Press Statement dated 30 April 2017

The National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (NUMSA), condemns in the strongest terms the senseless murder of Silvino Nunes Gouveia who was a militant leader of the Movimento dos Trabalhadores Ruais Sem Terra (MST), a movement which represents landless workers in rural areas of Brazil. Nunes was an activist who worked as a regional coordinator for MST in that area. His killers are still at large and are unknown. Nunes was gunned down at his home in the settlement of Liberdade, in the municipality of Periquito on Friday.

This is the latest in a string of murders which have taken place in rural parts of Brazil. Days before Nunes’ murder nine people, including a pastor were massacred in remote parts of Mato Grosso.

In March another MST activist Waldomiro Costa Pereira was shot by a group of gun men who stormed the General Hospital of Paraupebas and shot him at point blank range. At that time Pereira was recovering from a bullet wound after he had been attacked at his home in the days preceding the incident. It seems the armed gunmen had been sent to the hospital to finish the job and ensure his untimely demise.

According to a report by Global Justice it seems there are a group of armed gangs who have been terrorising small scale farmers in remote parts of Brazil in order to force them out of the area. The human rights group said the killings were part of a systematic attempt by rich landowners who use brutal force and terror as a means of displacing small-scale farmers and forcing them out of lucrative territories in the

area.

NUMSA wishes to extend its support and solidarity to our comrades at MST. MST is clearly under siege for daring to fight for social justice and equality for the working class and the poor of Brazil. We denounce the actions of these cowardly agents of capital who seek to undermine the power of the people’s movement in that country.

We call on the government of Brazil to take these incidents seriously and to ensure that those who are guilty of these heinous acts are swiftly brought to justice. We also wish to express our heartfelt condolences to the families of the victims.

Issued by Irvin Jim, General Secretary, National Union of Metalworkers of SA (Numsa)