Joaquin Piñero: MST loses a steadfast comrade in the struggle for the working class

Valquimar Reis, as he was also known, dedicated more than 20 years of his life to militant struggle

Translated by: Zoe PC, with Peoples Dispatch

Brasil de Fato | Belém |
During the 1990s, Kima was arrested and spent a year in prison for participating in a propaganda action against the neoliberal measures of the São Paulo state government - Arquivo/MST

After six months fighting against cancer, the leader of the Landless Rural Workers’ Movement from Rio de Janeiro, Valquimar Reis, 52-years-old, died on Thursday March 11. Reis, better known as Joaquin Piñero or Kima, leaves a legacy of struggle for the working class.

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In a statement, the MST bid farewell and honored the comrade who was a “guitar player, poet, who we always loved with his charming ways, and his love for samba. The joy, the camaraderie, the love for his family and his commitment to the struggle are some of the characteristics of Joaquin. He was always very loved by those surrounding him. He was a dedicated militant, moved by great feelings of love, just as Che Guevara taught us. The Landless family loses one of its most valued members and we reaffirm the commitment of remaining strong in the struggle for the emancipation of the working class.”

Valquimar Reis was born in Ji-Paraná, a municipality in the state of Rondonia, but militancy became part of his life while living in São Paulo. He dedicated more than 20 years to the struggle for a more just society for the working class. In the last several years, Kima lived on a settlement of the Agrarian Reform on the Irmã Dorothy Settlement in Quatis, in the state of Rio de Janeiro. He was also part of the national board of Brasil de Fato.

Piñero struggled tirelessly for land and for the People’s Agrarian Reform. His dedication was so great that his work overcame borders. He participated in internationalist missions of the MST and was the representative of the movement in the Platform of Social Movements of ALBA.

Political prisoner

During the 1990s, Kima was arrested in a propaganda action against the neoliberal measures of the São Paulo state government. He was in jail as a political prisoner for more than a year, along with other comrades of the MST. However, his struggle was not detained. While in prison, he organized a course of study and was known by the other inmates as “Professor!”

In the last years of his life, his struggle was primarily based in Rio de Janeiro. He studied Social Work in the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ) through the National Program for Education in the Agrarian Reform (PRONERA). Kima leaves behind two daughters and a partner.

Edited by: Rebeca Cavalcante