The Guarani Kaiowá have returned to their ancestral Apy Ka’y land in Dourados, Brazil, despite the deaths of their leaders and children and further death threats by sugar cane ranchers. Act now to help them.
This is the fourth time the Apy Ka’y community has re-occupied its ‘tekoha’ (ancestral land) in Brazil’s Mato Grosso do Sul state since ranchers moved in almost 15 years ago, Survival International reports. Every time the Guarani returned the ranchers evicted them by force, and the community has been living by the side of the road in squalid and perilous conditions for the last ten years. The Apy Ka’y Guarani are now at great risk. They have already received three death threats and say that an attempt was made to poison their water supply after the re-occupation on Sunday.
The ranch that has taken over their land is now employing a notorious security firm to intimidate the Indians. Public Prosecutors in Brazil have described the firm, Gaspem, as a ‘private militia’, and called for it to be closed down. A 2009 report on the community’s treatment for the Public Prosecutor’s office concluded, ‘it is no exaggeration to talk of genocide.’
Damiana Cavanha, the leader of the Apy Ka’y community, said, ’We decided to reoccupy part of our traditional land where there is a well of good water and a bit of remaining forest. Faced with the threat of death, the loss of our relatives and so much suffering and pain, we decided for the fourth time to reoccupy our land, Apy Ka’y, on 15 September 2013.
‘We have decided to fight and die for our land.’
She has seen her husband and three of her children die on the roadside where they have lived for ten years.