Agripino Soares da Silva was president of the Union of Rural Workers in Brejo do Mei. He was also one of the leaders of the more than 7,000 landless farmers who had been camped for days at INCRA headquarters. INCRA is the Instituto Nacional de Colonização e Reforma Agrária, a federal government agency which administers the land reform programme. The demonstrators were demanding the allocation of resources for investment in the agrarian reform programme.
On 11 May 1999 Agripino’s body was found in an advanced state of decomposition, on the edge of a road in the municipality of Marabá, Pará. He had been missing for 6 days and had been shot several times.