Agrarian conflicts in Pará, a state holding an eerie record of deaths of farm workers’ leaders, have intensified over the last months. As a result of the occupations staged by the Landless Workers’ Movement (MST) and the Fetagri (affiliated to the CUT labor federation), it has been reported that six rural workers were arrested and one killed.

Agrarian conflicts in Pará, a state holding an eerie record of deaths of farm workers’ leaders, have intensified over the last months. As a result of the occupations staged by the Landless Workers’ Movement (MST) and the Fetagri (affiliated to the CUT labor federation), it has been reported that six rural workers were arrested and one killed.

In the month of March, the Military Police resumed a wave of evictions, which was initiated last year by judicial decision. According to MST’s advisors, “a corps of 280 military police officers is executing the writ to retake possession of the areas occupied”. A note released by the movement in late March states: “The State has declared that the operation will continue no matter what. The State’s rhetoric has been to shift the responsibility to the federal government”.

By early April, the MST declared in another press release that “the actions performed by the working women and men of Southern and Southeastern Pará are the result of an isolated action by the state government and judiciary, which have failed to comply with all the agreements established in previous hearings, like the one that set forth that any action involving areas of interest [for the purposes] of the agrarian reform would be subject to a broad discussion with a view to establishing an agreement that would benefit the safety and the well-being of the working women and men”.

According to the MST, the situation is more critical in Southern Pará: “For 7 years, families camped in the 26 of March Encampment have been waiting for the Federal Supreme Court’s expropriation decree of the Cabeceiras Farm, which has long been on a list for slave work practices, environmental crimes and squatting on land belonging to the Union. There is the case of the families in the Lourival Santana Encampment who have for two years now been on a part of the Peruano Farm, a property which was proved to be squatted. Impunity is rampant in the cases of murders of working women and men, leadership, religious people and lawyers”.