Featured image: Poster of the FNL. Source: FNL

We publish an unofficial translation of the article of A Nova Democracia:

Geraldo Pires, national leader of the FNL, was shot in the hand in Pirapora, Minas Gerais. The FNL responded by reaffirming its commitment to continue the struggle for the land.

The member of the National Direction of the National Front of Struggle – Countryside and City (FNL), Geraldo Pires de Oliveira, of 52 years old, was the target of a shooting attack in the municipality of Pirapora, in Minas Gerais. The man was hit in the hand while riding a motorcycle and is hospitalized. Geraldinho, as he is known, is a prominent leader of the struggle for land in the region and had previously suffered threats and kidnappings from goons and police.

The ambush took place after Geraldo left the Camp Farm Prata, one of the FNL’s occupation sites in the state of Minas Gerais.

In a statement , the FNL stated that he “reaffirms his commitment to continue the struggle for the land” and that “this attack is one of the many carried out by the armed militias of big landlords against the leaders of landless workers, pastors and trade unionists”.

Constant repression

The Camp Farm Prata is one of the FNL’s occupation sites in the State of Minas Gerais. Before being occupied by peasants, the farm was unproductive. The lands were mortgaged more than 20 years ago due to an accumulation of unpaid debts, and currently belongs to the State.

This does not stop threats and persecution against peasants and leaders who occupy the land. In June 2023, Geraldo was kidnapped by military police and accused of being the leader of land occupations in the region. The FNL denounced the case as part of the pro-latifundia actions of the Military Police in collusion with the goons.

“Everyone is aware that the farms in the region work with armed militias, that is, military police officers who do so-called “odd jobs”, when on their days off, they go to work […] for the big landlords”, said the statement.

Year after year, repression continues

The attack committed in the first days of 2024 follows the strategy of other serious attacks on the masses, activists and leaders of the struggle for land of last year, an expression of the resurgence of the struggle for land in the country.

The first month of 2023 was also marked by attacks of this type, which took the lives of three peasants in January alone. They were Patrick Gasparini, Raniel Laurindo and Rodrigo Hawerroth.

The tendency did not change throughout the year, with new murders, torture, invasions and intimidation against peasants, indigenous people, quilombolas and other masses struggling for land in the country. With the rise of these conflicts, organizations such as the League of Poor Peasants (LCP) issued a statement calling on peasants to form self-defense armed groups to resist the attacks by goons.

Peasants also demonstrated firm determination to maintain the struggle for land in the form of new occupations and defense of lands already taken. From February to December, land seizures or important mobilizations to defend the occupied territories took place from the North to the South of the Country, in a movement that should continue to spread in the coming months.