Photo: Guarani Indians Under Siege in Brazil
A Guarani man in his 20s has died of his wounds following a violent attack, allegedly by gunmen employed by Brazilian cattle ranchers.
Teodoro Ricardi was left fatally injured, and died at the side of a road in the central-western state of Mato Grosso do Sul on Tuesday. He had been stabbed seven times and his body was covered with bruises.
The attack occurred close to the São Luiz ranch, from where two Guarani witnesses say they saw men running into the forest after the incident. The ranch occupies the Guarani’s ancestral land. Teodoro’s community, Y’poi, has been besieged since it reoccupied part of its land in 2010.
The Guarani are trapped by the ranchers, who are restricting the Indians’ access to medical care.
A Guarani from Y’poi told Survival International, ‘We are being persecuted. We are treated like animals, killed and thrown on the streets.’
The Guarani of Mato Grosso do Sul, who are desperately trying to recover a fraction of their original territories, face bitter and violent resistance from wealthy ranchers and soya and sugar cane plantation owners.
Survival’s Director Stephen Corry said today, ‘The Guarani have suffered enough without Teodoro’s murder adding to their grief. His death, like those before him, could have been prevented if the Brazilian government had allowed the Guarani to live on land that is in fact rightfully theirs.’
In 2009 UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay displayed her shock at the Guarani struggle, by describing the tribe as ‘astonishingly invisible.’