Marcelo Netto Rodrigues (CIMI Dourados)

Caarapó (Mato Grosso do Sul)

"Pour ceux qui ne comprennent pas notre langue, je vais traduire. Le peuple Guarani est comme une rivière qui suivait lentement son cours jusqu'à ce que un rocher géant soit jeté dans son lit. L'eau a éclaboussé de tous côtés et les survivants sont réunis ici aujourd'hui", dit le Guarani-Kaiowá Anastácio Peralta, sous le regard approbateur de ses "parents" d'Argentine, de Bolivie et du Paraguay.

Saisir la reconstitution allégorique de la diaspora Guarani (forcée par l'arrivée de l'envahisseur sur le continent sud-américain), c'est vital pour comprendre le lancement de la campagne "Le Peuple Guarani, un grand peuple", qui a eu lieu du 21 au 23 septembre dans le village de Tey Kue, dans la municipalité de Caarapó (MS). L'événement, qui a compté près de 400 participants venus du Brésil et des autres pays déjà cités, fait suite à l'effort du Conseil Indigène MIssionnaire (CIMI), des professeurs et des leaders Guarani-Kaiowá pour concrétiser des actions coordonnées des Guaranis dispersés à travers l'Amérique du Sud.

On estime que 50.000 Guaranis vivent aujourd'hui au Brésil, 350.000 en Bolivie, 53.000 au Paraguay et 5.000 en Argentine, sans compter qu'en Uruguay, les Guarani continuent à fréquenter leur "tekoha" (leur terre traditionnel le), même sans la reconnaissance de l'État. Rappelons qu'au début de l'invasion, en 1492, les Guaranis étaient plus de 2 millions, soit le double de la population du Portugal d'alors.



The metaphors, characteristic for the Guarani universe, are constant present at the meeting. Otoniel Ricardo, member of the commission of Guarani teachers of Mato Grosso do Sul, compares the people og the Guarani with the parts of a bicycle, and announces that he will demonstrate why. He takes a new bicycle and asks the people present to make a circle outside the hall where the meeting takes place.

Everybody makes a round on the bicycle. From the small boy to the leader – who can cycle with just one hand; from the young to the supporters; event the 'relatives' of Bolivia, Argentina and Paraguay participate.

"What do you all see?", asks the teacher - a function that recently assumed status of respect in the villages, alongside that of the Indigenous Agents of Health. "Harmony, agility, joy, attention, fear, control, balance", answers everybody, one by one. "Indeed, the bicycle did not stop cycling. It went faster or slower, and nobody decided to change the gear", concludes Otoniel.

After that the bicycle is disassembled and the teacher now asks the Guarani to construct it again, without knowing that some persons already had been guided by the teacher to act as those that confuse the assembly of the bicycle. The conflicts start among the indigenous people. Supporters and even the indigenous people themselves say, even they are known as trustworthy, that parts of the bicycle have been stolen. But, at the end, due to a 'mutirão' (word of origin tupi-guarani, a kind of joint work), they succeed that the bicycle cycles again, although it was impossible to make it the same like as it was.

"Our people is like the reconstructed bicycle. It will not be like it was before, because they have destroyed our forest and our animals, but it is possible to make the bicycle cycling again", concludes the teacher. "And we have to join the parts from here with the ones of the other countries", suggests the Guarani teacher, Teodora de Souza, of the village of Dourados.


The task becomes each time more urgent. For the anthropologist Antonio Brand, who is doing research on the Guarani issue since the seventies, the governments of the countries of the Mercosul should institute common public politics to take care of the Guarani - since they have already constitute the cultural base of Mercosul, being present in all the country-members.

"To prevent migratory flows of the Guarani between the countries, it is necessary to have answers articulated in relation to the right to land, retirement, food security and to the natural resources", warns Brand, remembering that recently 1,300 Guarani-Mbyá who lived in Argentina had crossed the border with the state of Rio Grande do Sul.

According to him, as a domino-effect of the practice of the agro-business imperialists, the situation of the Guarani-Kaiowá here in Brazil will be the situation of tomorrow for the Guarani-Awá that live in Paraguay, where the soy is already advancing on as well. "Up to 1978, there were no land problems for the Guarani in Mato Grosso do Sul. Then the soy arrived, and later the sugarcane, and the shelter spaces were disappearing and the villages of the Guarani started to swell. An historical process which I classify as confinement caused by agrobusiness."

In Brazil

According to research done by the National Foundation of Health and Cimi, there are 40 thousand Guarani (80% of the total that lives in Brazil), living in Mato Grosso do Sul - divided into 38 villages, in 17 municipals - and another 10 thousand living on their traditional lands in the states Rio Grande do Sul, Santa Catarina, Paraná, São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro and in a reservation in the state of Pará.

Brand explains that the Guarani had been divided by the invader into three great groups (before their arrival these categories did not make any sensee): the Kaiowá (predominantly present in Mato Grosso do Sul and Paraguay), the Mbyá (who occupied the complete Southeast of Brazil and, today are present in São Paulo, Espirito Santo, Argentina and Paraguay), and the Awá (spreaded in Paraná and Santa Catarina). According to the numbers of Funai (the government institution on indigenous issues) there exist in Brazil today about 225 different etnias that speaks 180 different languages.

At the end of the meeting in Caarapó, the participants had divulged a document in which they ask to respect the priests (who have been forgotten due to the entrance of religious institutions in the villages and who today are only looked for, according to themselves, when there is a lack of basic foodbaskets, or when the teacher does not get his salary, or when the health agent does not succeed to cure a sick person with traditional medicins).

Besides this point, the text of the document asks the State to create mechanisms to guarantee the ample participation of the indigenous community in the elaboration of projects and decisions; that the controling agencies verify the irregularities of the indigenous people working in the factories; and that there will be justice in the cases of murder of the indigenous leaders.

And one other point of action is to translate into Guarani language the UN Declaration On the Rights of the Indigenous Peoples, approved on the 13th of September 2007.