Note from BW of Brazil: It’s been a while since I approached this topic and now more than ever, we must inform the world of what’s happening to black Brazilians living in rural regions of the countries that were once inhabited by ancestors escaping from the brutal regime of slavery. If one really wants to be honest about what’s going on in Brazil today, you’d have to admit that black Brazilians are being assaulted in numerous ways.
Young black males represent more than 77% of the murders of people aged 15-29 in the country. Afro-Brazilians make up the majority of the country’s prison population, are the poorest citizens and the least educated. Add to that an ongoing undeclared war between black men and women, both of whom accuse the other of preferring white partners in long-term relationships and marriage. And then there’s the issue of land rights. You see, for many years during Brazil’s centuries long experiment with human bondage, tens of thousands of former slaves fled their captivity and constructed/joined quilombos, maroon societies.
Today, thousands of people continue to live on the lands where these ancestors lived and were protected by certain rights granted by Brazil’s Constitution of 1988. But with the impeachment of the nation’s first female president, the country’s current President, Michel Temer, seems hell bent on taking the country back to the stone ages with a series of unpopular policies that have led to his approval ratings plunging into the single digits. Yet another controversial move is what many see as an attempted land grab on quilombo and indigenous lands. As this story has been heating over the past year, I thought it would important to keep readers abreast of what’s going down. Before I get to recent updates in future posts, please get caught up on the situation in the article below.
Temer government represents setback for quilombolas, says professor
Courtesy of Palmares Foundation
May 22, 2016
The changes and extinction of Ministries of interim president Michel Temer has generated uncertainties and insecurities for some groups like the quilombolas, for example.
The communities that depend on the recognition and demarcation of land are no longer the allocation of Incra to return to the Ministry of Education and Culture that is in the hands of the Democratas (DEM party). The party is remembered for changing laws that guarantee rights to the remnants of quilombola communities.
Government Temer suspends demarcations of quilombos
Action in STF (Supreme Court) questions legality of demarcations of quilombola areas and government suspends activity until judgment is concluded
Courtesy of Opinião e Notícia
April 19, 2017
The government of President Michel Temer has ordered suspend the titles of quilombola territories in the country suspended until the conclusion in the Federal Supreme Court (STF) of an action that questions the legality of the demarcations. The information is from the BBC network. The judgment continues without a definite date.
It is the first time that the federal government has paralyzed demarcations of quilombola lands for an indefinite time since they began to be regularized in 1995. With this, thousands of communities are left without land titling, that is the last step of the demarcation and guarantees the possession of the territory.
According to the Instituto Nacional de Colonização e Reforma Agrária (Incra or National Institute of Colonization and Agrarian Reform), there are 220 titled territories in the country and another 1,536 are in the process of regularization.
Suspension of titling comes amid strong pressure from the ruralist congressional bench for the government to revise its policies toward traditional and indigenous communities. Minister of Justice Osmar Serraglio recently defended that the government should focus on the well-being of indigenous people and even declared that “land does not fill the belly.”
According to the BBC, an official letter sent from the Civil House to the Federal Public Prosecutor’s Office ordered the discontinuation of the degrees on account of a Direct Action of Unconstitutionality (ADI) brought about by PFL, currently the DEM, to the STF in 2004. The suit questions the validity of the demarcations.
In addition, the DEM says that the demarcation of these areas should have been regulated by Congress, not by presidential decree, and also questions the possibility of self-identification of these communities.
The demarcation of quilombola and indigenous lands is a right guaranteed by the Brazilian Constitution of 1988. The text affirms that “to the remnants of the communities of the quilombos that are occupying their lands it is recognized that the definitive property, and the State must issue the respective titles to them”.
According to prosecutor Júlio José Araújo Júnior, the Federal Public Prosecutor’s Office may appeal to the courts to force the government to fulfill this role.
Since 2012, the government has been reducing the amount to regularize these territories. At the time, the Union Budget reserved R$ 51.7 million for the activity. In 2017, R$ 4.1 million was allocated – the lowest volume since 2009.