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Sender: owner-imap@webmap.missouri.edu
Date: Thu, 4 Sep 97 12:14:42 CDT
From: S.I.S.I.S. <SISIS@envirolink.org>
Subject: A Victory for the Guarani!
Article: 17348

)Date: Tue, 02 Sep 1997 18:01:09 -0700 (PDT)
)From: SAIIC <saiic@igc.apc.org>
)Subject: A Victory for the Guarani!

Accord Gives Hope: Guarani Kaiowa of Sucuri'y

Maracaju, MS, from CIMI-MS
19 August 1997


Great news! We received the following note from CIMI-MS, who works closely with the Guarani-Kaiowa in Mato Grosso do Sul. The community of Sucuriy has been granted a part of their land in a provisional agreement accorded by a judge in Campo Grande. With CIMI, we see the accord as a real victory, and thank you all for lending your voice to the struggle. It sets a precedent for the other Guarani Kaiowa communities facing similar circumstances, and gives hope to all those who say Enough! we will stay on our land.

Let us hope and fight for more victories.

Amanaka'a Amazon Network

Campo Grande, Mato Grosso do Sul—After nine months of struggle, eviction, return, and constant threats of judicial eviction, on August 8th, the Guarani Kaiowa community of Sucuri'y closed a provisional agreement that permits it to stay on its lands until trial of the issue in court.

In the agreement the Guarani Kaiowa will retain nearly 65 hectares, part of the area recognized as indigenous land. Among these are two hectares which are dammed for raising fish, as well as an ancient burial ground, and conditions to start the process of internal re-grouping.

At first glance, the agreement might not seem to be a good one for the indigenous people, but in the circumstances, it seems to have been the best alternative. The agreement is provisional, and like other Guarani Kaiowa communities in similar situations, the community has made it clear that they will not leave the land they consider theirs. They have created a point of reference for the definitive return to and total occupation of the area, already recognized by the Brazilian government as immemorially indigenous.

At CIMI MS we see the accord as one more a victory in the Guarani Kaiowa people's hard fight for better living conditions. With their organization and manifested determination, with the support of all those in solidarity with the cause, this community has dampened the fury of those who took control of the land, and their allies: the rancher, the mayor of Maracaju, MS, and the rancher's union of the municipality. All wanted distance from the Guarani. They are now obligated to accept them. The indigenous people are, for now, firmly positioned in the middle of the ranches and near the city, which is only 3 kilometers away.

More important still: the negotiations were conducted with the Guarani themselves. No one spoke for them. They had to be admitted and heard at a hearing—a hearing that was presented on three occasions, in the Federal Court of Campo Grande, with the federal judge of the second civil jurisdiction presiding. Also on three occasions, the federal judge went out to the area in conflict. It is true that, right at the first, they had offered the community to return to the district of Aroeira, where they had stayed until they reoccupied their land. When faced with the community's negative response, they offered them another part of the area, property of the city of Maracaju. The community again rejected the offer. Finally, they had to accept that the Guarani Kaiowa would stay where they are, in the heart of their traditional territory.

Another important aspect of the signed accord is that the eviction order against the community, in effect for nearly five months, is suspended, and the community will no longer be bothered by that threat. And so the accord certainly permits possibilities for a new life and hope for the Guarani Kaiowa of Sucuri'y. The city leaders of Maracaju, who from the first had been against the community, will have to aid them in their subsistence.

Another result of the accord is that, if after expert judicial examination determined in the indigenous area, the consequent decision of the judge is ratified, thereby legally deeming the territory as indigenous land, the Guarani Kaiowa will occupy the entire area under the protection of justice.

Finally, we believe that with support through the next six months while the community builds a new life, the people of Sucuriy will follow their own path. With the village reunified after being forced off their land for the past ten years, they will have the strength to occupy the full extent of the small piece of land which is now theirs.

We would like to thank all those who supported—and continue to support - the Guarani Kaiowa of Mato Grosso do Sul.

In solidarity, CIMI-MS
Campo Grande, Mato Grosso do Sul