BRASILIA, July 30 (Reuters) - At least 100 landless people have taken
over a ranch in southwestern Brazil owned by South Korea religious
leader Reverend Sun Myung Moon and evicted his followers, said police
The landless workers stormed onto the ranch Friday night, changing the
locks on the gates, raiding the property's headquarters and kicking out
everyone except a lone South Korean man who peacefully resisted, local
media reported. The man later fell ill and was taken to a hospital.
The 7,410-acre (3,000-hectare) Jamaica Ranch was used mainly for
grazing cattle by a few dozen members of Rev. Moon's Family Federation
for World Peace and Unification, said Luis Carlos Bonelli, an official
for Brazil's agrarian land reform agency, Incra.
ncra had claimed the Jamaica Ranch and two adjacent properties for
landless farm workers in 2004, but a local prosecutor blocked a license
needed to settle the workers and their families, Bonelli said.
Since then, almost 300 families have been camped out at the edges of
the ranch, waiting to move onto the property and begin farming.
Rev. Moon and his followers have been buying land in the area since the
1990s and today own some 173,000 acres (70,000 hectares) in Mato Grosso
do Sul, the western state where the Jamaica Ranch is located, Bonelli
The precinct chief for the nearby town of Jardim said the police would not try to evict the farmhands without a judge's order.
"From what we could see there were about 100 of them," said precinct chief Valdemiro Arguilheira.
A spokesman for Rev. Moon's federation in Mato Grosso do Sul was not immediately available to comment.