News / Americas

Brazil Indians occupy cattle ranch in widening land dispute

President of the National Indian Foundation (FUNAI), Marta Maria do Amaral Azevedo (R), participates in a debate about the situation of indigenous people and issues that affect these communities, in Brasilia, April 18, 2013.
President of the National Indian Foundation (FUNAI), Marta Maria do Amaral Azevedo (R), participates in a debate about the situation of indigenous people and issues that affect these communities, in Brasilia, April 18, 2013.
Reuters
Federal police ordered some 200 Terena Indians to leave a former congressman's ranch in south-central Brazil on Thursday in the latest flashpoint of a widening conflict over land ownership in South America's farm belt.

The ranch's owner, Ricardo Bacha, skipped a meeting in Brasilia with the country's vice president over the land conflicts to return to the disputed area, claiming his wife and son were being held hostage by the Indians.

Brazil's indigenous policy, which includes returning land to natives based on anthropological studies, is considered one of the world's most progressive. But it has sparked violence since the country became an agricultural superpower and Indian policy clashed with farming interests.

Federal police planned to give the Terena Indians a day to respond to the evacuation order, said Francisco das Chagas, a police spokesman in Campo Grande, Mato Grosso do Sul, 70 kilometers (43 miles) from the ranch.

"The Indians may or may not leave; if they don't obey, the police will draw up a plan for their removal,'' he told Reuters.

Funai, the federal government's Indian affairs agency in Brasilia, said in a written statement that the Terena had not taken anyone hostage and had not used violence, although they had ignited fireworks outside the ranch.

Reuters reported on Tuesday that President Dilma Rousseff has ordered her government to stop turning over farmland to Indians in what the powerful farm lobby says is a hugely misguided effort to right historical injustices.

But conflicts, like the one in the Buriti cattle ranch near Brazil's border with Paraguay, are still common and are growing increasingly tense. Thirteen percent of Brazil's territory has been set aside for Indians and more is under study.

"The agricultural community's tolerance for these kinds of invasions has reached its limit,'' said Rosane Amadori, of local farm lobby Famasul in Campo Grande. Bacha, the ranch owner, was not answering phone calls.

The group says various Indian groups have occupied 56 farms and ranches in Mato Grosso do Sul, which produces export crops like soybeans and corn. It said 80 Indians occupied the CambarDa ranch next to Buriti on Thursday.

The Buriti ranch is inside a 17.2-hectare area Funai says the federal justice ministry approved as a reserve for the Terena in 2010. Ranchers say they have lived there for decades.

A similar dispute, MarIaiwatsDedDe in nearby Mato Grosso state, went all the way to Brazil's Supreme Court. In October, the court ruled the land had been set aside for Xavante Indians and 7,000 farmers were evicted and a town was bulldozed as a result.

Farmers praised a government announcement last week that other federal agencies will be involved in land decisions, effectively reducing the jurisdiction of Indian affairs office Funai. The farm lobby ultimately wants politicians in Congress to have the last word.

"This will just fuel more conflicts,'' said Funai director of Indian land protection, AluDisio Azanha. "Instead of gutting Funai, the government should strengthen its role as mediator."

You May Like

Jihadist Assassin says Goal of Tunisia Murders Was Chaos

Abu Muqatil at-Tunusi’s remarks in a propaganda interview also cast light on attack on Bardo Museum More

Russia Denies License to Tatar-Language TV Station in Crimea

OSCE official says denial shows 'politically selective censorship of free and independent voices in Crimea is continuing' More

Kenyan Startups Tackle Expensive Remittances Through Bitcoin

Some think services could give Western Union a run for its money, though others say it’s still got a long way to go More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
For Obama, It's More Business Than Friendships With World Leadersi
X
Aru Pande
April 01, 2015 9:09 PM
The rift between President Barack Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has put a spotlight on the importance of the American leader’s personal relationships with other world leaders and what role such friendships play in foreign policy. VOA's Aru Pande reports.
Video

Video For Obama, It's More Business Than Friendships With World Leaders

The rift between President Barack Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has put a spotlight on the importance of the American leader’s personal relationships with other world leaders and what role such friendships play in foreign policy. VOA's Aru Pande reports.
Video

Video Buhari: Nigeria Has ‘Embraced Democracy’

Nigeria woke up to a new president-elect Wednesday, Muhammadu Buhari. But people say democracy is the real winner as the country embarks on its first peaceful handover of power since the end of military rule in 1999. VOA’s Anne Look reports from Abuja.
Video

Video Tiny Camera Sees Inside Blood Vessels

Ahead of any surgical procedure, doctors try to learn as much as possible about the state of the organs they plan to operate on. A new camera developed in the Netherlands can now make that easier - giving surgeons an incredibly detailed look inside blood vessels, all the way to the patient’s heart. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Latin American Groups Seek Fans at Texas Music Festival

Latin American music groups played all over Austin, Texas, during the recent South by Southwest festival, and some made fans out of locals as well as people from around the world who had come to hear music. Such exposure can boost such groups' image back home. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Stockton Community, Police, Work to Improve Relations

Relations are tense between minority communities and police departments around the United States following police shootings that have generated widely-publicized protests. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports from Stockton, California, where police and community groups are working toward solutions, with backing from Washington.
Video

Video Indiana Controversy Highlights Divergent Meanings of Religious Freedom

Indiana’s state government has triggered a nationwide controversy by approving a law that critics say is aimed at allowing discrimination against gays and lesbians. The controversy stems from divergent notions of religious freedom in America. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Report: State of Black America a 'Tale of Two Nations'

The National Urban League has described this year's "State of Black America" report as a "tale of two nations." The group's annual report, released earlier this month (March), found that under an equality index African Americans had only 72% parity compared to whites in areas such as education, economics, health, social justice and civic engagement. It’s a gap that educators and students at Brooklyn’s Medgar Evers College are looking to close. VOA's Daniela Schrier reports from the school.
Video

Video Film Tells Story of Musicians in Mali Threatened by Jihadists

At this year's annual South by Southwest film and music festival in Austin, Texas, some musicians from Mali were on hand to promote a film about how their lives were upturned by jihadists who destroyed ancient treasures in the city of Timbuktu and prohibited anyone from playing music under threat of death. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin, some are afraid to return to their hometowns even though the jihadists are no longer in control there.
Video

Video Ebola Vaccine Trials Underway in West Africa

Ebola has claimed the lives of more than 10,000 people in West Africa. Since last summer, researchers have rushed to get anti-Ebola vaccines into clinical trials. While it's too early to say that any of the potential vaccines work, some scientists say they are seeing strong results from some of the studies. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
Video

Video Philippines Wants Tourists Spending Money at New Casinos

Tourism is a multi-billion dollar industry in the Philippines. Close to five million foreign visitors traveled there last year, perhaps lured by the country’s tropical beaches. But Jason Strother reports from Manila that the country hopes to entice more travelers to stay indoors and spend money inside new casinos.
Video

Video Civilian Casualties Push Men to Join Rebels in Ukraine

The continued fighting in eastern Ukraine and the shelling of civilian neighborhoods seem to be pushing more men to join the separatist fighters. Many of the new recruits are residents of Ukraine made bitter by new grievances, as well as old. VOA's Patrick Wells reports.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.

VOA Blogs

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

More Americas News

Massive Fire Engulfs Mexican Oil Rig, Four Dead

State-run oil company Petroleos Mexicanos (Pemex) says there is no evidence of a major oil spill following the blast, which injured 16 workers
More

Floods Death Toll Rises in Chile, President Cancels Trips

Freak torrential downpours in Atacama desert, normally the driest in the world, destroyed homes and bridges, cut off roads, and left thousands stranded
More

Rio Residents Protest Olympic Eviction With Road Block

Cars gridlocked for at least five kilometers in southern neighborhood of Barra de Tijuca as residents rally against demolition of favela
More

Peru's PM, Government to Resign After Censure Vote

Move delivers a blow to President Ollanta Humala, who will now have to form another new government
More

Argentine Workers Strike Over Income Tax Rate

With economy already weak, public transport stops, many businesses close and garbage piles up on one-day walkout
More

Tickets Go on Sale for 2016 Rio Olympics

More than half of the 7.5 million tickets will cost 70 Brazilian reais ($22) or less
More