RO: Governor wants to hand over environmental reserve land to landowners in Rondonia

Caption: This region is part of the Guarajá-Mirim State Park destroyed by landowners to raise cattle for export. Photo: Luiz Martins/ Amazon Network

Below, we reproduce an article issued by the Peasant Resistance Newspaper regarding the legalization of land grabbing by landowners of over 11 thousand hectares of land (protected areas) in Rondonia.

The reactionary governor of Rondonia, Colonel Marcos Rocha (no party), who is aligned with the extreme Bolsonarist right, wants to legalize the handing over of more than 11,000 hectares of the Jaci-Paraná Extractive Reserve and the Guajará-Mirim State Park to landowners in the region.

The blatant crime, wrongly called a “bill,” is even more scandalous than it seems. The Extractive Reserve and the State Park in question are located near the Karipuna indigenous reserve – the 9th most deforested in the country due to attacks by the latifundium. If approved, the delivery of the protected areas will further enhance the already frequent invasions of the land grabbing latifundium against the indigenous lands in the region.

The Extractive Reserve is located between the municipalities of Porto Velho, Buritis and Nova Mamoré, while the State Park occupies part of the municipalities of Guajará-Mirim and Nova Mamoré.

The interest of invading landowners to take illegal possession of the protected area dates back many years. In 2014, the rich land grabbers even tried to legally annul the creation of the Extractive Reserve, from 1998. With no success, the invaders had the audacity to ask for compensation in return for leaving the lands taken from the Union.

The intention to give the thousands of stolen hectares to the landowners of Rondonia was revealed in a speech made by the reactionary governor in a video posted on the Internet. In it, Marcos Rocha appears alongside the state’s Secretary of Environmental Development, the criminal police officer Elias Rezende de Oliveira, also of the extreme right. During the video, Bolsonarist Marcos Rocha still blatantly announces that this would be the first in a series of attacks, saying they intend to reduce the size of other reserves where there are “social and environmental conflicts.”

Thus, in a cynical and hypocritical way, the Rondonian governor indicates that the ‘resolution’ to the crimes of invasion committed by landowners is to reward those criminals with the fruit of their theft.

That is the public defense of crime! Another indisputable example of the pro-latifundium policy of the old state, rotten to the core.

At the same time that this anti-people state and the garbage press of the latifundium do not miss an opportunity to create allegations and criminalize the peasant struggle for land under the pretext of “defense of the environment,” “environmental protection,” and other deceptions, they treat the scandalous delivery of extractive areas to landowners with euphemisms like the “alteration of reserve limits” and “project to reduce reserve areas.”

It is these same agencies of the old state that persecute and criminalize landless and poor peasants in search of land, work, and housing when they organize to occupy public lands stolen by rich landowners, the agencies that devote their efforts to handing over indigenous and environmental areas to the rich landowners and their bands of gunmen.

Furthermore, these criminal measures against the Union’s property apply precisely in the region where thousands of landless people survive by working the land, where occupations by hundreds of landless peasant families, such as the Tiago dos Santos and Dois Amigos encampment, are growing. Masses of workers have bravely resisted the brutal evictions carried out by the troops of the military police to protect landowner criminals, like the well-known Antônio Martins, known as the old rooster, an element already condemned by the sharks’ own courts, for having taken land and bought a court ruling from a corrupt judge who illegally granted recognition of “productive land”, in lands of pristine forest. Not to mention the suspicious operations of army units around the União Bandeirantes, with which they aim to intimidate the population and spread rumors, defaming and accusing the LCP of crimes committed by landowners and their gunmen, authorities of the old state and its police. Likewise, after years of deforestation in Karipuna indigenous territory, and amidst clashes between landless peasants and the Union’s landowning thieves, old roosters, the federal police also carry out operations under the pretext of disbanding “gangs of land trespassers” to sell lots.

Pasture area in the Karipuna indigenous territory is invaded after being burned down by landowners. Photo: Fábio Tito/G1

This is an unofficial translation of an article published on the A Nova Democracia website on January 1. 

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