On December 7, the peasant João de Deus Moreira Rodrigues, known as “Conzinhado”, 50 years old, was cowardly shot in the back by two gunmen at Pedro Leandro Fernandes Street, in the urban area of Arari, 167 km from São Luís. A resident of the Santo Antônio village in Arari, Maranhão, “Conzinhado” is a militant in the Maranhão Forums and Citizenship Networks movement.
According to a public statement issued by the Forums and Networks movement, the peasant was rescued and rushed to the hospital, where he underwent a surgical procedure. Up until the day the statement was issued, the peasant was in critical condition at risk of death.
João de Deus, was one of the people mentioned in police reports, a deliberate action by Arari’s authorities, who in collusion with the judiciary, the Public Ministry, the state government, landowners and land grabbers in the region, are pursuing persecution in order to criminalize popular movements. In 2019, peasants from the Baixada Maranhense region were released after an intense and successful campaign in favor of political prisoners promoted by popular and democratic movements throughout the country.
The organization also denounces two murders of peasants in Cedro Village, in the city of Arari, that took place this year. As reported by AND in “MA: Gunmen murder persecuted peasants in Baixada Maranhense (Arari)”, Jucelino Fernandes and Wanderson de Jesus Fernandes, father and son, were executed in the dead of night and the crimes remain unpunished to this day. According to the report, neither gunmen nor their bosses were arrested.
As the organization states, these situations of murders, attempts, and threats to the peasant people are common knowledge to the authorities of Arari and the state of Maranhão, ruled by Flávio Dino/PCdoB. What confirms this are the various complaints that have already been made about the agrarian conflict between traditional communities of Arari and land grabbers.
The landowners of the region perpetuate the practice of taking illegal possession of public lands in the Environmental Protection Area. To do this, they surround public fields for raising buffalo cattle, even using electric fences. This leads to direct competition in the area with the residents who provide for their families through fishing and raising animals, mainly pigs.
The peasants of the community, under the slogan “Down with the fences, free fields! People united and organized fight and win”, demand exemplary punishment of those responsible for this violent attack. They also demand the urgent removal of all the fences of the latifundium in the western lands of Maranhão.