From: Consolata Missionaries of Roraima (Brazil)
Email: <imcrr@technet.com.br>
Date: Boa Vista, 02/24/00

This past February 9th, 2000, the Indians started a roadblock in the
Raposa-Serra do Sol Area, located in the Northern part of the state of
Roraima (Brazil).
The roadblock is going on peacefully, without major problems. Thus far no
acts of violence have been reported.
The Indians want to deny access to their region to anyone carrying mining
equipment, fuel and alcoholic beverages.
They stop every car and truck, talk to the drivers explaining why they have
adopted this policy; inspect carefully the vehicles searching for forbidden
mining equipment and alcoholic beverages.

This roadblock by the Indians has been strongly criticized by the Brazilian
mayor of Uiramutan, a village in the northernmost municipality of Roraima.
Talking to a local newspaper, he described it as an "illegal action and an
usurpation". The local lawyer of FUNAI's (Brazilian Agency for the Welfare
of the Indians) replied to the mayor stating that this is an Indian right
of self-defense like the workers' right to strike.

During the first few days the local press ignored the Indians' action, but
-with the passing of time- the local newspapers are criticizing more and
more the Indians roadblock and its supporters, people like Mr. Walter
Bloss, the FUNAI administrator. As usual, the interviews by the local
press are onesided, reporting only statements made by some Indians that
have sided with the local Government against the Raposa-Serra do Sol.

The Governor's Statement.
On Feb. 17, 2000, Mr. Neudo Campos, the Governor of Roraima, stated to the
Indians -as it was reported by the local newspaper "Folha de Boa Vista":
"if the indigenous area of Raposa-Serra do Sol is officially
recognized/ratified by the Federal Government, the Roraima Government will
abandon its responsibility of running the indigenous schools, thus the
Indian children would be the greatest innocent victims."

The Governor's threat would close the 138 indigenous schools spread all
over Raposa Serra do Sol. He is thus threatening the parents of those
students so that they may re-consider their policy of insisting on the
ratification of their land. This should be seen as a form of psychological
terrorism without taking into consideration the law.

International Pressure.
On Feb 17, 200, the local newspaper "Folha de Boa Vista" complained that
the successful intervention of our international friends on behalf of the
Indians is creating political troubles to the Government of Roraima. This
international solidarity is upsetting several Brazilian public figures.

A Battle Won.
A few days ago the Supreme Tribunal of Justice in Brasilia has refused to
accept the request by a rice grower --who is illegally residing inside the
Raposa-Serra do Sol-who was trying to stop the process of
recognizing/ratifying the local indigenous area. .Mr. Carlos Frederico
Marés, the President of the FUNAI, was supposed to visit Roraima by mid
February 2000, but thus far there are no signs of his coming to resolve the
present impact. He was supposed to come last January and postponed the
trip to mid February.


A Dangerous Move.
On Feb. 16, 2000 a delegation of Roraima politicians has addressed the
Chief of the "Casa Civil" in Brasília to obtain a private audience with
Fernando Henrique Cardoso, the President of Brazil. Their strategy is to
prevent any form of recognizing/ratifying the Raposa-Serra do Sol as a
unique area.


Assassination of Tuxawa Vitor, Chief of Soco's Village. On Feb 7, 2000 a
drunk Indian assassinated Tuxawa Vitor, Chief of Soco's village. It turned
out that a Brazilian shopkeeper sold the alcoholic beverage [cachaça] to
the Indian who killed the chief.


Brazil's 500th Years Celebration. On April 21, 2000, Brazil will celebrate
the 500 years of the discovery of this large country by the Portuguese
Pedro Alvares Cabral. This is an important historical event that can be
turn on favor of the Indian cause if we put pressure on the Brazilian
Government. Great challenges are ahead for the Roraima Indians.


Boa Vista, 18/02/00


Giorgio Dal Ben



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