AMERICA/BRAZIL - The Bishops on the brutal murder of the environmentalist leader Ribeiro da Silva and his wife

Tuesday, 7 June 2011

Nova Ipixuna (Agenzia Fides) - The Episcopal Commission for the Pastoral Care of Charity, Justice and Peace of the National Conference of Brazilian Bishops (CNBB) recently issued a statement, a copy of which was received by Fides, regarding the murder of the environmentalist leader José Cláudio Ribeiro da Silva, and his wife, Maria do Espirito Santo Silva, which took place on May 24 in Nova Ipixuna, state of Pará. The couple was shot to death inside the settlement Extractivity Project, Praia Alta Piranheira , in the municipality of Nova Ipixuna in the south-east of the state.
"The Episcopal Commission for the Pastoral Care of Charity, Justice and Peace of the CNBB, joins in the many expressions of indignation for the brutal murder of the couple" says a passage in the declaration. The Commission itself, in November 2010, had issued another statement, signed by José Cláudio in front of more than 400 scholars from different fields of research, in which the leading environmentalist said: "I live in the forest, I protect it, so I live waiting for a bullet in the head at any time, because I am always in full view, before everyone, and I denounce what I see ".
In a recent statement, the Commission requests, on behalf of the Commissions of the Social Pastoral and organizations related to it, "solidarity with the communities of the Diocese of Maraba, with the population of Nova Ipixuna and the family of the couple".
According to information from the local press, the couple struggled for years against the illegal trafficking of timber in the Amazon rainforest. Their job was mainly to forbid the activities of companies that cut trees illegally by blocking their trucks and report them to the authorities. The Brazilian newspaper Diario do Para", writes that the police had always denied any form of protection to the Da Silva family despite their requests. The reconstruction of the murder is still not entirely clear, but it seems that it was an ambush. (EC) (Agenzia Fides 07/06/2011)