Caption: Art by Igor Totti
We reproduce, in full, an open letter produced by families of workers, mostly young people, who are fighting eviction from property that was abandoned until the occupation by these families about a year ago, in the Morro Alto neighborhood, in the municipality of Vespasiano, metropolitan region of Belo Horizonte.
The Independência occupation in Morro Alto asks for your support!
We are workers, fathers and mothers of families, young people and unemployed. We occupy this abandoned land near Copasa, in the neighborhood of Morro Alto, in Vespasiano, to get out of the suffocation of rent! We are fighting for a roof over our children and a more dignified life for our families! The construction company Araújo Lima claims to be the owner of this land, but when we arrived here over a year ago, everything was abandoned. The work that this construction company was going to start was blocked by the courts because it would have committed several environmental crimes. They want to push us with their bellies by means of dubious deeds and documents. It is very important to make it clear: we are not inside the property that the construction company Araújo Lima claims to own! The only truth in this whole story is that Araújo Lima has never done anything on this land!
Now, overnight and in the middle of the second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic, this so-called “justice,” which always plays the game of the rich and powerful, is threatening to evict us! They want to destroy everything we have built with the sweat of our own faces! They want to destroy our houses, which we have built with so much effort and sacrifice, brick by brick! They want to destroy our dream of a better life for our families! We will not accept this!
We live off odd jobs, we are servants, day laborers, street vendors. Most of us, in order to put food on the table, depend on the “Bolsa Família” and emergency assistance, which has just been cut. How are we going to do it? We don’t have money to pay rent and we don’t want to see our children in need. That we will not accept! We are children of Vespasiano and Morro Alto and all we want is to raise our children in the community where we were raised. Neither judges nor politicians have lifted a brick, nailed a nail, paid or done anything! None of them helped us in our most difficult moments, when we were under the canvas shacks at the edge of the stream, facing sun and rain, night and day.
Now, they come here sending messages and making threats, saying that a battalion will come, they will destroy our houses, that we will be arrested and given more pressure. They want to make us out as criminals, but they are the real bandits! There are many strange things in this story. It was the representatives of the construction company Araújo Lima themselves who encouraged us to build our houses here. What did they want with that? Our fight is fair and necessary! Housing is a right! We are more and more united and organized and most serious and honest people are on our side!
We ask for the support of the whole population for our cause. The residents of Morro Alto and surrounding neighborhoods know that most of the houses in the region were built through occupations. We are witnesses to how the lives of the people who have managed to get out of rent have improved and we also want to achieve a better life for our families! We demand an immediate end to all eviction threats! We demand the regularization of all the houses in the occupation! We demand sewage and electricity networks for all the houses in the occupation! Emergency assistance of R$ 1,000.00 for all the unemployed! Vaccination and tests now!
WE WILL RESIST AND WIN!
Morro Alto, Vespasiano, January 2021