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Complexo Industrial Portuário Governador Eraldo Gueiros (Cips), Pernambuco, Brazil


The Suape Port Industrial Complex (CIPS) was launched in 1974 by the governor of Pernambuco, Eraldo Gueiros Leite, as an alternative to the Port of Recife, which according to the Master Plan, was overloaded and needed to be restructured and expanded, along with the construction of an industrial complex. According to its promoters, the Suape port project, located in an area of rich natural resources and in proximity to the capital of Pernambuco, would contribute to the development of the state and the Northeast of Brasil.

In 1978, Suape - Complexo Industrial Portuário was created under the State Law 7763 with the purpose of creating a large industrial district in the steel, petrochemical, and naval sector. by then, the first land expropriation (about 13.5 thousand hectares) started, for the construction works of the port and of related infrastructure. The State boosted and facilitated the implantation of industries, training of workers, construction of port infrastructure, internal road system, water supply, electricity, and telecommunications. 

Since CIPS construction began, numerous conflicts arose in the territory. The MST (Movimento Sem Terra) performed its first occupation in Pernambuco in 1989, in the lands of the CIPS in Cabo de Santo Agostinho. Four hundreds families occupied these lands, but they were violently repressed by the police. According to the Union of Farmers, these families obtained the right to temporarily exploit the land under a lending regime until 2005. In 2001, about 200 workers of the CIPS marched in Recife downtown. These families denounced, however, that in the last two months, two families were attacked by SUAPE security guards. In addition to land tenure, workers also demanded that programs be created to encourage agricultural production and investment in commercial development projects.

In 2006, about 319 families were evicted from their land, under severe pressure by the company Complexo de Suape. Protesters linked to the Movimento de Libertação dos Sem Terras went to the Legislative Assembly and the Palácio das Princesas, where they were received by Governor Mendonça Filho, and demanded a solution to the situation.

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In 2008, 10,000 people participated to the Committee on Citizenship (Comissão de Cidadania) in the Legislative Assembly for bringing up the issue of non-implementation of the Projeto Morador, established in the 2006 law.  This chapter established the destination of 239 hectares of land belonging to Suape Company for the construction of housing plots for displaced people living in the port complex. Chairs of the Associations of Residents of Engenho Massangana, Vila Claudete, Small Farmers of Utinga de Baixo and Utinga de Cima and Engenho Serraria participated in a meeting in Suape to define the details of the decree that regulate State Law nº 13,175 / 06. 

Despite these efforts, inn 2013 the company violently took over inhabitant’s territory and left them without compensation. Evicted population were around 15 thousand affected families. 

In 2014 it was denounced that approximately 1,300 families did not have access to fishing sites, as they were stopped by Suape security guards. In addition to being expropriated from their homes, many people have not received compensation and the promised employment. The few who were first employed have now already been fired because they did not have the necessary training. There was a hearing to ascertain the facts and according to the president of the OAB (Cabo sectional), these people cannot reproduce their lives either materially nor psychologically. 

The families that remain in the area disputed by Suape suffer daily a set of violations of human rights perpetrated by the administration of CIPS in order to prevent farmers to stay in the area. In 2014 alone, 232 families of farmers and fishermen were expelled from the territory occupied by Suape. All expulsions, violations of human rights and irregularities are perpetrated by the administration of the Complex under the illegal justification that the land belongs to Suape.

The lawyer who defends several squatters in the region of Suape, denounced supposed schemes of simulation of legal proceedings in the region of Cabo de Santo Agostinho to divert public resources of the company. After the episode, the lawyer began to suffer persecution.

In 2016, residents and fishermen affected by the Suape Complex protested in Recife. Mobilization aims to open a  negotiating process for remaining on the land and to demand the end of human rights violations.

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Basic Data

Name of conflict:Complexo Industrial Portuário Governador Eraldo Gueiros (Cips), Pernambuco, Brazil
State or province:Pernambuco
Location of conflict:Cabo de Santo Agostinho e Ipojuca
Accuracy of locationHIGH (Local level)

Source of Conflict

Type of conflict. 1st level:Infrastructure and Built Environment
Type of conflict. 2nd level:Chemical industries
Landfills, toxic waste treatment, uncontrolled dump sites
Transport infrastructure networks (roads, railways, hydroways, canals and pipelines)
Pollution related to transport (spills, dust, emissions)
Specific commodities:Steel
Chemical products
Transport facilities

Project Details and Actors

Project details

- Between 2011 and 2012, Suape employed more than 50 thousand people. According to the PAC's 2009 report, there were 46,700 new direct and 150 indirect jobs, with a growth of 3.5% in Gross Domestic Product.

-CIPS is located on the southern coast of the state of Pernambuco, near the mouth of the Tatuoca and Massangana rivers, adding a territorial area of 2,665.4 km2 and a resident population of 1,137,381. Among the main projects are: the Abreu e Lima Refinery, Suape Petrochemical and the Naval Pole that make up the area of direct influence that has been suffering the largest damage. The Strategic Territory of SUAPE is interconnected to more than 160 ports present in all the continents. In the year 2016 CIPS had 77 industries installed in its territory. From 2007 to 2010, CIPS received US $ 17 billion for the implementation of the main structuring projects, R $ 62.3 billion from the federal government, by the Growth Acceleration Program , more than R $ 596 million investment and investments financed by the Government of Pernambuco in 2010. At the peak of the works, between 2011 and 2012, Suape employed more than 50 thousand people. According to the PAC's 2009 report, 46,700 new direct and 150 indirect jobs were registered, with a growth of 3.5% in Gross Domestic Product, the largest in the Northeast.

Project area:266,540
Type of populationUrban
Affected Population:1,137,000
Start of the conflict:1974
Company names or state enterprises: Companhia Hidrelétrica do São Francisco (Chesf) from Brazil
Termopernambuco from Brazil
Concessionária Rota do Atlântico from Brazil
Companhia Siderúrgica Nacional from Brazil
Queiroz Galvão from Brazil
Van Oord from Netherlands
Relevant government actors:Ministério da Saúde do Brasil,Estado de Pernambuco,Instituto Nacional de Colonização e Reforma Agrária (INCRA),
International and Finance InstitutionsTaquari Participações from Brazil
Banco Nacional de Desenvolvimento Econômico e Social (BNDES) from Brazil
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:Movimento Ecossocialista de Pernambuco (MEP),Movimento dos Trabalhadores Rurais Sem Terra (MST), Ligas Camponesas, Federação dos Trabalhadores Agricultores de Pernambuco (Fetape), Centro das Mulheres do Cabo (CMC), Comissão Pastoral da Terra (CPT), Fórum Suape – Espaço Socioambiental (more than 20 local organizations in the Suape Region), Conselho Pastoral dos Pescadores (CPP), Movimento de Libertação dos Sem Terras (MLST).
Supporters: Federação de Órgãos para Assistência Social e Educacional (Fase), Action Aid, Fundação Osvaldo Cruz (Fiocruz),

Conflict & Mobilization

IntensityHIGH (widespread, mass mobilization, violence, arrests, etc...)
Reaction stageIn REACTION to the implementation (during construction or operation)
Groups mobilizing:
Local scientists/professionals
Ethnically/racially discriminated groups
Landless peasants
Religious groups
Local ejos
Social movements
Fisher people
Indigenous groups or traditional communities
Informal workers
Forms of mobilization:Development of a network/collective action
Involvement of national and international NGOs
Land occupation
Media based activism/alternative media
Official complaint letters and petitions
Public campaigns
Street protest/marches
Street blockages, use of community radio stations to share information


Environmental ImpactsVisible: Air pollution, Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Desertification/Drought, Food insecurity (crop damage), Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Noise pollution, Soil contamination, Soil erosion, Deforestation and loss of vegetation cover, Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality, Reduced ecological / hydrological connectivity, Other Environmental impacts
Potential: Floods (river, coastal, mudflow), Global warming
Other Environmental impactsSpecific impacts on mangroves (around 600 ha of mangroves have been destroyed), Specific impact on marine ecosystems due to pollution
Health ImpactsVisible: Mental problems including stress, depression and suicide
Socio-economical ImpactsVisible: Social problems (alcoholism, prostitution, etc..), Militarization and increased police presence
Other socio-economic impactsSpecific militarized security forces linked to the companies named "Milícias de Suape"


Project StatusIn operation
Conflict outcome / response:Corruption
Criminalization of activists
Strengthening of participation
Violent targeting of activists
Application of existing regulations
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:No
Briefly explain:The project is ongoing

Sources & Materials

Juridical relevant texts related to the conflict (laws, legislations, EIAs, etc)

Convenção no 169 da Organização Internacional do Trabalho (OIT)

State Law No. 7,763 for the creation of the public company Suape - Complexo Industrial Portuário, with the purpose of creating a large industrial district in the steel, petrochemical, and naval.

References to published books, academic articles, movies or published documentaries

Oliveira, R. S. SAÚDE E DESENVOLVIMENTO: um estudo sobre as condições sociossanitárias em municípios do território estratégico de Suape;

Barreto, N.M.S.; Júnior, L.P.Q. A (re)produção do espaço capitalista nas áreas de grandes empreendimentos: uma análise comparativa entre os conflitos socioambientais nos Complexos Portuários do Açu e de Suape. Boletim do Observatório Ambiental Alberto Ribeiro Lamego, Campos dos Goytacazes/RJ, v. 6 n. 1, p. 57-67.2012.

A (re)produção do espaço capitalista nas áreas de grandes empreendimentos: uma análise comparativa entre os conflitos socioambientais nos Complexos Portuários do Açu e de Suape. Nina Maria de Souza Barreto; Luiz de Pinedo Quinto Júnior


"Governo vai honrar projeto habitacional"; "Empresas e posseiros"

Banco de dados CPT e reportagem do Jornal do Comércio, presente em - Adriana Guarda: [JC] Suape, terra de conflitos


Problema Social em Suape - Editorial do Jornal do Comércio publicado em 2009-

SUAPE. Empresas instaladas em Suape.

Related media links to videos, campaigns, social network

Vídeo no youtube: "DENÚNCIA: esta é a forma real de Geraldo Júlio governar em Suape".

Vídeo: Tatuoca, Ilha Roubada (2014)

Meta information

Contributor:Cremilda Alves (FIOCRUZ- Pernambuco) and Grettel Navas (ENVJustice Project)
Last update18/08/2019
Conflict ID:3984



SUAPE Insustentável

Source: Fórum Suape | Esp socioambiental (2016)

Porto de Suape