In an exclusive interview with the Portal IG, Gilmar Mauro, leader of the Landless Workers Movement, stated that the movement -- which has a constituency estimated to be around two million rural workers -- is building an alliance with urban sectors to take part in protests and put pressure on the Dilma administration to take concrete measures to confront social problems.
by Eduardo Scolese, of Agência Folha
João Pedro Stedile, 59, economist and leader of the Landless Workers Movement (Movimento dos Trabalhadores Rurais Sem Terra, MST), says that it is necessary to take advantage of the protests to create new mechanisms for popular participation in the destiny of the country.
If this doesn’t happen, he says, “the mobilizations will return stronger and more radical”.
Seventeen years have passed since that fateful April 17. On that day in 1996, a march of rural workers organized by the MST was blockaded and attacked by military police in the city of Eldorado dos Carajás, Pará state. 19 people were killed on the spot and 2 others died days afterwards. The day of the Eldorado dos Carajás massacre has officially become the National Day of Struggle for Land Reform.
Brazilian society faces, in the rural milieu, distinct problems needing different solutions. We have serious problems and emergencies that require urgent action. There are about 150,000 families of landless laborers living under black tarps, camping, fighting for the rights that are in the Constitution to have land to work. For this problem, the government needs to do a real joint effort among the various agencies and settle the families in lands that exist in abundance throughout the country. Remember that Brazil uses for agriculture only 10% of its total area.
The Brazil Rainforest Movement launched an internet petition against the appointment of Senator Katia Abreu (PSD - TO) for the agriculture ministry of President Dilma Rousseff.
"The appointment of Katia Abreu would represent another step toward the interests of landowners and multinational agribusiness. If this action is confirmed it would be construed by us as a sign of definitive break of the federal government with sustainable development," says the petition.
Click here to sign the petition *
A federal court in Brazil has ordered the immediate suspension of work on the huge Belo Monte hydro-electric dam in the Amazon.
The court says local indigenous people have not been properly consulted. Officials point out that the builders of the dam will be able to appeal against the decision. Once completed, the 11,000-megawatt dam, in Brazil's Para state, would be the third largest hydro-electric dam in the world. Belo Monte would only be smaller than the Three Gorges in China, and Itaipu which is jointly run by Brazil and Paraguay. The project, which has been heavily criticised by environmentalists, was approved by the Brazilian Congress in 2005. It is expected to flood a vast area of tropical forest.
The votes are in! Vale, the Brazilian mining company, has been voted the worst company in the world. Vale received 25,042 votes edging out Tepco, Japan’s large energy company which blatantly disregarded structural safety of its nuclear plants resulting in the post-tsunami disaster.
The year is ending and again we have the feeling of accomplishment for all the struggles, activities, and alliances that we’ve built and engaged in with all the various sectors of the working class. In another difficult year we had to carry out great struggles against agribusiness that continues its offensive against our lands, natural resources, and public investments.