The murder of a US-born nun in the Brazilian state of Para has led to the deployment of troops to the Amazon, a decree ordering an Amazonian reserve, and an international outcry. Within days of the killing of Dorothy Stang, police had taken into custody three of the four suspects and had retrieved one of the weapons used for the crime. But violent death continued to haunt the landless and environmental movements, as several murders quickly followed Stang's. The murder of Stang forced President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva to cut short an international trip and attempt to militarize the region, although the question of whether military deployment would bring order to the region remained unanswered.
Stang becomes "martyr" for Amazon
Dorothy Stang, 73, a nun from Dayton, Ohio, and a naturalized Brazilian citizen, was shot dead on Feb. 12, a result of a dispute with an influential rancher in the eastern Amazon state of Para, on the country's frontier of forest and development, where powerful interests collide with the Amazon's poor.
Witnesses said Stang was killed because she was trying to halt logging in an area of near-pristine jungle coveted by rancher Vitalmiro Goncalves de Moura, known as Bida. Police were searching for Moura but think he fled the region in a small plane after the killing. As of Feb. 22, an attorney for Moura said the rancher was negotiating his surrender and would turn himself in to police shortly.