Skip to content
Grist home
All donations DOUBLED

Articles by Maurício Angelo

Featured Article

A resident of Bom Acerto shows where the group of armed men came from that burned down his house in August 2020.

This story was developed with the support of Journalismfund Europe.

In August 2020, Maria do Espirito Santo was returning from her family’s field in the savanna of northeast Brazil when she saw smoke billowing from her thatched hut.

Do Espirito Santo raced back to find that her home and those of her neighbors had been burnt to the ground by a group of armed men, some of them local police. They felled fruit trees, ripped up crops with tractors, and forced the small community of Bom Acerto from the lands where they had grown cassava, corn, and beans for generations. Afterward the families found out a businessman in Maranhao, the state she lives in, had laid claim to 10,872 acres of public land abutting 9,884 acres of land he had purchased, which includes the land that her family has been living on for generations. They suspect that he hired the men and bribed the police to come and terrorize the families so that they would leave. 

“When we arrived, we found several dozen people, mainly women and children, huddli... Read more