the Ariadnópolis land. A preliminary injunction to remove them will not erase so many years of struggle.

Once more, we urge all organizations, supporters and friends to send the message below to the State Justice Tribunal Judge Nelson Missias de Morais, demanding that the repossession action to be dismissed:


À atenção do Exmo. Sr. Juiz Nelson Missias de Morais

Venho me manifestar sobre a ação de restituição de posse n ° 0024.11.188.917-6 inscrita no dia 06/07/2011.

Peço que a ação de restituição da posse seja suspensa, já que existem 450 famílias, mais de 2.000 pessoas, que já estão na posse da área há mais de 20 anos. Essas pessoas têm casas construídas, vasta produção e reprodução da vida neste lugar.

A resolução do conflito só pode ocorrer com a permanência das familias, que já tem a posse da terra por direito.

Nós*[insert your name or name of your organization*], apelamos para que Voissa Excelencia resolva o conflito. Por justiça e em defesa dos princípios constitucionais, pela valorização da vida e da dignidade humana, apelamos!

Estamos diante da iminência de um massacre em Minas Gerais e você pode salvar essas vidas.

<Translation of the email above>

Dear Honorable Judge Nelson Missias de Morais,

The purpose of this e-mail is to express my concern about the action for repossession No. 0024.11.188.917-6 filed on June 17, 2011. I strongly and respectfully ask you to suspend the action for repossession, because there are 450 families, more than 2,000 people, who have been in possession of the area for more than 20 years. They have built their homes and their production and reproduction of life in that place.

The resolution of this conflict can only be successful if they stay where they are, as it is their right.

We [insert your name or name of your organization urge you to do this. For justice and in defense of constitutional principles, out of respect for human life and dignity, we urge you!

There can be a massacre in Minas Gerais and you can save those lives.

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