Brazil: Lula Grants Land Titles To Descendants Of Slavery
By Pedro Rafael Vilela
Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva on Tuesday (Mar. 21) resumed the move to recognize quilombola territories by granting the title to three traditional areas, home to 936 families live.
The recognition of the areas where descendants of Africans enslaved in colonial times live had been deliberately interrupted by former President Bolsonaro’s administration. The last title granted had been signed in 2019 for the Paiol de Telha quilombo, in Paraná state, following a court ruling.
“Much has been said about democracy in these last few years, when it was effectively under threat. The truth is, no country in the world is a true democracy while the color of people’s skin determines the opportunities they have over the course of their lives,” said President Lula.
The president signed the titling of three quilombola territories in two states, the Ministry of Racial Equality reported. The Brejo dos Crioulos area, in Minas Gerais, saw 2.2 thousand hectares recognized—a partial titling, since the entire territory sums up to more than 8.1 thousand hectares. A total of 630 families live in that community.
In Sergipe, two territories were registered. One of them is Serra da Guia, in the municipality of Poço Redondo, home to 198 families in a total area of 9 thousand hectares, of which 806 hectares were titled. The other quilombola region is Lagoa dos Campinhos, in the municipalities of Amparo de São Francisco and Telha. It covers a total area of 1,263 hectares, but the titled portion corresponds to 111 hectares. In all, 108 families live there.
The titling of quilombola areas will be part of the Aquilomba Brasil program, which should also include initiatives surrounding housing, education, and infrastructure—like the construction of houses and efforts to bring electric power to underserved areas in the countryside.
“The promotion of rights for quilombola communities in Brazil is an act of reparation for the enormous historical debt that the Brazilian state owes these people. Under access to land, in the Aquilomba Brasil program, we’re going to join efforts with INCRA for a national titling agenda, which begins with the titles granted today by our president,” said Minister of Racial Equality Anielle Franco.
Titling falls under the responsibility of the National Institute of Colonization and Land Reform (INCRA) and is the last step in the recognition of a traditional territory.