A dream come true; after eight years Landless win settlement

Tuesday, August 25, 2015
Info Source: 
MST Communication Collective in Bahia, Da Página do MST

More than 150 landless families of pre-settlement Bela Manhã (Beautiful Morning), located on Brigade Nelson Mandela, in southern Bahia, got another victory in the struggle for agrarian reform on Saturday (8/22/15).

In a climate of mística, of joy and recalling the historical record of struggle of families that began with  the  encampment Marcha Bahia, in 2007, the Landless celebrate the designation of the area by the Institute of Colonization and Agrarian Reform (Incra) and the positive response from the federal government granting permanent land acquisition.

Thus, workers are organizing in 15 rural villages, with ten families each, seeking greater efficiency in agroecological production and ensuring the exchange of experiences and collective construction of knowledge.

For workers this moment represents the results of the struggle of thousands of people who dream of Agrarian Reform.

History of settlement

Marcha BahiaThe encampment Marcha Bahia was born in 2007 through the struggle of 1,500 workers who were organized with the aim of pressuring the government to carry out the democratization of the land in the country.

Initially located near the town of Duque de Caxias and on the shoulder of (highway) BA 290 in Teixeira de Freitas, the families remained camped for three months waiting for a response from Incra and the State Government.

The landless Edivaldo Gomes Pereira recalls that the encampment was the result of hard and continuous work to mobilize families in the neighborhoods of the city of Teixeira de Freitas.
"We created some militant groups in outlying communities that came out inviting people to join the fight, then we held fortnightly meetings to explain the importance of democratization of the land and the possibilities for better living conditions," said Pereira.

Without a  government response, families occupied the farm Céu Azul also in Teixeira, where they remained for three more months until receiving a request for repossession.

Evicted, the Landless families camped temporarily at Escola Média de Agropecuária Regional da Ceplac (Middle School of Agro-business in the CEPLAC  Region) (EMARC) area of ​​the state, where they remained for eight months on the government's promise.

On April 5, 2008, the families occupied the farm Bela Manhã, with more than 2,000 hectares, where they remained encamped until the present day.

"I never thought about giving up"

In this process of struggle and resistance, Elizabete Gil, camped since the beginning of the pre-settlement, recounts her life story in the struggle for land.

"I was born, I grew up, got married, had children and brought them up in the countryside. After 29 years of marriage, I separated and because of that, I was living in the city. At this time I went through many difficulties," she contextualized.

"I grew up in the countryside, and was not adapted to living in the city. I like the farm and that's why I entered the MST. With that, I was invited to set up an encampment with several landless families. It was a period of struggle, we suffered a lot at the beginning because I had to carry wood on the head to make the shacks in each new camp," she explains.

Elizabete gets emotional when remembering that she was alone in this process of struggle that it was "very difficult for my participation in heavy work."

"I had to work hard, because I did not have a salary and I'm not retired. I survived working days and days cultivating my little garden, I worked on the handle of the hoe and never thought to give up," she emphasizes.

According to Gil there were moments of questions about the permanence and participation in the fight, because taking the land was delayed.

On the day she learned that the land would be demarcated by Incra, she became emotional and wept with joy to see the dream to stay and work the land coming true.celebration

Today, Elizabete believes her lot can produce everything and bring new comrades to join the struggle for land.

"I never thought about quitting! Many families have given up, but I always said I will not give up. I will stand up when I have the strength to walk and march," she concludes.