Brazil: Guarani leader murdered

On Dec. 24 a hired killer shot to death Kaiowa Guarani indigenous leader Dorvalino Rocha at his community’s makeshift roadside encampment in Antonio Joao municipality, in Brazil’s Mato Grosso do Sul state. The killer shot Rocha in the chest after arriving at the encampment in a vehicle with two other men. The 500 residents of the Nande Ru Marangatu territory—demarcated officially in March 2005 but facing a court challenge by local ranchers—have been camping by the highway since Dec. 15, when they were forcibly evicted by more than 100 Brazilian federal police agents.

The Indianist Missionary Council (CIMI), a Catholic church-based group which works in solidarity with Brazil’s indigenous communities, reported the “cowardly” attack on Dec. 25. CIMI is demanding that the government arrange the “immediate return of the indigenous people to their traditional territory from which they were expelled.” Failure to do so “will be stimulating institutionalized violence,” CIMI stated. The previous week CIMI reported that precarious conditions in the makeshift camp had caused the death from dehydration of a 16-month-old girl. According to CIMI, Rocha is the 38th indigenous person murdered in Brazil in 2005. (La Jornada, Mexico, Dec. 26 from AFP)

From Weekly News Update on the Americas, Jan. 1

See our last update on indigenous struggles in Brazil.