The Lord said, “What have you done? Listen! Your brother’s blood cries out to me from the ground.” Genesis 4.10
“Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute” Proverbs 31.8
The outraged scream of suffering of the Guarani and Kaiowa peoples rumbled loudly at the Ecumenic Caravan held by the Ecumenic Services Coordination – CESE, the Biblical Studies Centre – CEBI-MS and the Indigenist Missionary Counsel – CIMI/MS, during their visit to Brazilian Cities, close to the Paraguay border in áreas where the peoples defended their right to own their land. We could observe areas hit by famine and all kinds of violencie carried out by the government closely (violence exerted by peasants and criminals, as well as the offical violence exerted by the government of MS), in the cities of Amambai, Coronel Sapucaia (limit Capitán Bado – Paraguay) and Dorados.
The event gathered together representatives of the Iglesia Episcopal Anglicana de Brasil – IEAB; la Iglesia Presbiteriana Unida de Brasil – UIP; la Iglesia Católica Romana – ICAR; la Asociación Bautista de Brasil – ABB; la Alianza de Iglesias Presbiterianas y Reformadas de América Latina – AIPRAL. Organizaciones del Foro Ecuménico ACT Brasil – FEACT; CONIC – Consejo Nacional de Iglesias Cristianas; FLD-COMIN-CAPA (Fundación Luterana de Diaconía – Consejo de Misión entre Pueblos Indígenas – Centro de Apoyo y Promoción de la Agroecología), de Derechos Humanos, de Minas Gerais, Río de Janeiro, Santa Catarina y Bahía.
The Ecumenic Caravan started in Campo Grande – MS, on the 20th, at the FETEMS (Education Workes Federation) with the celebration of a welcome mystic to greet the group as na important institution representing the voice of indigenous peoples.
During the visits to the recovery areas in Jopara (Coronel Sapucaia), Guapo’y (Amambaí), and Aratikuty (Dourados), we listened to stories of the peoples about their situation, persecution and the death of three leaders (three murders just in 2022), violence and illeal evictions carried out by the military police of MS with the consente of the government of Mato Grosso do Sul; ambushes, rape of women and children, shootings to exert pressure, restrictions to freedom of movement, persecution of indigenous people found outside the recovery areas. Lack of healthcare and medication, lack of education support, prohibition of using the school buses, lack of water even in spite of two tanks nearby belonging to SANESUL (company in charge of the water supply of MS nearby to the recovery area) and power cuts as forms of intimidation and pressure.
During the Caravan roadtrip, the delegation was very welcomed by the indigenous people, being able to receive and feel the strength and hope Always presente in the Guarani and Kaiowá peoples in these territories hit by calamity and tragedy. Their stories, true and intense, desperate and at the same time, strong and corageous, inspire us to take action and to report the crimes perpetrated by the government, which should provide safety and protection, but, on the contrary, acts in na opressive way towards their people. They also told us about the greed of the agribusiness, which invades their territories, dragging them to poverty, indigency and extreme needs.
In face of the extreme alimentary need, the Caravan gave out baskets full of food to the comunites in three resettlement areas, assuming, at the same time, strong commitments in response to urgent needs. In face of the given situation, the Organizations and Churches which where part of the Caravab must undertake joint action, solid and long-lasting. Actions in the long run will have to be taken based on the ones of the organisations and churches in their contact with other partners in Brazil and other places in the world, mainly measures involving the justice system and the urgent need of ackowledging of all rights of these peoples.
The ecumenic act, in which great demonstrations of emotions and heartiness were present thanks to the survivors of the Guarani and Kaiowas peoples, took place at the main Dourados park as a closure to the Ecumenic Caravan visit.
The indigenous representatives shouted “Brazilian government stopo killing us, we are a peaceful people.” They also shouted for justice, claiming for the delimitation of their lands to be carried out in the short run. This experience of deep communion was marked by a blessing ritual directed to the religious leaders present.
The scream of pain of our brothers and sisters was very quiet. As christians, as organisations which fight and act in favour of human rights defense we express our outrage in light of the negligence and deliberate action of the Brazilian Government against the peoples. We also call out on the dismantelling of the indigenous and socio-environmental policies which have turned Mato Grosso do Sul in a territory of persecution of leaders. The racism and te acts of violence suffered by the communities specially by women, children, the youth and the elderly is inhuman.
We are commited to echo the voices of strength and we stand firm to the servisse of everyone, so they can accomplish a dignified life. We go back to where we come from, to our churches and our organisations with the commitment to share the scream of pain, outrage and resistance of the Guaraní-Kaiowá warriors.
Let the Divine, which inhabits so many names, like Divina Ruah, Nhanderu, keep inspiring us in the profetic path and let it renew our commitment to raise our voice and call out on all injustices of this world.
Let the bravery reborn in us to be always on the side of the peoples in poverty and in vulnerability, victims of violence, and make us believe in a new world that is possible if we get closer to God’s Kingdom in a land free of evil.