UNANIMA in Brazil

The mayor of Bela Horizonte, a city in the state of Minas Gerais in Brazil has heard of UNANIMA International and he is disturbed that we have criticized him for threatening to evict squatter families from public land.

Maureen Foltz, the UNANIMA representative for the Carmelite Sisters of Charity Vedruna received the following information from her Sisters there.

Over 1,000 homeless and landless families in Belo Horizonte, decided to become squatters and occupy some abandoned land in the city.  These squatter settlements are three communities named Dandera, Camilo Torres and Sister Dorothy (named for Sister Dorothy Stang, SND de Namur who was martyred in the Amazon several years ago.) The Judicial System is unresponsive to the cause of the homeless and landless. However, the three communities are determined to resist the threatened eviction.

Sister Maria José Meira, ccv, reports:

María Rosario, fJ (lawyer for the settlers) wrote to tell me that there was a public hearing today in the legislative assembly of Belo Horizonte to deal with the issue of urban occupations in the Human Rights Commission.  She told me that the lawyer for the mayor in his talk protested that he had received a letter from UNANIMA that came through one of the Sisters.  He seemed worried.

Rosario was signed up to talk and she said to those present that actually “the mayor of Belo Horizonte, through his lawyer, seemed frightened to state that the cry of the homeless had reached the United Nations.”

The people who were participating in the hearing were happy and hopeful.

As a result of this, there was a meeting the next day, Friday the 16th with the governor of the state and other authorities interested in having a discussion about the case.  The people involved in this struggle were very happy about all of this.

Maria José sent the text of the report in Spanish.