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

China May Be Biggest Winner From Ukraine Crisis

Missile sales, oil and gas shipments are among many areas that may drive Beijing and Moscow closer together in coming years More

Obama Faces Chaotic World, Limits of Power

Current foreign policy issues bring into focus challenges for US policymakers who are mindful of Americans' waning appetite for overseas military engagements More

SADC Meeting Lesotho Officials to Resolve Stalemate

Official says regional bloc has been engaged with leaders in Lesotho to resolve political disagreement that led to coup attempt More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015i
X
Carol Pearson
August 30, 2014 7:14 PM
A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015

A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video Survivors Commemorate 70th Anniversary of Nazi Liquidation of Jewish Ghetto

When the German Nazi army occupied the Polish city of Lodz in 1939, it marked the beginning of a long nightmare for the Jewish community that once made up one third of the population. Roughly 200,000 people were forced into the Lodz Ghetto. Less than 7,000 survived. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, some survivors gathered at the Union League Club in Chicago on the 70th anniversary of the liquidation of the Lodz Ghetto to remember those who suffered at the hands of the Nazi regime.
Video

Video Cost to Raise Child in US Continues to Rise

The cost of raising a child in the United States continues to rise. In its latest annual report, the U.S. Department of Agriculture says middle income families with a child born in 2013 can expect to spend more than $240,000 before that child turns 18. And sending that child to college more than doubles that amount. VOA’s Deborah Block visited with a couple with one child in Alexandria, Virginia, to learn if the report reflects their lifestyle.
Video

Video Chaotic Afghan Vote Recount Threatens Nation’s Future

Afghanistan’s troubled presidential election continues to be rocked by turmoil as an audit of the ballots drags on. The U.N. says the recount will not be completed before September 10. Observers say repeated disputes and delays are threatening the orderly transfer of power and could have dangerous consequences. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.
Video

Video Ukraine Battles Pro-Russia Rebel Assault

After NATO concluded an emergency meeting to discuss the crisis in eastern Ukraine, the country is struggling to contain heavy fighting near the strategic port of Mariupol, on the Azov Sea. Separatist rebels are trying to capture the city, allegedly with Russian military help, and Ukraine's defense forces are digging in. VOA's Daniel Schearf spoke with analysts about what lies ahead for Ukraine.
Video

Video Growing Business Offers Paint with a Twist of Wine

Two New Orleans area women started a small business seven years ago with one thing in mind: to help their neighbors relieve the stress of coping with a hurricane's aftermath. Today their business, which pairs painting and a little bit of wine, has become one of the fastest growing franchises across the U.S. VOA’s June Soh met the entrepreneurs at their newest franchise location in the Washington suburbs.
Video

Video Ebola Vaccine Trials To Begin Next Week

The National Institutes of Health says it is launching early stage trials of a vaccine to prevent the Ebola virus, which has infected or killed thousands of people across West Africa. The World Health Organization says Ebola could infect more than 20,000 people across the region by the time the outbreak is over. The epidemic has health experts and governments scrambling to prevent more people from becoming infected. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Asian Bacteria Threatens Florida Orange Trees

Florida's citrus fruit industry is facing a serious threat from a bacteria carried by the Asian insect called psyllid. The widespread infestation again highlights the danger of transferring non-native species to American soil. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Aging Will Reduce Economic Growth Worldwide in Coming Decades

The world is getting older, fast. And as more people retire each year, fewer working-age people will be there to replace them. Bond rating agency Moody’s says that will lead to a decline in household savings; reducing global investments - which in turn, will lead to slower economic growth around the world. But experts say it’s not too late to mitigate the economic impact of the world’s aging populations. Mil Arcega has more.
Video

Video Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?

U.S. President Barack Obama has ruled out sending ground troops to Iraq to fight militants of the so-called Islamic State, or ISIS, despite officials in Washington describing the extremist group as the biggest threat the United States has faced in years. Henry Ridgwell reports from London on the growing uncertainty over whether the West’s response to ISIS will be enough to defeat the terrorist threat.
Video

Video Coalition to Fight Islamic State Could Reward Assad

The United States along with European and Mideast allies are considering a broader assault against Islamic State fighters who have spread from Syria into Iraq and risk further destabilizing an already troubled region. But as VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports, confronting those militants could end up helping the embattled Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Video

Video Made in America Socks Get Toehold in Online Fashion Market

Three young entrepreneurs are hoping to revolutionize the high-end sock industry by introducing all-American creations of their own. And they’re doing most of it the old-fashioned way. VOA’s Julie Taboh recently caught up with them to learn what goes into making their one-of-a-kind socks.
Video

Video Americans, Ex-Pats Send Relief Supplies to West Africa

Health organizations from around the world are sending supplies and specialists to the West African countries that are dealing with the worst Ebola outbreak in history. On a smaller scale, ordinary Americans and African expatriates living in the United States are doing the same. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.

AppleAndroid

More Americas News

Cuba Enacts New Rules to Restrict Imports

New rules increase duties on items such as televisions, limit the number of personal items air travelers can bring to Cuba and increase duties on mailed packages
More

Nicaragua Rescuers Save 20 Miners; Search Continues

Wall of mud, rocks trap miners at El Comal site in Bonanza, 420 kilometers northeast of Managua
More

Shortage-weary Venezuelans Scoff at Fingerprinting Plan

Proposal on food sales sparks backlash ranging from violent street protests to social media campaigns ridiculing the idea
More

Rescuers Contact 20 Miners Trapped in Nicaragua Gold Mine

Two miners have been rescued, others are believed to be alive
More

Brazil Enters Recession in Pre-election Blow to Rousseff

Experts say left-leaning policies have dented consumer and business confidence and caused heavy losses for financial investors
More

Peru Drug Bust Seizes Record 6.5 Tons of Cocaine

Police arrest 7 Peruvians, 2 Mexicans suspected of trying to smuggle load to Europe as coal
More