Spot Report: Paramilitarism and Poetry in Old Paraíba

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Júarez Távora, Paraíba, pop. 6,979 (est. 2006)

The Pastorial Land Comission (CPT) charges that on December 9, José Luiz’s home was invaded by armed goons (capangas), some wearing hoods. The bandits not only tied up and tortured the homesteader but also beat his children, including a girl 4, and an adolescent girl, 15. They also tried to rape the lady of the house, but did not consummate the act in the face of the woman’s pleading. Even so, she was stripped naked and an unidentified liquid introduced into her vagina.

Paraiba.com.br reports on more rural militia-themed conflicts. Some sort of concerted federal undertaking on this problem might be expected in the coming months, judging from the flurry of deliberations and hearings.

See also

Deputado Luiz Couto (PT-PB) anunciou nesta quinta-feira, 20, que estará em Brasília na próxima semana para uma audiência com o ministro da Justiça, Tarso Genro, a quem pedirá providências concretas, se possível com a utilização de efetivo da Polícia Federal, para desbaratar “quadrilhas de milícias privadas” que atuam na Paraíba.

Congressmember Luiz Couto of Paraíba announced today that he will be in Brasília next week for an audience with Minister of Justice Genro, from whom he will request concrete measures, using federal police resources if possible, to put an end to “private militias” acting in the state.

Como deputado federal e presidente da Comissão de Direitos Humanos e Minorias da Câmara Federal, Luiz Couto resolveu recorrer ao ministro da Justiça depois de, segundo ele, “não obter qualquer resposta nem providência da parte do governador Cássio Cunha Lima (PSDB) e do secretário de Segurança Pública do Estado, Eitel Santiago, no sentido de investigar e prender os responsáveis pela violência cometida contra a família do posseiro José Luiz da Silva, da Fazenda Quirino, município de Juarez Távora.

As a federal lawmaker and president of the Human and Minority Rights committee in the lower house, Couto decided to appeal to the minister of Justice after he says, “not getting any response from Cássio Cunha Lima and the state secretary of public safety, Eitel Santiago, with regard to investigating and arresting those responsible for violance against the family of squatter [homesteader] José Luiz da Silva of the Quirino plantation in Juarez Távora township.

Cunha Lima had his mandate revoked by the state election tribunal for vote-buying, and awaits the result of an appeal to the federal election tribunal, last I heard. G1 reported:

O MPE acusa o governador de ter praticado abuso do poder político e econômico, por causa da distribuição de cerca de R$ 4,5 milhões no início do ano eleitoral. Segundo a denúncia, foram distribuídos 30 mil cheques de R$ 150 a R$ 200.De acordo com o MPE, não havia base legal orçamentária para execução do programa de distribuição de cheques nem exigência de comprovação de condição de carência do beneficiário.

The state prosecutor accuses the governor of abusing political and economic power over the distribution of R$4.5 million at the beginning of the election year. He is charged with distributing 30,000 checks in amounts ranging from R$150 to R$200. According to prosecutors, there was no legal basis in the state budget for carrying out the check distribution program, nor any requirement that the beneficiaries prove that they were in need of assistance.

His father, who governed the state from 1991-194, recently (October 31) renounced his mandate as a federal lawmaker to avoid a trial in the Supreme Court over an incident in which he walked into a restaurant and pumped three bullets into a political adversary.

In front of startled witnesses, as the old saying goes. The legal maneuver means the pending case, which has been pending forever and a day, must now be remanded to a lower court and start all over again. As an elected lawmaker, The Elder had a right to a “privileged forum.”

Cunha Lima The Elder is also a published poet and member of the Paraíban Order of Letters, a topic to which his Wikipedia devotes more space than to his pumping three bullets into a political adversary in front of the proverbial startled witnesses.

“Immortal”:

Pode até meu amor já ter morrido. Podes dizer que teu amor morreu. Só não pode morrer, nem faz sentido, aquele amor que nosso amor viveu.

It may even be true that my love has died. You may say that your love is dead. But the love that our love lived cannot die, nor would it make any sense.

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Back to the appeal to the Minister of Justice:

Segundo denúncia da Comissão Pastoral da Terra (CPT), no último dia 9 a residência de José Luiz foi invadida por capangas armados, alguns deles encapuzados. Os bandidos não só amarraram e torturam o posseiro como ainda bateram nos filhos deles, entre os quais uma criança de quatro anos e uma adolescente de 15. Eles ainda tentaram estuprar a dona da casa, mas não consumaram o ato diante das súplicas da mulher. Ainda assim, ela foi despida e na sua vagina introduzido um líquido não identificado.

The Pastorial Land Comission (CPT) charges that on December 9, José Luiz’s home was invaded by armed goons (capangas), some wearing hoods. The bandits not only tied up and tortured the homesteader but also beat his children, including a girl 4, and an adolescent girl, 15. They also tried to rape the lady of the house, but did not consummate the act in the fact of the woman’s pleading. Even so, she was stripped naked and an unidentified liquid introduced into her vagina.

The CPT is affiliated with the international Pax Christi movement.

“Apesar de toda essa brutalidade, ninguém foi preso até agora e, conforme o relato da CPT, a ação teria sido organizada e comandada pelo policial civil Sérgio de Souza Azevedo, que responde a vários processos por torturas e crimes de extermínio contra posseiros e sem terra na Paraíba, já foi condenado pela Justiça, mas continua solto, impune e atuante”, denuncia o parlamentar-religioso.

“Despite all this brutality, no one has been arrested and, according to the CPT report, the action was organized and led by state judicial policeman Sérgio de Souza Azevedo, who faces various charges of torture and death-squad crimes against homesteaders and landless persons in Paraíba, has already been found guilty by a court, but remains free, unpunished and active,” the pastor-lawmaker said.

Luiz Couto, inclusive, chama Sérgio de Souza de “comandante das milícias armadas privadas na Paraíba”, e diz que ele nunca foi preso porque “conta com a proteção de gente graúda no Estado”.

Luiz Couto even calls Sérgio de Souza “The commander of armed private militias in Paraíba” and says he was never jailed because “he counts on the protection of powerful people in the state.”

Couto has been denouncing de Souza for at least 10 years, according to Global Justice.

A bicameral legislative commission investigated rural violence in 2005, but the final report was defeated by lawmakers of the Rural Bloc who boycotted its sessions. November 30, 2005:

Por 13 votos a oito, os ruralistas derrubaram hoje o relatório da CPMI da Terra apresentado por João Alfredo (PSOL/CE). Votaram parlamentares que nunca compareceram a uma só reunião da Comissão mesmo fazendo parte dela, pela representação partidária garantida no regimento do Congresso. João retirou-se da reunião após a votação de seu Relatório, antecedida de quase quatro horas de discussão, e disse que vai publicá-lo e transformá-lo num “libelo pela reforma agrária”.

Lawmakers voted on the report who had not attended a single session, though named to the commission because of rules on partisan proportionality.

I believe Demosthenes Torres replaced Romeu Tuma as senior member for the minority on that commission. Reading.

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A minority report published instead of the
relator‘s report. Omits mention of Paraíba or militia violence. Proposes getting a warrant to audit the finances of the Brasil de Fato news agency.  Reading.

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