Message of solidarity with the rural women

2006-03-23 00:00:00

An absurd situation is occurring in Rio Grande do Sul
in which the state, instead of defending the interests
of society, places all its institutions, especially
the public security forces, at the service of big
capital. Along these lines, they want to transform a
social question into a common crime.

The protest by the women of La Via Campesina on March
8 had as a goal to denounce to the world the
environmental and social crimes of the corporations
such as Aracruz that promote the “green desert”. They
acted in defense of life, of rural development based
on small farming, of agrarian reform, of preservation
of biodiversity and toward the building of food
sovereignty. The women’s action opened up a more
critical debate about agribusiness in Brazilian
society and in the world.

Why do the corporations and the media sell an image
that big businesses create a lot of jobs? Aracruz
Cellulose creates only one job for each 185 hectares
that are planted with eucalyptus, while small farms
create at least one job per hectare.

Strangely, instead of concerning themselves with
investigating the corporations, which (with financial
support from governments) are causing environmental
destruction, unemployment, and exodus from rural
areas, among other crimes, the state of Rio Grande do
Sul rushes to find a guilty party for the action
against the “green desert”.

The arbitrary actions of Police Chief Rudimar de
Freitas of Camaquã, accompanied by six policemen, in
the house belonging to the Association of Rural Women
Workers in Passo Fundo shows that the goal of the
police investigations is not to clarify the facts but
rather to incriminate the leaders and in this way deny
the legitimacy of the collective struggle carried out
by more than two thousand women against the “green

The police arrived around 2:00 p.m. on March 22 with
firearms in hand, broke down the door, invaded the
Association space, and took seven women and a child
who were there and forced them into the kitchen. Being
questioned very forcefully, the women did not
understand what was happening since the police had not
identified themselves and had not shown any search
warrant. Only later did they show a search warrant

The police acted in such an arbitrary fashion that the
women only had permission to contact a lawyer one hour
and 20 minutes after the invasion. The police did not
limit their search to the association office but
instead went through the whole house (kitchen, service
area, bedrooms, the women’s bags), throwing everything
on the ground. They took the CPUs of the computers,
CDs, diskettes, bus tickets, money, checkbooks, all
the documents of the Association, folders with the
projects and accounts, notebooks, notes, and symbols
of the Association. The police did not make a report
about what they appropriated.

In addition, the police invaded, without any legal
warrant, the headquarters of the National Association
of Rural Women, which operates on the lower floor of
the State Association with an entry on anther street.
In the national headquarters the police humiliated a
staff person and a woman who was there, burglarized
the desk drawers, and took money, bus tickets, CPUs,
diskettes and CDs. And this material was taken by the
police without any judicial order.

The police chief demanded that all the women present
themselves to testify that same afternoon, requiring
them to sign the summons and forcing them to testify
without the presence of a lawyer. Only when the lawyer
arrived were the women allowed to go to the bathroom
and began to be treated as human beings. The attitude
of the police chief and the policemen disrespected not
only the human rights and also revealed the machismo
of the institution because only with a masculine
presence representing them were the women finally

We reaffirm the struggle for human rights, especially
for women workers who are being attacked for defending
life, biodiversity, and the food sovereignty of the
Brazilian people.

La Via Campesina, Brazil