On April 17, 1996 . . .“They came from both sides and we were caught in the middle. We weren’t in a position to do anything against a large group of policemen armed with rifles and machine-guns!” – Avelino Germiniano, 51, survivor of the Eldorado dos Carajás massacre. “When the buses from Marabá arrived with the police, they got off and shot a round of fire into the air. We thought that they only wanted to intimidate us. We started shouting protest slogans. We had a deaf-mute companheiro who couldn’t understand anything and he went in the direction of the police. He was the first to go down.” – Miguel Pontes da Silva, 42, survivor of the Eldorado dos Carajás massacre. “I received a blow in the neck and I felt blood running down my back. At the time, I didn’t know if I had been hit or if I had been shot. When I made it back to the tent, my children were distraught. I put them in my arms and still had room to carry two other children who belonged to someone else. When I remember what happened that day, it feels as though I am reliving it.” – Dalgisa Dias de Sousa, 50, survivor of the Eldorado dos Carajás massacre
Even with the arrests, the crime remains unpunishedThe renowned Brazilian blogger, journalist and PhhD in Political Sciences, Leonardo Sakamoto, explains in his post last 17th April why he believes the massacre still remains unpunished even after the arrests of both military officers who ordered the attack. He affirms: “One or two people might be arrested. But the conditions that made the Eldorado dos Carajás massacre possible are still here producing more victims. Again. And again. And again…” Two decades after the attack, violence in rural areas is still high. Recent data published by Comissão Pastoral da Terra (CPT) revealed an increase of 13% in the total number of agrarian conflicts between 2010 and 2011 in Brazil. From 1,186 in 2010, last year there were 1,363 conflicts. The total number of people involved increased from 559,401 to 600,925, showing an increase of 7,4%. The list takes account of 1,035 conflicts over land, 260 related to work issues and 68 over water. The land conflicts alone show an even more shocking increase: up 24% in the number of cases and up 30.3% in the number of families involved (from 70,387 to 91,735). In the south and southeast regions of Pará alone, there are around 50 people living in constant fear of death due to rural conflicts and the state of Carajás, where Eldorado is located, could be considered the most violent region in Brazil. Between 1971 and 2007, 819 people were killed struggling for land in that state. Very few cases result in jail.
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