On last December 3, 4 and 5 was held the celebration of the People’s Land Cut in the area of Santa Elina Farm, in the city of Corumbiara (in state of Rondônia , Northern Brazil). A team of newspaper “Peasant Resistance” was invited by the LCP (Poor Peasants League) and followed the entire celebration.
The activity was organized by CODEVISE – Committee for the Defense of Victims of Santa Elina and LCP of Rondônia and Western Amazon. The goal was to celebrate the people’s cut of the land already conquered and to deliver the certificates of land ownership. Moreover, the peasants wanted to highlight the importance of conquering the Santa Elina Farm, which is a symbol of peasant resistance in our country, and was an achievement that cost years of great struggle, work and blood.
The peasants started arriving for the celebration in December 3. Due to the bad condition of roads in that region, many peasants had to walk about 15 km on foot to reach the site of the celebration, which happened in the antique farmhouse. But it was not problem for peasants because they were so excited and happy with the victory over a symbol of landowners and aware that they can overcome any difficulty.
During the three-days celebration, more than 500 persons from different regions of the state of Rondônia were present, both from villages, cities and from peasants areas. Participated peasants and supporters from Alto Guarajus, Rondolândia, Vanessa, Adriana, Vitória da União, Corumbiara, Cerejeiras, Chupinguaia, Vilhena, Espigão, Cacoal, Vila Palmares, Jaru, Ariquemes, Buritis, Machadinho, Canãa, Raio do Sol, Lamarca, Rio Alto, José e Nélio, Jacinópolis and the capital Porto Velho.
On December 4, after the collective lunch, the event was opened with a large fireworks display. Then all presents sang the peasants’ hymn “Conquer the Land.” Shortly thereafter, representatives of democratic organizations were called upon to speak. Besides the CODEVISE and LCP, spoke Socorro Popular (People’s Aid), Cebraspo (Brazilian Center of Solidarity to the Peoples), Abrapo (Brazilian Association of People’s Lawyers), MEPR (Popular Revolutionary Student Movement), MFP (Women Popular Movement), the Workers League, Union of Rural Workers of Espigão d’Oeste, the Union of Construction Workers of Belo Horizonte, People’s School Orocílio Martins Gonçalves, People’s School of Rondônia, Pará LCP, among other popular organizations.
In the end, it was delivered a tribute to all victims of the struggle for the Santa Elina Farm. The name of each peasant was killed was read and all answered: Present! Another honoree was the peasant leader José Bentão (Francisco Pereira do Nascimento), a founder of the LCP in Rondônia, who was brutally murdered by armed gangs of landlords in 2008, in the region of Jacinópolis. In recognize of his memory, the Popular Assembly of that area named the cropped area of Santa Elina Farm as “Revolutionary Area José Bentão”
Overnight cultural activities took place. The highlight was a theater presentation organized by youth who staged the struggle in a village where peasants rebelled against the abuses of the landlords. The activity aroused great interest and many peasants were affected. After, the party continued until late with a lively “forró” (a typical Brazilian dance).
On December 5 football and volleyball tournaments were performed. Later came the most important and special moment of the whole celebration, which was the ceremony to issue the title of land ownership to the peasants, certificated and given by the Poor Peasants League, which means land title given by the People’s Power.
The names of each peasant were called by the LCP coordinators and each one was handed a certificate to their possession. The joy overflowed in the faces of everyone who received the certificate of their lands. More than the delivery of a document, that ceremony expressed the culmination of a struggle of very 15 years! And that meant also an important settle of scores, as well expressed the representative of the LCP:
“For 15 years the blood shed by the peasants in this ground watered the seeds of struggle in our hearts and minds. This seed grew, blossomed and bore fruit today and its roots are so deep that the landlords can no longer destroy, rather we are the ones who can and must destroy them. We must never forget the peasants who were assassinated by the bullets landlordism and by cursed hands of their tormentors. These fellows carried with them the dream of owning a piece of land to live and work with their families and paid with their lives to believe and fight for this dream.
The death of those comrades was not in vain, because today we are turning this dream into reality, we are heirs and successors of the martyrs of Santa Elina. We’re here to settle the scores, or at least part of them, with landlordism. It’s not far day when we will settle all the accounts, and they will pay very high for all the humiliations, abuses, deaths, misery and misfortune that they caused to past and present generations of poor peasants, black slaves and indigenous peoples!
We are here witnessing and celebrating the destruction of another part of the landlordism, and we know and have said that each stab we apply will make it weaker until one day it will die forever! This is what we believe and have fought for this goal and will continue struggling! Let’s make like fellows of Santa Elina to stare the flag of Agrarian Revolution everywhere destroying the latifundium and building a genuine and New Democracy in our country.”
After the delivery of 250 certificates, all the presents sang the anthem of the workers and oppressed peoples, “The International”. Then, a large fireworks display closed this historical celebration.
Peasant Resistance Newspaper