In Defense of the Forest Code

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

codigoThe report amending the Forest Code, presented by congressman Aldo Rebelo (Communist Party of Brazil [PCdoB]) and approved by the House of Representatives Special Commission benefits the large landholders of Agribusiness.

 Even more worrisome for Agrarian Reform is the amnesty granted to all rural producers who committed environmental crimes before July of 2008. Land not serving society and - as per to the Constitution - should be reappropriated and distributed to landless workers, remains in the hands of the large landholders.

 In other words, with the approval of the new Code, Congress will change the Constitution simply to appease the interests of those who monopolize our country’s land.

 While Agribusiness celebrates in secret, the ruralists are euphoric about the possibility of legalizing the existing deforestation and opening our rainforests and preserved lands to the agricultural frontier.

What has been truly unexpected is that the more conservative sectors have found such support outside of the nest, a point that even earned praise from the senator Kátia Abreu (Democrats [DEM]), who recently tried to rally to become the vice presidential candidate for José Serra (Social Democracy Party [PSDB]).

 Since Kátia Abreu, president of the National Confederation of Agriculture (CAN) and spokesperson for the most reactionary sector of large landholders, is the primary defender of these changes, it is evident who stands to benefit from congressman Aldo Rebelo’s proposals.

So far, multiple voices have been raised against this proposal. Groups such as churches, environmental groups, large parts of the union movements and popular movementsspecifically Via Camepsina of Brazil, have rejected this project.

We hope that societal pressure manages to avoid both destruction of environmental legislation and annihilation of the concept of property’s societal role, which is key to the realization of Agrarian Reform. Instead of destroying the Forest Code, we must maintain its principles and perfect it, and preserve the environment for the benefit of the whole population and future generations.

Translated by Julia Landau