In the name of the members of the PT Bloc in Congress, in response to the barbaric assassinations of José “Orlando” da Silva and Rodrigo Celestino this Saturday, (December 8th) in the José Maria Pires agrarian reform camp in Alhandra, Paraíba, I register my regret and express my solidarity with the comrades’ families and with the Landless Rural Workers Movement (MST).
This is yet another political crime committed against members of a social movement that fights for land, work and dignity and works to build a Brazil with more social justice and less inequality. The outrage is even greater because this crime occurred exactly on the day of annual Friends of the MST meeting, at the Florestan Fernandes National School in Guararema (SP), were over 600 people met to reaffirm the importance of resistance and struggle in defense of democracy.
The responsible authorities have an obligation to investigate and find those responsible for this, one more crime that enters into the sad statistics of violence against those who fight for agrarian reform. In this context, the Pastoral Land Commission’s annual report on violence in the countryside shows that, from 1985 when the survey began to 2017, 1,904 people involved in the agrarian reform struggle have been murdered. This comes out to an average of 58 deaths each year, more than one per week. Out of this total number, only 113 cases ever went to trial, a figure which proves the level of impunity that exists for these types of crimes.
It is worth remembering that the struggle for agrarian reform is supported by Pope Francis, who made this clear when he said, “no family without a house, no peasant without land, no worker without rights,” in 2014.
We reiterate our support for the peasant movements and we will denounce the crimes against these political actors – who are so important for the struggle to achieve a fully democratic Brazil in all of its societal dimensions – in Parliament, and in all other ways possible.
Brasília, DF, December 9th, 2018
Congressman Paulo Pimenta (PT-Rio Grande do Sul)
PT Leader in the House of Representatives