A Guarani Indian man was killed yesterday in southern Brazil. The killing, according to Survival's site, was perpetrated by gunmen working for the cattle ranchers who have occupied his community’s land. According to the leader of Paraguassú community, Celso Rodrigues, 42, "was ambushed by two gunmen whilst he was walking near a stream. His father is very sad and angry, as am I… it is very sad to see our relatives die".
Last August, the Guarani of Paraguassú reoccupied part of their ancestral land, known as Arroio Korá. They have since suffered numerous episodes of violence and intimidation.
A Guarani man at Arroio Korá told Survival, "Our families were forced off this land. We’ve decided to return; our food is our land. I have had to run from bullets several times. It really hurts that the ranchers continue to threaten us, but we have decided to stay here. The rancher would have to kill us all to make us leave".
This latest incident illustrates the extreme tension and violence Indians in the state of Mato Grosso do Sul are enduring as a result of the government’s failure to map out their ancestral lands, in violation of the law. Following the theft of their land to make way for cattle ranches and soya and sugarcane plantations, many Indians live in overcrowded reserves or roadside camps where they are subject to malnutrition, alcoholism and violence. The murder follows the killing of a Terena Indian by police last month.