Gregory Duff Morton, an economic anthropologist, is an assistant professor at Bard College, New York. (March 2018)

NYR DAILY

Blood on the Land in Brazil

MST activist Márcio Matos addressing a rally at a landless settlement in Bahia state, Brazil

The murder of Márcio Matos belongs to a new wave of political violence in Brazil’s countryside. Rural assassinations are on the rise against a background of economic crisis and political malfeasance. As corruption trials generate a crescendo of public attention on law and order, the countryside becomes bloodier. The two events of January 24—Lula’s conviction and Márcio’s death—were thus twin symbols demonstrating both the strength and shortcomings of the Brazilian state. The government could prosecute its ex-president but not protect its own people.