On December 14, peasants blocked a stretch of BR-158, between Confresa and Vila Rica, in the northeast of the state of Mato Grosso. The action took place after an attempt to evict more than 60 families from the Agropecuária Lago Grande S.A. ranch who for 24 years have been living in Porta da Amazônia, an area 50 km from the highway.
With no plan to end the protest, the peasants reported that in the midst of the pandemic, gunmen were preparing to carry out the illegal eviction at the behest of the latifundium.
In an interview with Free Journalists, peasant Claudionor Cândido, 73, says: “We entered the forest, we suffered, and we fought. I lived three years under an old shed, from there I got out, I managed to make a little board house, then I made a material house for today to have to leave it anyway to get out”.
THE DISPUTE FOR LAND
In 1996, when the AgroPastoril Nova Patrocínio latifundium associated with Frigorifico Kaiowa S.A declared bankruptcy, the families began living in the area that holds about 10 thousand hectares. The judiciary of the old state, contrary to the needs of the peasants for land titling, decided in 2018 to auction off the land to pay off the debts of the bankrupt latifundium.
The landowner, Agropecuária Lago Grande S.A., filed a request for eviction, which was granted by the São Paulo judiciary through a court order.
In the midst of the legal dispute, upon reaching the District of Vila Rica in Mato Grosso, the eviction was suspended and sent to another court. However, with a writ of mandamus, which ran in secrecy against the Comarca’s decision and without hearing the parties, Judge Nilza Maria Pôssas de Carvalho decided to evict.
Soon, the latifundium hired gunmen who camped on the banks of the Porta da Amazônia community to evict the 60 families, an illegal practice.
Due to the resistance of the families during the combative protest, and in an attempt to intimidate the peasants, the lawyers of the latifundium asked the judiciary to impose a daily fine of at least 50,000 reais on all residents who refuse to voluntarily comply with the eviction order within 48 hours.