38 year old Eliseu Queres was a rural worker and brick layer in Colniza, Mato Grosso, 1,065 km from Cuiabá. Elizeu shared his house with his brother, Enoque Queres, on the road that borders the farm, where countless people now live, after 200 families were evicted from the farm due to an eviction warrant issued by the judge of the Agrarian Court of Cuiabá last year.
The first agrarian conflict of 2019, already under the new government of Jair Bolsonaro, took place last Saturday 25th January, in Colniza, Mato Grosso, 1,065 km from Cuiabá. The attack on Fazenda Agropecuária Bauru, known as Fazenda Magali, belonging to the family of former state deputy José Riva (PP), culminated in the death of bricklayer Eliseu Queres, 38, in addition to leaving eight people injured – three of them in serious condition.
Enoque describes his brother as a simple person and summarizes everything that happened as an act of cowardice. “My brother was simple, he worked in construction and had no malice. He was a quiet person, with a huge heart and had many friends ”, he recalls. Enoque took a deep breath, and followed with, “It was cowardice what they did to him. There was no reason to shoot, no one was armed ”.
According to Enoque, the group was taking water from the Traíra River that runs through the farm, the only possible place to obtain water for those who live on the road. It was at that moment that security guards arrested two of them. “My brother went with other people to try to talk and ask them to release them, I continued walking with the rest of the staff and suddenly the shots started. Unfortunately, when I was able to get close to my brother he was already dead ”, he says.
The Unifort Company, hired to provide security for the area, informed the press that a group of security guards were allegedly attacked and surprised by firearm shots, which hit the car used by the team to carry out rounds. In addition, the company claims that people were equipped with sickles and machetes.
In a press release, ex-deputy Riva regretted what had happened, said that he fears for the lives of all those involved and said that security guards reacted to the squatters, saying allegedly “… [security guards] were ambushed by third parties, heavily armed, who attacked the lives of security guards and farm employees,” explained Silval
Witnesses said the squatters were unarmed. The Civil Police found only bullet fragments of the weapons used by security guards. According to the agency, people were housed about 5 kilometers from the property’s boundaries and at the time of the conflict, were on a dirt road that cuts through the farm. “On Saturday, four security guards were charged for one murder and nine counts of attempted murder. They were released after a court decision on Sunday night. Due to rumours that there might be lynching of the suspects in an act of retaliation, monitoring was carried out by the Special Operations Management (GOE), of the Civil Judicial Police, to the city of Juína, aimed at protecting of the security guards, ”said the agency , via the press office.
The murder, according to the CPT, was a tragedy but no surprise to the local community. A note, published in November last year, by the CPT and the Mato Grosso Human and Land Rights Forum, warned of the seriousness of the situation in the region of the farm and that a massacre could happen if nothing was done. Although there were no other deaths on Saturday 25th January, the attack brings to mind the slaughter that took place in 2017, where nine rural workers were tortured and killed in Taquaruçu do Norte, a rural part of the city.
Elizabete Fatima Flores, lawyer and regional coordinator of the CPT, explains that the conflict has persisted since 2000, and defines all these years of negotiations between the possible owners of the land and the people who struggle for housing as a period of cruelty perpetrated by the state itself that still has not decided on a viable solution. “The situation is complex. We have strong indications that land grabbing occurred there. We even filed a complaint and demanded that the Federal Attorney General’s Office enter into the annulment of the titles, because at the time, the current constitution said that Congress should approve the acquisition of land above 2,500 hectares, and there are titles above that that were not approved. ”, He explains.
More info HERE
Author: Leandro Barbosa