Quilombo Quingoma and its fight against real estate speculation amid the Covid-19 pandemic

In the midst of the pandemic, the community resists collusion between state, municipal governments and construction companies.

Quilombo Quingoma is a traditional community located in the municipality of Lauro de Freitas, Metropolitan Region of Salvador, Bahia. The community, which now has about 3,500 residents, has origins that date back to 1569, and is estimated to be the first quilombo in Brazil. 

On August 14, 2013, it was certified as a remnant quilombo community by Fundação Cultural Palmares, allowing then to enter the Technical Report on Identification and Delimitation (RTID), however, it has happened that since then, even with the various mobilizations of the community to make progress in his request, the process is stalled in the bureaucracy of the old state. 

The certification received by the Palmares Foundation did not mean an improvement in the living conditions of the local residents, on the contrary, the neglect of the institutions remained and the real estate speculation increased its interest in the region, especially after the construction of the Via Metropolitana, a work of the Government (Rui Costa / PT) together with the company Bahia Norte. 

In 2015, still in the planning phase of Via Metropolitana, quilombo leaders made an official counterproposal so that rivers and forests would not be harmed; the requests, of course, were ignored by the state government and Bahia Norte and what was seen was the complete devastation where the work went. 

After the completion of the works with the increasing interest of construction companies in the territory, attacks on the community increased significantly, dozens were cases of fire in shacks, destruction of masonry, beatings and threats that were reported in the city police station and that were never reported. in fact clarified.

Amidst this scenario of persecution and resistance, the quilombo still has to deal with the Covid-19 pandemic in totally adverse conditions, there are no minimum health services and basic sanitation in the area. 

The community does not have a health post, nor with community health workers; the piped water that arrived a little over two years ago is constantly lacking, perfect scenario for the spread of the virus. 

Faced with so much neglect and the death of an elderly woman, the residents made a combative protest on 06/26 demanding effective measures from the institutions, especially from the city hall of Lauro de Freitas (Moema Gramacho / PT) to fight the coronavirus. In addition to demanding effective sanitary measures, the protest also served to denounce the most recent attack by the collusion of construction companies and state and municipal governments that use the excuse of the pandemic to accelerate their expropriation process within the quilombo. 

In yet another measure aimed at meeting the interests of real estate speculation and without consulting the community, the state government authorized this year the construction company CAVA Engenharia de Infraestrutura Ltda. carrying out studies and measurements, in addition to expropriating people so that 1,174.00 m of the existing road is paved and a 318m extension loop around the Metropolitan Hospital, in Lauro de Freitas, is implemented.

This is an unofficial translation of an article published on the A Nova Democracia website on July 12.

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