Wednesday, November 7, 2007


Look at this unholy convergence of interests: In one same event we have multinational corporations developing GMO crops controlling large estates from which landless farmers were evicted contracting private security firms to kill the land activists.

"When a Brazilian peasant organiser led a group of landless farmers on to a European-owned farm last month he was making an environmental protest as well as seeking farmland for about 20 families to cultivate.

Within hours, Valmir Mota de Oliveira, 42, and known as "Keno" would be dead, killed execution-style by two shots to the chest. A security guard was also killed in the shooting.

Keno died trying to stop the development of a research farm for genetically modified soya and corn next to the environmentally sensitive Iguacu National Park, becoming in the process a martyr for the anti-GM movement.

What happened at the seeds research site of the Swiss multinational Syngenta is hotly disputed. What is agreed is that the land invaders – who had been evicted from the same farm in July – set off fireworks as they arrived on the morning of 21 October, causing the unarmed guards to flee and seek help. Within a few hours, an armed militia showed up at the farm on a minibus and, shortly afterwards, Keno was killed and several more protesters were seriously injured. What role Syngenta may have played in ordering the militia to drive away the peasants is at the centre of a bitter dispute. It has turned the incident at its Cascavel research farm into a cause célèbre for the landless workers movement in Brazil where four million peasant families are trying to get access to farmland." (Thanks Rania)

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