Tue. Mar 9th, 2021

On Sept. 8, a court ruling shook up an old land conflict in Cotegipe, in the Brazilian Cerrado grasslands. That was when the 3rd Civil Chamber of the Bahia state Court of Justice ruled that Caracol Agropecuária Ltda., a major landowner, had illegally appropriated an area larger than the city of Rio de Janeiro. For years, attorneys and the state government have pointed out that Caracol’s Gleba Campo Largo farm was the result of “countless irregular and illegal procedures.” In December 2018, the case ground to a halt after another court decision rejected the charges and even dismissed the case. By unanimously overturning that decision this past September, the state court immediately froze the farm’s assets, including its 140,000 hectares (346,000 acres) of land. But justice hasn’t been served to everyone, and certainly not to the key funder behind Caracol: Harvard Management Company, the investment fund run by the top U.S. university, funded Caracol for many years. Caracol Agropecuária Ltda. was created in August 2007 and is worth more than 19 million reais ($3.4 million), a the figure that may include the land grabbed in Cotegipe. Blue Marble Holdings, one of Harvard’s asset managers, was responsible for transferring money to Caracol for almost a decade. In 2016 alone, it deposited more than $2.4 million, according to U.S. tax records. The NGO GRAIN estimates that Blue Marble allocated more than 330 million reais ($59 million) to Caracol in total. Official suspicions about Gleba Campo Largo have abounded since 2013, when the…This article was originally published on Mongabay

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