The Brazilian government and transnational corporations have been seizing indigenous lands in Brazil and hiring hit men to murder their residents. The exploitation of native lands for investment projects is not new, but what is new is a report published by the Indigenous Missionary Council (CIMI by its Portuguese initials) titled “Violence Against Indigenous People in Brazil.” The report stated that 138 cases of murder have been officially registered, a 42% rise between 2013 and 2014. Hit men hired by those who aim to develop the land carried out most of these murders.
One of the victims, Marinalva Kaiowá, was stabbed thirty-five times two weeks after she protested with other indigenous leaders at the Federal Supreme Court in Brasilia over a court ruling that annulled the demarcation process in the indigenous territory of the Guyraroka people.
Along with the murders, thousands of indigenous people are being displaced from their homes and moved onto small reservations, where education and basic necessities are lacking and awful health conditions and alarming infant mortality rates prevail.
An editorial published in the New York Times reported on the high rate of suicide in the Guaraní tribe. For this tribe, which resides in the part of Brazil most affected by investment projects, the suicide rate is roughly twice as great as it is among other indigenous groups in Brazil. CIMI reported over seventy Guaraní suicides in 2013. The Times’ editorial appears to be the only coverage of this story by corporate media.
Source: Renata Bessi and Santiago Navarro (translated by Miriam Taylor), “Corporate Developers Seize Indigenous Lands in Brazil and Hire Hit Men to Murder Residents,” Truthout, August 30, 2015, http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/32553-development-projects-intensify-violence-against-indigenous-people-in-brazil.
Student Researcher: William Pace (Sonoma State University)
Faculty Evaluator: Richard J. Senghas (Sonoma State University)