Amid Federal Land Grab in Brazil, Whole Towns Evicted at Gunpoint

By:  Alex Newman
01/07/2013
       
Amid Federal Land Grab in Brazil, Whole Towns Evicted at Gunpoint

Federal Brazilian police and military personnel, some wearing the United Nations insignia, are forcibly relocating whole communities in Brazil at gunpoint under the guise of returning huge tracts of land to Indians whose ancestors were allegedly there at some point. Thousands of local residents who have lived in the area for decades or were even born there, however, are fighting back, with critics saying the government’s actions smack of Stalinism and may constitute crimes against humanity.

Federal Brazilian police and military personnel, some wearing United Nations insignia, are forcibly relocating whole communities in Brazil at gunpoint under the guise of returning huge tracts of land to a small group of Indians whose ancestors were allegedly there at some point. Thousands of local residents who have lived in the area for decades or were even born there, however, are fighting back, with critics saying the government’s actions smack of Stalinism and may constitute crimes against humanity.

Since the latest controversial operation began in November in the state of Mato Grosso, according to authorities and news reports, citizens opposed to being stripped of their property and homes have been doing everything in their power to stop the assault — setting up road blocks, battling heavily armed federal forces with stones, sticks, and Molotov cocktails, torching government trucks, protesting, and refusing to leave. Others cried as they tore down their own simple houses under armed guard.

Reporters on the scene and even federal lawmakers suspect bloodshed may be near. The government, however, has vowed to expel the communities at any cost, threatening those who refuse to comply with criminal charges and even confiscation of what little remains of their personal property. Rubber bullets, tear gas, and threats of real bullets and prosecution have all been employed to forcibly remove the locals, whom the government continues to dehumanize as “invaders” and “intruders.”

Critics and local residents have accused the government of Brazil of mass corruption, saying the end goal is to smash private property ownership and all potential resistance — starting with the rural population. They argue, among other points, that federal authorities are doing the bidding of foreign interests and are in cahoots with the UN, massive international corporations, Western-based non-governmental organizations like Greenpeace, and other interests.

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