[07/16/10] MST Informa #186: CPMI concludes that no public funds have been diverted for occupations

After eight months of the boycott against the Joint Parliamentary Committee of Inquiry (CPMI) on Agrarian Reform, the parliamentarians of the conservative sectors led by Kátia Abreu (DEM-TO) and Onyx Lorenzoni (DEM / RS) stated the need to continue investigations of the social groups that work in the settlements. During this period, the Agrarian Reform organizations and the ministries of the federal government participated in public hearings of the commission, provided all explanations and demonstrated the importance of partnerships for the implementation of public policies in rural areas. Even without participating in most sessions, the ruralists insist that the commission should be extended for another six months. Kátia Abreu, for example, did not participate in any session, although she had been the biggest advocate of establishing the commission. The final report from Mr Jilmar Tatto (PT / SP) points to the dismissal of complaints against the MST and the groups that support agrarian reform. While the committee worked full time with dozens of hearings, the ruralists were absent. Public money was spent on a CPMI created as a device to criminalize the social movements and counter advances in land reform. To force the extension of the CPMI, representatives of the big estates called for and created a legal mess after getting signatures for an extension. In the joint parliamentary committees of inquiry, which included representatives and senators, decisions must be made in sessions of Congress. As they could not achieve this, Kátia Abreu and Onyx Lorenzoni resorted to a ploy not provided for in the bylaws and argued that it was enough for the Senate simply to read the requirement. Senator Eduardo Suplicy (PT / SP) questions the method used to extend the commission and appealed to the Constitution and Justice Commission of the Senate. Then Congressman Jose Genoino (PT / SP) asked the same question in the House, which decided to refer the decision to the president of the Congress. From December to July, all clarifications were made to Congress in relation to complaints based on newspaper and magazine against Agrarian Reform. During this period, the social groups have proved that the objects of the agreements were completed, the work that has been done improves the quality of life of rural workers and there was no misuse of public funds, according to the final report of the CPMI (final report: http://www.senado.gov.br/atividade/materia/getTexto.asp?t=80504&c=PDF ). According to the work plan, provided by the bylaws of the National Congress, the CPMI ends on July 17. The final report was presented but not voted on because the ruralistas prevented it. If they can trample the regulations of Congress, senators and congressmen are colluding with the creation of a political fact, which will be used by conservative sectors in the elections against the agrarian reform and social movements. Therefore, we denounce the use of the CPMI by the ruralistas to stop any advance of Agrarian Reform, to criminalize the social movements, to get publicity in the media and mount a platform for campaigning. Below, read an interview with Congressman Jilmar Tatto, who was elected by consensus as the secretary of the so-called “CPMI of the MST”, with the findings of the investigation, granted to the Blog of Agrarian Reform last week.

MST NATIONAL SECRETARIAT "We did not find a single cent of misappropriated public funds", states CPI secretary. From the Agrarian Reform Blog (www.reformaagraria.blog.br) No public funds have been misappropriated for land occupation in Brazil. This was the conclusion of the report by the CPMI (Joint Parliamentary Committee of Inquiry), which investigated the link between agrarian reform organizations and government ministries. In total, thirteen public hearings were conducted over eight months. The CPMI also investigated the accounts of dozens of farmers' co-operatives and agrarian reform support associations. For the CPMI referendary, federal deputy Jilmar Tatto (PT/SP), "this was an unnecessary CPMI". You can read an interview with federal deputy Jilmar Tatto (PT/SP) below. The CPMI was created in order to investigate the misappropriation of public funds by agreements between ministries and social organizations for the occupation of land. After eight months of work, what is the conclusion? This was an unnecessary CPMI. The opposition made a very serious charge, saying that public funds had been misappropriated for the occupation of land in Brazil. After an intensive and exhaustive period of work, checking all the accounts of dozens of organizations that had made agreements with the federal government, we concluded that there was nothing in it. These are serious organizations that are developing a program of improvement and technical education, principally for the rural community. What you have to realize is that the political aim of the opposition, principally the DEM and the PSDB, was to criminalize the social movements in Brazil. So much so that, after setting up the CPMI, they hardly ever appeared at the meetings. This was the proof that they were really more interested in wearing down the federal government and the MST and criminalizing the social movement. Unfortunately, that is what transpired in the creation of this CPMI. How do you evaluate the work of the agrarian reform organizations (like Anca, Concrab, Cepatec, Inocar, Itac and Fepafi) that participated in the public hearings of the CPMI?>/b> To a certain extent. the opposition managed to hinder them at first. The agreements were ongoing and, by making empty accusations about these organizations, they hindered their work with the resettled rural producers. The opposition achieved part of their aims: precisely, to break some of these agreements. I think that this is what they wanted. It was proved that these organizations, working with rural settlers, producers and small landowners and linked with family farming and co-operatives, are very important for Brazil. These organizations work with the production of organic goods and to determine of the best way to use land and manage crops. From a personal point of view, it was a learning process. From a political point of view, it was a disaster, because this CPMI came to damage the countryside, particularly the small producers and settlers. There are some issues of legislative competence which need to be worked on. Which are the most important measures proposed by the report? For example, the issue of slave labor This law (which allows for the expropriation of land belonging to owners who use slave labor) needs to be voted through urgently, criminalizing those who engage in the shameful practice of slave labor, primarily in agribusiness. Another issue that needs to be resolved is that of the productivity indices. I am also proposing a law regulating agreements. Because every time the government changes, there is a procedure relating to agreements with the various organizations For this reason we have to normalize and set in law how these agreements work, in order to reduce bureaucracy and make these agreements easier and more transparent. In this way, these and other organizations will be able to get on with their work in peace, without making errors in procedure - not in bad faith - because it isn't clear in the legislation how to proceed with the accounts. Is it possible to think about some points of law regulating the agreements? We have to treat unequal cases differently.. It is one thing to make an agreement with employer organizations, which have a sizable legal, accounting and administrative structure. Small organizations, which do not have this structure, are another thing. The law has to facilitate the work and the agreements, and, obviously, has to be totally rigorous in the use of public funds. If there is the assurance that the funds will be applied within the limits, less mechanisms are necessary because we have to start from a position of good faith. One idea is to put the procedures into legislation, because they are not always clear and this damages those organizations that do not have a big administrative structure. What is the importance of these agreements for the implementation of public policy in the settlements and the rural areas? They are fundamentally important. This is a place the State cannot reach, and if it does reach, it does so hastily, without criteria. These organizations bridge the gap between the State organs and the people who most need them. They do fundamental work in rescuing the citizenry, those marginalized sectors of society. Therefore, a democratic government that cares about improving the quality of life for all needs to strengthen this kind of organization in Brazil. In your evaluation, why was the ruralist bench absent during the hearings with representatives of the organizations and the ministries? They made a whole charge, a very angry speech, sowed doubt with regard to the misappropriation of public funds, and realized that their efforts had come to very little. Because there was no misappropriation at all. The organizations and the government opened up all their accounts. It was transparent, and at no point did we manage to identify a cent of misappropriated public funds. They were demoralized, and they decided to stay away from the work of the CPMI. Anyway, we approved a working plan and fulfilled our obligation: to investigate something the Congress defined as a priority. During this time, we listened to all the organizations and government organs involved and conducted a debate about the agrarian question in Brazil. According to the working plan, the end date of the CPMI is July 17. The renewal period for the CPMI is over. Onyx Lorenzoni has announced that he will present a parallel report. What are the chances for his report to be approved next week? As a last resort they tried to extend the CPMI, but they did not get the signatures. So the opposition can only present an alternative report. A meeting has been convened for this Wednesday, at 2 PM, to vote for the report. My report will probably be voted through against that of the opposition. If there is a quorum and we have a majority, we approve our report. If not, at any rate, I already presented the report. That is what counts. The CPMI ends on July 17, with the work concluded, proving that there was no misappropriation of public funds. And the ruralists will present a report without even appearing at the sessions... Exactly. That's the contradiction. Once more, they are engaging in corruption. They have some deputies and senators, linked with the ruralists, who need to be made accountable because in practice they did very little to defend the ruralists at the CPMI. It's more to show their departments that they are working. This report also has this purpose, because from an objective point of view there is no sense in presenting an alternative report. Also because I don't know what they will write in this report. It will be more of an election speech, attending to the interests of agribusiness, than something really to do with misappropriation of public funds. From the investigations, what needs to be done for the country to resolve the conflicts in the countryside and confront the problem of poverty among rural workers? We need to keep investing a lot in family agriculture, which the government has done, increasing the funding more and more. We have to guarantee that the labor legislation will be applied, revise the productivity indices, provide more and more incentive for alternative plantation methods linked to the issue of organic food and producing good quality, nutritionally sufficient foodstuffs. And, at the same time, accelerate and intensify the process of land expropriation and agrarian reform at home. We need to map all the land in Brazil using georeferencing: both state-owned and privately owned land. We need to define clearly who occupies these lands, and those that are unproductive - as the Constitution states - must be expropriated for agrarian reform. It is necessary to accelerate this process, which advanced under the Lula government, and we need to continue working more and more so that people in the countryside too can have a better quality of life.