Brazil: Here, City Hall Does the Kidnapping

     Brazil: Here, City Hall 
Does the Kidnapping

    Brazil’s Indianist
    Missionary Council says it has evidence indicating
    that the city hall of Uiramutã, in the state of Roraima is involved
    in the abduction of three catholic missionaries. The three
    religious men defend the Indians’ historical right to lands
    in the region. Many people have been threatened with death.
    by: Cimi


    There is abundant evidence
    that the city hall of Uiramutã was involved in the abduction of three
    missionaries, namely, the Brazilian Priest Ronildo Pinto França, the
    Spanish Priest Cézar Avellaneda, and the Colombian Brother Juan Carlos
    Martinez, on the 6th of January in the state of Roraima, Brazil.

    The involvement of the
    city hall became clear when the missionaries and witnesses testified that
    a truck with the emblem of the city hall of Uiramutã carried the kidnappers
    to the Surumu mission and, later on, carried one of the kidnapped priests
    to the Contão village. Uiramutã is run by Mayor Florany Mota,
    who joined the Workers’ Party (PT) recently.

    In addition to using the
    truck in the abduction, the mayor of Uiramutã took part in anti-indigenous
    demonstrations and said publicly that she does not support the historical
    right of indigenous peoples to their lands.

    Cimi believes that the
    Workers’ Party should carefully consider the participation of the governor
    of Roraima, Flamarion Portela, in acts of violence against the official confirmation
    of the bounds of indigenous areas in his state and do something about his
    omission and his political position against indigenous rights.

    Death Threats

    The regional administrator
    of the National Indigenous Foundation (Funai), Edson Beiriz, filed an official
    report with the 6th Coordinating and Reviewing Chamber for Indigenous
    Communities and Minorities of the Federal Prosecution Service, January 13,
    denouncing a plot to murder him.

    In the report, Beiriz,
    who works with the Xavante people of the Marãiwatsedé indigenous
    land—who are camped in the Suyá Missú farm in Alto Boa
    Vista (state of Mato Grosso)—mentions that witness S.R. "heard three
    men saying that they were headed for the city of Goiânia (state of Goiás)
    to kill the Funai official called Edson Beiriz and a mulatto known as Denivaldo
    because they were responsible for the presence of Xavante indigenous people
    in that conflict area".

    In the document, witness
    S.R. also says that the three men had unsuccessfully tried to kill Beiriz
    on two previous occasions.

    The administrator of Funai
    suspects that the threats came from local politicians and large farmers who
    invaded the Marãiwatsedé land, the bounds of which have been
    officially confirmed and registered already.

    A justification hearing
    was scheduled by the Judge of the 5th Court of Cuiabá, José
    Pires, for the 29th of this month. Such hearings are commonly granted
    to deal with land tenure-related proceedings, and in this case its purpose
    is to confirm that the area involved is an indigenous land.

    Without any kind of police
    protection so far, Beiriz fears for his life and for his family’, "lately,
    I and my family have been very fearful and cautious due to the threats we
    have been receiving. However, I have no plans to give up my duties as a federal
    civil servant".

    Bishop Threatened

    Late in December, the
    National Conference of Bishops of Brazil (CNBB) issued a note expressing concerns
    with the constant death threats received by Dom Pedro Casaldáliga,
    the bishop of São Félix do Araguaia (state of Mato Grosso),
    and asking the government to "send Federal Police officers in sufficient
    numbers to the conflict area to ensure the physical integrity of the Xavante
    people; resettle all squatters covered by the land reform program; and ensure
    the safety of Dom Pedro Casaldáliga and of other agents of his Pastoral
    who have been receiving death threats for defending the rights of the Xavante
    to their land".

    At a moment when Dom Pedro,
    indigenous leaders, and supporters of the indigenous cause like Edson Beiriz
    suffer with these threats, 80 members of the Xavante people are still camped
    in a farm in Suyá-Missu under the threat of being shot by 40 squatters
    and without any protection from the Federal Police or from the Military Police.

    Cimi is Brazil’s Indianist
    Missionary Council, an organization linked to CNBB, National Conference
    of Brazilian Bishops. You can get in touch with them by sending an email

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