Peasant Leader Murdered in Brazil

On October 22, bandits paid by landowners cowardly shot Cleomar Rodrigues de Almeida in the North-East of Brazil. At 46 years old, Comrade Cleomar was coordinating the League of Poor Peasants (LCP) in the Minas and Bahia states; he was known as a humble and courageous activist dedicated to the agrarian revolution and to the building of a new people’s power.

A collective beekeeper, he worked in the “United Revolutionary Territory”—an agricultural project where new egalitarian social relations are built in opposition to those that exist in Brazilian society. Neighbouring landowners had threatened Cleomar and other comrades for years because of their determination to fight for the interests of the poor and landless peasants, as part of the broad movement that literally reclaimed the land through occupations and the involvement of the community and relatives.

On October 9, Cleomar had publicly denounced these threats during a meeting organized by the State authorities, where he also advocated for the rights of poor peasants. He also called for the opening of the roads closed by landowners and for access to the long-awaited artisanal artesian wells promised by the regime, but blocked by the municipal authorities; he again demanded that the land occupied by the peasants be returned to them. While struggling for these immediate demands, the LCP also fights for a revolutionary change in Brazil through a worker-peasant alliance: Cleomar was especially proud to distribute the honey produced in his unit in containers carrying the slogan “Freedom for all political prisoners!”

Hundreds of activists who fought for land, the environment, and the rights of indigenous peoples and poor proletarians in cities and favelas have been victims of similar murders, crimes which remain unpunished. This is part of a long-standing class conflict that has persisted since the end of the military dictatorship, which mobilizes the police and the judiciary to defend private property at any cost. False promises from mediators sent by the INCRA (the National Institute of Colonization and Agrarian Reform) always ignored these crimes and allowed the landowners to act with impunity.

The Brazilian state apparatus at all levels (from federal to municipal) is at the service of the bourgeoisie, the landowners and the imperialists; the fact that the Workers Party (PT) of Lula and his successor Rousseff has been in power for years hasn’t changed anything. Brazil remains deeply characterized by semi-feudalism where agribusiness, mining and energy corporations decide everything to maximize their profits. Those first responsible for the shocking assassination of Comrade Cleomar, like thousands of others, are the landowners and secondly, the officials from the reactionary state including the opportunists disguised as “leftists” who never accomplished even 1% of what Cleomar has done for the toiling masses.

Justice for Cleomar! Death to landowners! Long live the agrarian and workers’ revolution!