Faith at Altitude

Religion and spirituality in the shadow of Pikes Peak

Monday, May 14, 2007

Brazilian Justice

A Brazilian rancher accused of paying about $25,000 to have a 73-year-old nun assassinated goes on trial in Brazil today. The nun's brother, Palmer Lake resident David Stang, is there -- watching to make sure justice is done.

"I feel Brazil will do Dorothy (Stang) justice," David told the Associated Press. "This is not about revenge. This is about justice for the poor."

The Gazette published a story about Dorothy Stang and her brother, David, last June: How Dorothy was gunned down in a muddy road and, through her death, became a powerful catalyst for change in what many say is a corrupt region of Brazil.

Struggles between Brazil's wealthy landowners and rural poor are nothing new. According to AP, 1,237 rural workers, union leaders and activists like Stang have been killed in the last 30 years there. More than half took place in Para, the region in which Stang worked and lived. The nun worked with Brazil's working poor and, according to her brother, was something of a folk hero.

Stang was killed the morning after she had a confrontation with her killers -- triggermen called "pistoleros." She was left for hours in the road.

Her killers were arrested and implicated two wealthy landowners who allegedly paid to have Stang killed. It's a rare thing for these landowners to go to trial -- it's said that police and judges are in cahoots with them -- and the case has drawn international attention.


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