Brazilian rancher claims he owns land American nun was killed defending in the Amazon
November 12, 2008
The rancher suspected or orchestrating the killing of an American nun in the Brazilian Amazon now claims he owns the land she died trying to defend, reports the Associated Press (AP).
Prosecutor Felicio Pontes told AP that last week Regivaldo Galvao presented documents to Incra, Brazil’s land reform agency, showing he owns the land sister Dorothy Stang sought to defend. Incra confirmed Galvao’s request.
According to AP. his move “appears to cast doubt on one of his alibis in the 2005 slaying of Dorothy Stang: Galvao long insisted he had no motive to kill Stang because he had no interest in the plot of Amazon rain forest he now seeks.”
Dorothy Stang, 1931 – 2005
Stang was gunned down in February 2005 by a hit man allegedly hired by Galvao and Vitalmiro Moura, another rancher. The 73-year-old nun was clutching a bible when she was killed, but in court the gunmen, Rayfran das Neves Sales, claimed he killed her in self defense. Das Neves has since been convicted of murder and sentenced to 28 years in prison, but the conviction of Moura was overturned last year after contradictory testimony by Das Neves.
Stang, a member of the Order of the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur, was working with the Pastoral Land Commission, a Catholic Church group that lobbies for land reform in Brazil and fights for land rights for the poor, when she was gunned down.
Stang’s murder came to be a tipping point in the heated battle between the rural poor and large landowners in the state of Para. The federal government responded to her killing by sending several thousand armed troops into the state. Later Brazil established several protected areas in contested forests and proposed a land-use permit system for selling concession to loggers who agreed to set side land for settlers and indigenous groups.
Land conflict is rife in Amazon frontier zones. Poor governance combined with rapidly appreciating land prices has given rise to a state of lawlessness where illegal logging, violence, and land grabs are unchecked. The conditions make it difficult to control deforestation.
Murder is not a pleasant place to start an article. Destruction of enormous amounts of virgin forest also does not help improve ones feelings and thoughts. Leaving out millions of people and talking about only the rights of thousands is pretty discouraging if you wish to be transparent, progressive and see a future for a beautiful country with enormous potential.
Amazon nun-killer sentenced to 30 years in Brazil May 15, 2007
Vitalmiro Bastos de Moura, a Brazilian rancher charged with ordering the killing of Dorothy Stang, an American nun, in the Amazon rainforest in February 2005, was convicted today of murder and sentenced to 30 years in prison.