Brazil: forces against democracy and justice at work

Father Sergio Paulo Vaillant S.J. from Manaus writes to our Secretary that the New Year has not started with a good omen in Northern Brazil: he speaks of mounting social tensions, threats against indigenous people and campesinos. He mentions in particular the difficult situation of the Catholic Church in Roraima State: according to the Roraima Indian Council (CIR), three missionaries of the Institute of Consolation were abducted last week. The missionaries were at Surumu, north of Boa Vista in Roraima State, in a mission that runs agricultural and breeding training activities. Fortunately, the latest news from Roraima is that, three days after being kidnapped, the missionaries have been released. The outbreak of violence is likely to be connected with the announcement by the Federal Government that it was going to accord legal and official recognition to the Indian Territory ?Raposa Serra do Sol? (where Surumu mission is located). This resolution is opposed by the big rice farmers of the area as they believe that their interests will be affected. Father Vaillant is collaborating in the organization of an online petition asking the Federal Government to intervene peacefully in order ?to guarantee the respect of human rights and the free right of mobilization in the region?, as well as to take ?the necessary measures to assure the respect of the Federal decisions and the security of Indian People and those who work with them?. ?There are many forces?, he concludes, ?working against democracy, justice and the poor!?. [HL40105] F. Paulo Sergio Vaillant, S.J., Amazonian Itinerant Group and Social Apostolate Coordinator of Brasil,