[04/03/08] Brazil - Growing Foreign Appetite For Land

By Mario Osava RIO DE JANEIRO, Mar 24 (IPS) - It is a question of "national sovereignty, not xenophobia," said the president of Brazil’s land reform agency, INCRA, explaining the need to regulate foreign land ownership in Brazil. The biofuel frenzy has driven growing purchases of land in Brazil in the last few years, by local and foreign investors alike. Global financier George Soros, Microsoft chairman Bill Gates, the owners of Google and former U.S. president Bill Clinton (1993-2001) have all bought land or are partners in companies dedicated to the development of bioenergy in this country.

[03/22/08] Expansion of Biotechnology in Brazil Augments Rural Conflicts

by Isabella Kenfield Americas Program, Center for International Policy (CIP) On March 7th—International Women's Day—dozens of Brazilian women occupied a research site of the U.S.-based agricultural biotechnology giant Monsanto in the state of São Paulo, Brazil, destroying the greenhouse and experimental plots of genetically-modified (GM) corn.

[03/07/08] MST Mobilizes Against Police Violence, in Solidarity with Via Campesina Activists

Stora Enso's Brazilian Imbroglio by Maurna Desmond, Forbes.com Paper maker Stora Enso is catching heat from activists in Brazil who recently invaded its factory and blocked major roads. The Finnish-Swedish company wants to plant roots in South America, but the locals haven't been very welcoming. On Wednesday, Brazilian land rights group Landless Rural Workers Movement (MST) blocked eight roads in the Rio Grande do Sul state in Brazil to protest alleged police violence against peaceful and predominantly female activists a day earlier. MST says 900 protesters had invaded the 5200-acre Stora Enso tree farm. Police authorities report a head count of 600. The firm's stock has remained at $12.40 all day Thursday.

[01/27/08] Interview with Joao Pedro Stédile: ‘The WSF Has to Agree On Common Actions Against Common Enemies’

RIO DE JANEIRO, Jan 24 (IPS) - Joao Pedro Stédile thinks that the World Social Forum (WSF) should remain a debating arena for civil society, because with all its breadth and variety, to attempt to agree on resolutions is "an illusion." The Brazilian landless movement activist is also in favour of holding the WSF every three years, instead of annually, he said in an interview with IPS correspondent Mario Osava. A member of the group that founded the WSF in the southern Brazilian city of Porto Alegre in 2001, Stédile is regarded as one of the main theorists of the Landless Rural Workers Movement (MST), and he belongs to the local chapter of Vía Campesina, an international non-governmental organisation (NGO).

[12/15/07] Catholic Hierarchy Backs Bishop’s Hunger Strike

RIO DE JANEIRO, Dec 14 (IPS) - The upper echelons of the Brazilian Catholic Church have decided to lend their support to Bishop Luiz Cappio, who is on hunger strike against the diversion of water from the Sao Francisco river, after the government confirmed it would go ahead with the project.

The authorities argue that the work is essential to provide water for millions of poor people in the semi-arid northeast, the country’s poorest region.

The decision by the National Conference of Brazilian Bishops (CNBB) was announced after a meeting between high-ranking Church representatives and President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, who told them that the project would continue, and that it was the Church’s own responsibility to intercede with Cappio to give up his fast, which he began on Nov. 27.

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