Indian children starve to death

February 24, 2005

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Three Guarani children have starved to death so far this year; hundreds more are suffering from malnutrition. Crammed onto tiny pockets of land, the Indians have nowhere to hunt, fish or even plant crops.

According to official statistics, another fifteen Guarani children died of starvation last year. The government has announced an increase in the number of children who will receive food aid, but continues to ignore the root cause of the crisis - the tribe's almost total lack of land. Over the last seven decades, thousands of Guarani have been evicted from their lands by soya planters and cattle ranchers; barely 1% of the Guarani's original forest remains. Today they are crammed together onto tiny reservations; as a result, suicide, alcoholism and internal violence are rife.

Meanwhile, in an astonishing move, the courts are preparing to evict a Guarani community who have re-occupied, at great risk to themselves, a small fraction of the land they once owned. Their land, which they call Nanderú Marangatú, is still occupied by a cattle rancher who regularly threatens the Indians. The Indians have planted crops to sustain themselves; eviction would mean a return to the small patch of land where they will be unable to survive. Survival is protesting against the planned eviction.

To read more about the Guarani, click here.