Regivaldo Gilvao was released from prison on appeal. Brazil’s Supreme Court released the conspirator and mastermind of the murder of Dorothy Stang on August 22. Apparently, in Brazil, one must be in prison for a bit of time before an appeal for release can be lodged and then implemented by the court. He was put away in mid 2011.
Will he ever return to prison? Will he be acquitted? Will Dorothy’s case just slip away or will her followers and pro bono lawyers keep it alive? They will try but the odds are against them.
Some things never seem to change. It has been 7 years since Sister Dorothy’s death and her story and that of Anapu, where she worked, is essentially the same! Rich ranchers still have the upper hand and activists are still being killed. The man is free.
I wish I thought there will be a just ending to this story. However, Brazil’s adulation of rich and powerful ranchers, politicians, you name it, is a major element of that culture. And this man is very very rich.
Isn’t it part of our culture too? I vowed I would not blog about the nasty campaign for President and Vice President that we are going through. But right now the news from Brazil brings to my mind the universal question: how can we really get justice if we are small and without the kind of moneyed power that SuperPacs bestow on candidates?
When I started looking into Dorothy’s story in 2005, I thought often about a parallel of big developers taking over land in our US cities and countryside – more shopping centers, unnecessary roadwork and bridges, and large and expensive apartment complexes. Then one personal incident came back to me.
In the late 1960’s I lived in Philadelphia’s Society Hill, a restored part of the 18th and 19th Century historical area of the city, named for the Free Society of Traders. New sites were being refurbished every day. I was returning home late one night in a taxi. The driver pulled up to my little house that I shared with my roommates and pointed across the street.
“I was born right over there,” he said. My folks and I had to leave so the city could take over my home and rehab the block. They paid us a pittance to move down to South Philly. No way could we afford to move back in.”
This man and his family were entitled to some bitterness but they had never been threatened by thugs. Still, I felt some guilt to be living there.
In Brazil, thugs continue to throw legal settlers off crop lands and out of their homes. I need to keep the story alive. Help the Amazon settlers. Watch this story with me and lets stand up to the bullies with as much strength as we can muster!