Have you ever imagined how it would be if you were evicted of your home, where you have been living for more than 50 years? After being expelled, how would you feel to see your home in pieces and spread to the ground? We wish these lines were metaphorical and it were all a fantasy, however, unfortunately it is not. Raimunda, 73, a resident of Gleba Tauá in Barra do Ouro town, Tocantins, is living all this today – November, 12th, 2015.

     The Bulletin 'Notícias do Pé do Morro' (Morro Foot News), usually written by Rafael Oliveira, a young Dominican member of the Pastoral Land Commission - CPT, for the first time receives different writers. Rafa could not write this edition because he was under arrested by military police for helping defend, among other lives, Raimunda. As their mission is also ours, we share now the story of Ms. Raimunda and Rafael.

        Today (12), Raimunda and more than 30 families who live in the Gleba Tauá suffered an attempted expel from their homes. The military police under the order of the District Judge of Goiatins (Tocantins, Brazil), Luatom Bezerra, held the action of truculent way repossession. Residents and CPT's members who were monitoring the eviction suffered assaults for resisting peacefully. Rafael Oliveira, Friar Xavier Plassat, op, Evandro Angels, Pedro Antonio Ribeiro, Antonio Filho - who are CPT's members - and two settlers of Gleba Tauá were arrested.

The disastrous military police action, present with about 25 policemen, which was supported by 10 "soldiers" and Emilio Binotto’s tractors, started by this morning. CPT’s members, who negotiated a suspension of repossession and accompanied the action abuses, could not be omitted when, in truculent manner, the police dragged Ms. Raimunda’s daughter, who resisted leaving out your home. CPT was trying to negotiated, and Ms. Raimunda, who asked her daughter to be treated well because she has health problems, was not heard; in fact, the police, unprepared, called for the violent intervention, assaulted and under arrested residents and CPT’s members. People who just defended the constitutional right to housing. They stayed part of the day stuck in a military police van, being transported to a police department. Only in the late afternoon they signed a term, provided testimonials and were released. In the arm, neck and other body parts, there were the marks of beatings.

"Ms Raimunda’s daughter was dragged by the military police, as if it were something!! The misplaced action made a pregnant woman feel sick. We CPT’s members, and residents of Gleba Tauá, were hanged, kicked, dragged, arms twisted by this military police. We are now held inside a van. Meanwhile, other families are being evicted", says Rafael Oliveira.

By the afternoon, while the eviction was in action, the commander in charge needed to return to Raimunda's house to try to retrieve his lost radio. When he arrived, he found a tractor, driven by workers of the farmer Binotto, destroying Raimunda's house, bringing everything to pieces. Since the destroying of homes during reintegration actions does not follow the guidelines for the Military Police, the commander decided to have the operation called off. He called to judge Luatom Bezerra notifying the suspension, and the judge, reinforcing his arbitrary position, did not want to authorize it. Galdly, the commander proceeded according to the laws in the situation.

Blind Justice

Threats, aggressions and right violations are part of the routine of more than 30 families that have been living in Gleba Tauá for years. It all adds up to the eminent risk of losing their homes, in which most of them have lived, on average, more than 50 years. According to CPT, the place “has been a constant target of deforestation by a businessman from Santa Catarina (state in the southern Brazil) whose name is Emilio Binotto, who has also faked a document related to land ownership (land grabbing) in order to grow soybeans, corn and raise cattle. In May, 2015, at least five huge tractors were responsible for taking down every Cerrado vegetation (tropical savanna ecoregion of Brazil) they could.”

Besides attacks toward residents of Gleba, the farmer Binotto also committed serious environmental crimes. CPT states: “The farmer wanted to destroy an area which could be compared to 800 soccer fields, but this mark had already been overcome. The total area that has already been deforested since the arrival of Binotto can reach 11 thousand hectares (110 Square kilometers). Accompanied by CPT from Araguaína (Tocantins, Brazil), about 20 traditional families, that have lived over 50 years in the place; and another 66 families that had established themselves in the place in the past decade, are getting stranded and trapped due to the deforestation brutal force and the violence by the workers of the unfair farmer.”

You might wonder: legally, to whom do the lands belong, after all? Do they belong to the families that have lived there for 3 generations or to one farmer alone? Sadly, in the society we live in now, “just” the stories of lives that have lived there for over 50 years are not enough. It must be in accordance to the law. Well, “in accordance to the law”, we will explain the facts.

Also according to CPT, the areas from Gleba Tauá belong to the Union. Which means, they belong to the Brazilian federal government. Nevertheless, “the judge of the district of Goiatins (Tocantins, Brazil) has been granted many decisions in favor of land grabbers, without any request for specialized investigation on the areas, based only in documents that worth nothing and failing to analyse any proof the residents of the area have shown to proof their living in the place for decades”, so have members of CPT reported. It is worth mentioning the same judge did not take into consideration the many documents from Ministério do Desenvolvimento Agrário (Brazilian Ministry of Agrarian Development) that deny the request for “land regularization” done by Binotto team, that fractionated over 11 thousand hectares of land from the Union in the name of oranges, becoming a truthful “orangery”.

Lastly, according to the guidelines to the fulfillment for repossession of Tocantins Military Police, it is illegal to evict anyone who does not have anywhere else to live. The residents of Gleba Tauá did not have this right. To reintegrate ownerships should be easy, isn’t that so, Mister Binotto? What would you tell us about it, Mister judge?

What now, Raimunda?

The eviction order was suspended by the judge, but that does not prevent it from happening again in the future. With the next chapters of the soap opera still undefined, it has left us, from near or far, to stand along with Raimunda, Rafael and all other residents of the Gleba Taua and show that ''We are watching!'', as it was played relentlessly by the social networks during the day.

Follow the posts through the website, facebook and twitter of the Pastoral Land Commission (in portuguese Comissão Pastoral da Terra – CPT).

If you want to contact the Regional CPT members Araguaia - Tocantins, call +55 63 3412-3200.

written by Bruno Alface and Osvaldo Meca members of  DYM Brasil