Brumadinho: 1 year of the worst socio-environmental crime in Brazil was remembered with claims

From January 23 to 26, activities were carried out in Brumadinho to demand justice and full reparation for nature and impacted families.

“January 25th is a difficult day for me. To live this process of struggle is to put yourself in front of the other’s universe, which is often completely different from mine. This for me has been the deepest form of healing that I have been able to experience”: this is how Marcela Rodrigues describes the first year without her father, Denílson Rodrigues, taken by the sea of ​​toxic mud from Vale S.A., in Brumadinho (MG) a year ago.

The rupture of the Córrego do Feijão dam completely changed the routine of the families of the 272 victims and of the people who live in the city and surrounding communities, especially the indigenous people of the Pataxó and Pataxó Hã Hã Hãe ethnic groups, who had their way of life devastated by the death of the Paraopeba River.

Convinced that it is necessary to have courage and fight for the right to life on Earth, young Marcela joined the Casa Branca Waters and Mountains Movement and the Archdiocese of Belo Horizonte, in order to remember her father, do justice and build a new way of life in the region castigated by mining.

“We can no longer accept that our land be sucked in, that people be expelled from our region!”
“They tried to bury us; little did they know we were seeds.”

The statements of support and protest echoed after Marcela’s speech, in one of the moments of homage to the victims. In order for the biggest socio-environmental crime committed by Vale S.A., never to be forgotten, the Casa Branca Waters and Mountains Movement and the Jangada Community Association realized, during the week of January 23 to 26, a series of activities for Truth, Justice, Memory and Integral Reparation in Minas Gerais, especially in the municipality of Brumadinho.

Marcela Rodrigues lost her father Denílson Rodrigues, a Vale employee, who worked at the Córrego do Feijão mine dam.

In order never to forget – The month of January 2020 was marked by an alert and awareness campaign about the impacts of mining: the Brown January Campaign. In addition to specific material for social networks, the Water for People Campaign carried out activities during the week of the date of the socio-environmental crime in Brumadinho.

On January 23, the activity “Valuing memory for present action” was held at the Municipal School Carmela Caruso Alluoto, in Casa Branca. Through artistic expressions and a round of dialogue, residents and defenders of the “good living” in the region told the story of struggle and resistance to mining, over the years 2010 to 2019. “In these 10 years, we have seen countless rights violations and many lies. If our various warnings and qualified criticisms had received due attention from the competent authorities, the Brumadinho crime could have been avoided”, says Carolina Moura, general coordinator of the Jangada Community Association.

During the event, the Association paid tribute to Mr. Edvard Dantas, first president of the Piquiá Community Association (Açailândia – MA), who died at dawn on the 23rd, after 1 month and 5 days in an ICU, in Salvador (BA), for complications resulting from pollution to which he had been exposed for more than 30 years. Living in one of the communities affected by Vale S.A. in Maranhão, Mr. Edvard had his lungs damaged by steelmakers who work to maintain the mining company’s profit.

“’Bruma’ is gone from Brumadinho…” (word play in which ‘bruma’ means fog), narrates the song by Bishop Vicente Ferreira, author of the book “Brumadinho: 25 is every day”, launched during the 1st Pilgrimage of the Archdiocese of Belo Horizonte for Integral Ecology. On the 24th and 25th, movements in defense of life in Minas Gerais and Brazil gathered to pay homage to the victims’ relatives in Brumadinho. The atmosphere of fraternity among people renewed hopes.

During 365 days, the spirituality of the Catholic Church kept alive the flame of solidarity among people, who still live in the shadows of “the day that never ended”.

While presiding the celebration, Jorge Rasuck, deacon of Belo Horizonte (MG), highlighted the importance of maintaining the spirit of unity. “During all these 365 days, there was no shortage of hugs and that is exactly what gave us the strength to remain strong and resistant. Let us not forget that. Hug your sister and brother to your side. Share the sign of the peace that this community needs”, said the deacon.

The Naô Xohã village, with about 200 indigenous people of the Pataxó and Pataxó Hã Hã Hãe ethnic groups, took to the streets in solidarity to the victims’ relatives and to claim the relocation to another territory.

Holding the photos of the victims, family members and people from all over the country went down the streets of Brumadinho remembering January 25, 2019, with the message: “So that it never be forgotten and never happen again”.

Theologian Leonardo Boff, took part in the Pilgrimage and made, during the walk, a wise reflection on the manifestation and collective care that such a tragedy invites us to do. “Just as Jesus Christ was resurrected, the Earth must be resurrected, and that depends on us. It depends on our intelligent ability to create other ways to use natural resources. Another kind of world, more fraternal, kind and caring, where we can have the discreet joy of living together.”

#Jangada Água Viva

Even after the socio-environmental crime of the Córrego do Feijão dam, Vale S.A. threatens to return and expand extractive activities in Brumadinho, directly or through its subsidiary MBR, and with this, be able to expand the Jangada mine and, consequently, destroy the region’s springs. To prevent this, on January 26, the Jangada Água Viva campaign was launched, which aims to defend the natural sources of water in the Jangada community, a place where the water service is self-managed by the residents.

Still in a climate of solidarity, after the pre-launch event of the # JangadaÁguaViva campaign and in memory of the victims of crime in Brumadinho, defenders of the “good living” and Brumadinho community residents went on a demonstration from the headquarters of the Casa Branca Waters and Mountains Movement to São Sebastião square, in Casa Branca.