I hoped to be posting by September 16th, but that was too ambitious. Here’s a summary of events that have occurred since we arrived on September 17th. Law student, Joseph Mandala and I flew into Recife on the morning of September 17th and were taken to our hotel. We were able to rest for about an hour before we went to scheduled meetings with CIMI, an NGO (non-governmental organization) working with indigenous peoples human rights. A meeting was arranged with Sandro, one of the lawyers working on the case of Cacique Marcos Xukuru (Chief Marcos Xukuru). Joseph and I were able to spend approximately three hours with Sandro, talking and video-taping important parts of our conversation about the history of the case against Marcos. I will leave a more detailed report to Joseph, who will post his summary on this blog in a few days.
Briefly, Cacique Marcos has been charged with initiating a riot on Xukuru Indian land after the attempted assassination on his life. In essence, the victim became the perpetrator. Here’s how I understand the story to date: In February of 2003, the Cacique was returning from a meeting with the council of leaders on Xukuru land. He was driving a truck, with an open back for carrying heavy loads of construction material. At a point in the road, he was forced to stop his car because a herd of cows were crossing the road. In the car with the Cacique were two young men around the ages of 20-22 years of age, and his cousin, who was 11 ½ at the time. Sitting on the side of the road were two men, doing nothing, just sitting. The Cacique got out of the car and asked what was happening, and the men didn’t respond. Then, a man appeared in the road from the bush (the land is hilly and filled with densely packed bushes, trees, and a variety of local plants. This male came toward the Cacique, who asked what was going on, since the cows were not being encouraged to cross the road. The man didn’t answer. The Cacique asked again, and the man didn’t answer for a second time. When the Cacique asked again, the man pulled a gun from his pocket and said “prepare to die” , and then shot at the Cacique, who saw the gun coming out of his pocket. The Cacique reacted quickly, and fell to the ground and rolled toward his truck, where he managed to get underneath it. The two young men in the car reacted by getting out of the car. One of them grabbed the man with the gun, and the other approached the men sitting by the road for help. One of the men had a wooden club, and the young man was hit in the head with it, and fell to the ground unconscious. The Cacique managed to crawl from under the truck and throw himself into the barbed wire and crawl through it. He sustained injuries to his face, and cuts to his ear¸ and was bleeding heavily. He got to his feet and ran through the bush, crashing into thorns and falling into holes in the ground. A man (Indian) saw Cacique Marcos running and that he was injured, and proceeded to help him by taking him to his house, where he was examined to see if he had been shot.
More later – the taxi is here to take us to a meeting at CIMI