On May 22, 2016, the bodies of 14 year old Cleidiane Alves Teodoro, and 25 year old Luiz Carlos da Silva, were found floating in the Candeira River, in the Vale do Jamari region, in Buritis, Rondônia. The bodies showed signs of having been shot in the head and stabbed in the abdomen.
Cleidiane and Luiz Carlos were the leaders of Luiz Carlos Settlement (named after another peasant with the same name who disappeared in 2014) and for this reason they have been assassinated. The settlement is located in the area of Fazenda Fluminense, in Monte Negro, an area devastated by land conflicts because of tensions between large landowners and the peasants, who have been demanding agrarian reform in the region.
The murder of Cleidiane and her partner, Luiz Carlos, is not an isolated incident. Unfortunately, the assassination happened in a context of escalating violence against land rights defenders in Brazil. According to the Pastoral Land Commission (Comissão Pastoral da Terra – CPT), in the state of Rondônia 21 people were murdered due to agrarian conflicts in the year of 2016. In total, 61 defenders were killed in Brazil in 2016 for crimes related to land issues. These numbers emphasize the immense courage of those farming communities who stand for their land rights against rural elites, despite of the threats and violence that they have been suffering.