Far from being arrested by the authorities, Orlandino Gonçalves Carneiro, a landowner and the self-confessed killer of a 15–year–old teenager, has been sending in gunmen to threaten protestors who have been demanding that the killer be brought to justice (see picture). The landowner has even gone to court to get the authorities to send in the police to evict the protestors off his land.
The conflict began on 16 February when Denilson Barbosa and two other Indian boys set off to go fishing near the town of Caarapó in the state of Mato Grosso do Sul. According to eyewitnesses, three gunmen employed by the landowner barred the boys’ way. The boys ran off but Denilson was shot in the head and the neck. A couple of days later his body was found by the side of a road.
Since the indigenous reserve was created in 1924, the Indians have been forced to fish outside their reserve, as the small streams on their land do not contain fish of an adequate size. For a long while this has been a source of conflict with neighbouring landowners, some of whom are occupying land claimed by the Indians.
Orlandino Gonçalves Carneiro went to the police station in the town of Caarapó and admitted that he had been responsible for the death of the boy. He was not arrested but allowed to go to court to ask for the police to be sent to his farm to evict the 1,000 Indians who were protesting over the death. The landowner then ordered his gunmen to shoot in the direction of the Indians gathered there in an attempt to disperse them.
No further deaths have been reported but, according to a report drawn up by the Indians and sent to LAB by Tonico Benites, an anthropologist who works with the Guarani-Kaiowá, some 5,000 Indians are now involved in the protests. Several indigenous leaders have declared that ‘if it had been a Guarani-Kaiowá who had assassinated a landowner, he certainly would have been immediately arrested and tortured.’ They are demanding that the killer be brought to justice.
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