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Valdelice Veron is in France from July 20th to 26th, 2015, to meet with authorities, personalities, and French media, as well as to go to the United Nations in Geneva. She is coming to set off the alarm about her people's tragic situation : the Guarani-Kaiowá are harassed by farmers who destroy their lands in the name of sugarcane monoculture, used to produce biofuel.
The Guarani Kaiowá people’s ordeal, in Mato Grosso do Sul, Brazil, was narrated in several documentaries, and in Europe in the movie “Birdwatchers” – winner of the One World Media Award in 2010. Valdelice Veron is the most emblematic spokesperson for these 45,000 souls, torn away from their traditional land. She will be travelling abroad for the first time, to broadcast a humanitarian and environmental wake up call.
Daughter of a great chief of the Takuara community – murdered by one of the farmers to dispossess the Guarani Kaiowá of most of their ancestral land in the name of sugarcane monoculture or ethanol production – Valdelice Veron has spent her life fighting for her people’s survival and the reclaiming of their land. She has received death threats, never takes the same way twice, and yet has no protection she still has to go unprotected. This does not keep her from bravely looking out for her people, many of whom live in makeshift camps, under canvas sheets, by the highways slashing through their lands. Valdelice regularly takes part in meetings with the highest Brazilian authorities, in order to come to an agreement implementing sustainable and efficient solutions to preserve her people and the Amazon Rainforest.
The Guarani Kaiowá people has traditionally occupied part of Mato Grosso do Sul, in Brazil, but certain communities can be found in Paraguay, or in Argentina. In Brazil, illegal appropriation continues to gain ground, since to this day there has not been a demarcation of the Guarani Kaiowá territories, in spite of a constitutional (1988) obligation to do so.
In 2012, the Guarani Kaiowá people has sent out a deeply moving call for global support, after local authorities issued an eviction notice against them. This call spread swiftly and broadly, thanks to social networking, with hundreds of thousands of people adding the quote “I am Guarani Kaiowá” to their profile picture. Extracts:
“We want to die and be buried next to our ancestors, right here. We ask the government and the Federal Justice not to issue this eviction notice. We demand that our collective death be decreed and that we all be buried here. We ask that our definitive decimation / utter extinction be declared, and that tractors be used to open our mass grave. This is our demand to federal judges. (…) Therefore we expect this decision from the Federal Justice: to decree the collective death of the Guarani-Kaiowá de Pyelito Kue/Mbarakay and to bury us here.”
Thanks to the great support movement generated by this open letter, and especially to reactions on social networks, Dilma Roussef, the Brazilian President, and Brazilian authorities had to issue a ruling suspending the eviction notice, on October 30th, 2012.
Today, the Guarani Kaiowá are still frequent victims of violent and sometimes murderous assaults, as was the case for Chiefs Anísio Lopes, Anísio Gomes, Dorival Benites, Marçal de Souza, Tupã i, for Rolindo de Veira and Genivaldo, two teachers, and for hundreds of others, including children. Valdelice Veron’s father himself, Chief Guarani Kaiowá Marcos Veron, was murdered for his struggle to protect his people’s land.
Faced with murders, death threats, and omissions by police authorities and the judiciary, the Guarani Kaiowá people is still determined to carry on their unflinching and unending fight to preserve their ancestral lands.
In spite of the unremitting assaults and attacks they are enduring, the Guarani Kaiowá remain non-violent, and try to use the judiciary. But they also – and above all – try to raise awareness on a national, and now global scale.
© Planète Amazone - translated by Mahault Thillaye
Date : 18/07/2015