Brazil, Guaraní tribe attacked by ranchers who want their land

Attacks on indigenous people by armed gunmen working for ranchers continue: a slow genocide, the result of the occupation of indigenous ancestral lands.

group of gunmen attacked a Guaraní Kaiowa community, in southern Brazil, killing a man and injuring at least five people, including a child. The association Survival, which received news of the umpteenth violent attack to the indigenous tribe on 14 June, revealed this in a press release.


Guaraní Kaiowa Indians protest against the Brazilian Government © Ernesto Sa / Getty.


“We’re witnessing a sustained and brutal attack on the Guarani, and its intensity is increasing”, Director General of Survival, Stephen Corry, said. “Powerful people in Brazil are trying to silence the Guarani, terrorizing them until they give up on their land claim. But the Guarani still don’t give up. They know they risk death for wanting to return to their ancestral homelands, but the alternative is so dire that they have no choice but to face the gunmen and their bullets. Brazil’s interim government has to do more to end this wave of violence. It’s leading to murder”.

It seems that attacks and intimidations have increased since the interim Government took office due to Brazil President Dilma Rousseff’s impeachment. The outgoing administration indeed recognised a vast region to the indigenous tribes.

“A slow genocide is taking place. There is a war being waged against us. We are scared. They kill our leaders, hide their bodies, intimidate and threaten us. We are fighting always for our land”, one of the Guaraní leaders stated during his visit to Europe last month.


Protests held by the Guaraní tribe © Evaristo Sa / Getty

Who the Guaraní are

Today in Brazil there are just 51,000 Guaraní people living in 7 different states. They make up the country’s biggest indigenous population. Over the years the forest where they lived has disappeared due to the expansion of sugar cane plantations. Some groups of people were left without land and now live in the street. A spiritual and pacific population, whose suicide rate is rapidly and constantly increasing over the years.

One of the most important and dramatic dates is 2003, when Marcos Veron, 70, leader of the Guarani Kaiowà community of Takuára was assassinated.  “Our culture does not allow violence but the ranchers will kill us rather than give it back” Benites concludes. “Most of the land was taken in the 1960s and 70s. The ranchers arrived and pushed us out. The land is good quality, with rivers and forest. Now it is very valuable”.

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