Via Campesina in Solidarity with indigenous people in Brazil

When the European invaders arrived in the year 1500, there were around a thousand different indigenous groups, with more than 5 million indigenous people, in the territory which corresponds to Brazil today. After centuries of a genocidal and ethnocidal colonization process, the Brazilian indigenous population was brutally reduced. During the military dictatorship, between the 60's and 80's of the last century, the Brazilian elites planed the complete extinction of the indigenous people. However, since the 70's, the Brazilian indigenous peoples took back their struggles, their territories, cultures, the integrity of their communities; they built local and regional organizations and created national networks. During the Constitutional assembly, the
indigenous people mobilized themselves and managed to obtain the recognition of their ancestral rights in the Constitution which was approved in 1988.

Since then, the Brazilian indigenous population began to grow again and hundreds of territories were recovered and demarcated. Today around 235 indigenous groups live in the country, a total of more than 750,000 indigenous people.

All the indigenous peoples' progress is now being fought by big agribusiness and mining companies, by landowners, cattle ranchers and sugar cane farmers. Together with the media and acting within the Executive, Legislative and Judicial powers, the capital have unleashed a ferocious campaign against indigenous peoples. In this fundamentally racist campaign indigenous peoples were accused of "threatening national security", of "hindering development, of "invading cities", of "not producing anything", and so on.

The capital's objective is to annul the victories won by the indigenous peoples in Brazil, to re-instate the colonial perspective in view of expropriating indigenous lands, and exploiting their resources for private gain.

Via Campesina's Fifth International Conference declares support for and solidarity with the indigenous peoples of Brazil and our firm willingness to continue supporting the great alliance of peasant and indigenous peoples in Brazil, Latin America, and around the world.
Maputo – Mozambique, 21st of October, 2008