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Brazil: Kaiowá-Guarani Indian assassinated

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Kaiowa-Guarani family in settlement
 
Indian cacique killed by gunmen

Some 40 gunmen, wearing balaclavas, arrived at the indigenous settlement, Tekoha Guaiviry, in the state of Mato Grosso do Sul in Brazil on 18th November. According to an indigenous witness, the gunmen ordered them all to lie on the ground and then shot, in cold blood, the indigenous cacique, 59-year old Nísio Gomes. The cacique’s son tried to protect his father but the gunmen then shot him, with rubber bullets. The gunmen were supported by others, who arrived behind them in about 40 pickup vans.

The attack is believed to have been in retaliation for the group’s decision on 1 November to re-occupy a part of their traditional territory, now occupied by a landowner. lives in great povery on the edge of a federal highway. According to Cimi (the Catholic Church’s Indigenous Missionary Council), there are 32 indigenous groups camped beside federal roads in the state of Mato Grosso alone. Many of the children are suffering form malnutrityion.

Renato Santana, a spokesman for Cimi, said Nísio Gomes was “summarily executed”. “Everything indicates that ranchers, who want the land back to raise cattle and plant sugarcane, hired the gunmen to get rid of Gomes, who was an outspoken defender of Indian rights,” he said.

For a full account of the attack (in Portuguese), go to Cimi’s website. For an excellent written account of the predicament of the Kaiowá-Guarani Indians (in English), go to Global Voices. A powerful documentary on the Kaiowá-Guarani,  A Sombra de um Delirio Verde, is also available in Portuguese. Versions in English, Spabish, German and French will soon be posted.