From WEEKLY NEWS UPDATE ON THE AMERICAS, ISSUE #880, December 24,
2006

1. Brazil: Indigenous Occupy Port

On Dec. 12, nearly 300 indigenous Tupinikim and Guarani people
and supporters occupied the Portocel port facilities used by the
Aracruz Celulose wood pulp company in Aracruz, Espirito Santo
state. The protesters are demanding that the Brazilian government
fulfill its constitutional obligation by demarcating the
traditional territory of the Tupinikim and Guarani. The company
has taken over more than 11,000 hectares of indigenous land. In
February 2006, after federal police violently ejected the
Tupinikim and Guarani people who had retaken their land, Justice
Minister Marcio Thomaz Bastos promised to demarcate the territory
as soon as the government's National Indigenous Foundation
(FUNAI) approved it. FUNAI approved the demarcation last Sept.
12, but Bastos has not yet signed it. Bastos is due to leave the
government at the end of January 2007.

On Dec. 13, Aracruz Celulose instructed some 1,000 of its employees
and contractors to eject the indigenous protesters from the port. A conflict
ensued, and workers attacked protesters; several people were
injured. The Aracruz Celulose workers left the port around 5pm,
with threats to return the next day. Around 7pm, the indigenous
protesters ended their occupation of the port after meeting with
FUNAI representatives, who promised that Tupinikim and Guarani
representatives would be able to meet with Justice Minister
Bastos on Dec. 18.

The protest actions of the Tupinikim and Guarani people have
the support and participation of Brazilian social
organizations including the Movement of Landless Rural
Workers (MST). Some 60 students from the University of Espirito
Santo and the Native Brigade occupied the state government
building for a few hours in support of the Tupinikim and Guarani
demands. Solidarity actions were also held at the Brazilian
consulate in New York, and support petitions were handed in to
the Brazilian consulates in Germany and Norway. [Indymedia
12/14/06; Federacþo de þrgþos p/Assistencia Social e Educacional
(Federation of Organizations for Social and Educational
Assistance)-Espirito Santo 12/13/06,
12/21/06; Gazeta On Line 12/12/06; Terra Brasil 12/14/06]

On Dec. 19, after waiting for more than four hours in front of the
Ministry of Justice building in Brasilia, 18 representatives of
the Tupinikim and Guarani (seven chiefs and 11 leaders) left the
site without having been allowed to meet with Bastos or anyone
else at the ministry. Several weeks earlier, Brazilian president
Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva had lunch with the president of Aracruz
Celulose, Carlos Alberto Aguiar, and Brazil's National
Development Bank granted the company a loan of 595 million reais
($278 million) to expand its cellulose production in Espirito
Santo and buy more lands to plant eucalyptus.

On Dec. 20, a federal judge ruled that Aracruz must stop its racist
and defamatory campaign against the indigenous communities. The
company must retract all of its negative publicity questioning
the indigenous people and their way of life, the judge ordered.
[FASE-ES 12/21/06]

Also in Update #880:

--Haiti: UN Raids Cite Soleil, Again
--Mexico: Oaxaca Demos in 37 Countries

ISSN#: 1084-922X. Weekly News Update on the Americas covers news
from Latin America and the Caribbean, compiled and written from a
progressive perspective. It has been published weekly by the
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