The eviction of 450 families from the camp of the Landless Rural Workers’ Movement (NST) called Quilombo Campo Grande has generated widespread backlash. The families have lived at Quilombo Campo Grande for the past two decades where they have developed agroecological production, built homes and an educational facility, the Eduardo Galeano Popular School.
Movements and organizations across Brazil and the world have further highlighted that a violent eviction in the midst of a global public health emergency, which is taking a particularly serious toll on Brazil due to the right-wing government’s mismanagement, is criminal.
Marxist academics and activists Noam Chomsky and Vijay Prashad joined hundreds of people globally denouncing the eviction and standing in solidarity with the MST.
Statement on the Eviction of 450 families from Quilombo Campo Grande by Noam Chomsky and Vijay Prashad.
On August 12, Governor Romeu Zema of Minas Gerais sent in the military police to evict 450 families from the twenty two-year old Quilombo Campo Grande. For three days they surrounded the camp, intimidating families, in an attempt to force them to leave their land, but the landless families resisted. On August 14, using tear gas and sound grenades, they were finally successful. They destroyed a community that had built homes and grew organic crops (including coffee, sold as Café Guaîi). In 1996, the families, organized by the Movement for Landless Workers (MST), had taken over an abandoned sugar plantation (Ariadnópolis, which was owned by the Azevedo Brothers Agricultural Company); Jodil Agricultural Holdings, one of Brazil’s largest coffee producers, owned by João Faria da Silva, wanted the eviction so that it could take over production from the cooperative.
As a sign of disregard, the Governor and military police destroyed the Eduardo Galeano Popular School, which educated children and adults. As friends of Eduardo Galeano (1940-2015), the conscience of South America, we are especially pained by the eviction and the destruction.
This eviction took place a few days after the death of Bishop Pedro Casaldáliga (1928-2020), whose life was a tribute to the struggles for emancipation of the poor. This eviction is an insult to his memory, the man who sang,
I believe in the International
of heads held high,
of speaking as equal to equal,
and of hands linked together.
That is the way to live, hand linked together, not through tear gas and bullets fired at the peasantry by the military police.
We condemn the eviction of the families, and the destruction of their land and their school. We stand with the families of Quilombo Campo Grande.