If well organized, everyone fights

It was a long journey: from Santarém to Alenquer it takes two hours by ferry and another three or four hours by car, part of it off-road. So Totó – a much silent man – and Mara – a talkative woman – took the opportunity to tell some of the stories they have witnessed in the past. He as the former president and today vice-president of the Union of Rural Workers and Family Farmers of Alenquer (STTR-ALQ); she as the current president of the organization. In all stories was highlighted the importance of the workers union for the conquest and guarantee of rights, from technical assistance services to the safety of rural workers.

This is the last part in the story “What really happens in the Amazon Forest”. Browse already published content:

INTRODUCTION
Part 1 (central page): What really happens in the Amazon Forest
Part 2: Who is favored by Bolsonaro’s responses to the fires?
Part 3: The “win-win” of companies with the financialization of nature
Part 4: But after all, who is behind these crimes?

STORIES
1) The siege explained on a map
2) A port stuck in the “mouth” of the river
3) Before the port arrives (if it does), the impacts already did
4) Health center and quilombola school: the struggle changes life
5) Curuaúna: on one side, soy. On the other? Soy also
6) A face printed on a T-shirt
7) The motorcycle night
8) [you are here] If well organized, everyone fights

Alenquer is a small city, just over 50 thousand inhabitants. And it is unstable: mayors don’t usually complete their mandates – it has become a tradition. That same day, while Totó and Mara would tell stories, the president of the City Council took over as mayor in yet another plot-twist of local politics. Years ago in the middle of the unstability, outraged by the absence of public investment in the region…

A pause: Totó, whose real name is João Gomes da Costa and is 47 years old, looks in the rearview mirror and sees a big white truck pass by. When already in front of the car, it starts to drive really slowly – and then it accelerates sharply and disappears on the horizon. Mara, short for Aldemara Ferreira de Jesus, 37 years old, takes a note: the car license plate is from Santarém.

…outraged by the absence of public investment in the region; and also with the delayed payment of teachers and health professionals; and with the poor condition of the roads; to make it short – it was a complete package of indignations: that’s when the people from Alenquer decided to block the main road to the city. That happened after the mayor had refused on several occasions to sit down and talk – he even expelled Totó and Mara from meetings – and took his disinterest to the point that the road had to be blocked by people.

A crowd of workers from different areas gathered on the road: there were rural workers, organized by the union, and also teachers and health workers, and street sweepers, and people from the church – everybody was there – and then the mayor and his secretaries and judges appeared quickly and a meeting was arranged at the City Council later that day. It was agreed that only 50 representatives of civil society could enter and present their demands. Ok, not a problem.

Mara, president of the Rural Workers Union in Alenquer, in the state of Pará. Photo: Carol Ferraz / Amigos da Terra Brasil
Totó, former president of the union and nowadays the vice-president. Photo: Carol Ferraz / Amigos da Terra Brasil

The police “tactic group” arrived first at the City Council – an exaggeration and it was a great embarrassment when even the nuns and the priests were searched to enter the meeting room. Then people spoke – and immediately afterwards without any response or a slight indication that he paid attention the mayor left.

Mara and Totó had no choice but to go out to the front of the City Council to tell what had happened in the building. To their surprise there was a mass of people waiting for the result of the conversation – over a thousand people who obviously were not happy with the news: it started raining eggs and tomatoes on police shields and helmets. From a corner, a desperate cry was heard – Totó, control the people, to which he, Totó, thought – How? but he replied – If there’s anyone to blame here it’s you, you promised to talk and didn’t talk, and the eggs and tomatoes kept flying and exploding in the building walls and on shields, the crowd getting more and more inflamed – and then the mayor and the secretaries reappeared and this time everyone was very willing to listen. Finally agreements were made and commitments signed. Mara laughs now – If the workers understood the strength they have when united… They would never be taken for granted.

Persecution and threats
– Taking the poor people side has a consequence, says Totó, and he knows that quite well. He worries about the threats he receives, he worries about him and his daughter and son, and it took him a few seconds to say – Yes, I’m afraid, we lose our freedom. I think about mine and my children’s schedules, I keep an eye out for anything that is different, everyday I think about how it will be when I get home, if there is an ambush or not. But he sleeps peacefully, he guarantees – We have a clear conscience, although always attentive and concerned.

Concern that Mara shares, along with embarrassments such as when her daughter asks – Mom, what are they talking about you on Facebook?, and there are things that are complicated to explain to children, it’s complex and it’s exhausting and it’s serious: it is serious because sometimes the threats come from the State itself, represented in the men in uniform who should give protection to everyone. Totó reports receiving calls from police officers saying – We are with that farmer, in the intention of intimidating him. The message is very clear and Mara and Totó feels unprotected – Where you would find some protection, you have none, he complains and then prays, trusts in God: and for some of us, in face of a negligent State, only divine protection can be trusted – most useful when added to the union and strength of the workers.

This was the last part in the story “What really happens in the Amazon Forest”. Browse all published content:

INTRODUCTION
Part 1 (central page): What really happens in the Amazon Forest
Part 2: Who is favored by Bolsonaro’s responses to the fires?
Part 3: The “win-win” of companies with the financialization of nature
Part 4: But after all, who is behind these crimes?

STORIES
1) The siege explained on a map
2) A port stuck in the “mouth” of the river
3) Before the port arrives (if it does), the impacts are already there
4) Health center and quilombola school: the struggle changes life
5) Curuaúna: on one side, soy. On the other? Soy also
6) A face printed on a T-shirt
7) The motorcycle night
8) [you are here] If well organized, everyone fights

Deixe uma resposta

O seu endereço de e-mail não será publicado. Campos obrigatórios são marcados com *