Peasant Protests in Six States [3-2-11]

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Throughout Brazil, the women of Via Campesina triggered the Day of Struggles of Women to condemn the excessive use of pesticides by Brazilian cultivation, the responsibility of the agribusiness production model.

To date, six states are mobilized to denounce the harmful effects on health and the environment of the annual use of over a billion liters of poisons, according to data from the National Association of Industrial Products for Agricultural Defense.

Brazil ranks first in the list of countries consuming pesticides since 2009.

According to Ana Hanauer, a member of the national coordination of the MST, the initial actions already include about 5,000 women from all over Brazil.

"Our struggle is to defend the land reform, agro-ecology, healthy food production. We are mobilized to give visibility to the problems caused by agribusiness. One of them is the indiscriminate use of pesticides. The market of poisons is a problem for our sovereignty, for our health and the environment," she said.

The motto of the day is "Women against violence of the agribusiness and pesticides: land reform and food sovereignty."

Check out what happened state by state:
In Bahia, in 1,500 women occupied the Cedro plantation belonging to the multinational Veracel2 in Eunápolis on February 28. The workers denounced the action of agribusiness in the extreme south of Bahia, with the production of eucalyptus monoculture practiced unevenly in the region by Veracel, as it occupies vacant lands. Meetings to discuss the peasant agriculture and native seeds are also expected in the days March 5-10, involving the municipalities of Pindaí, Caetité, Riacho do Santana, Rio do Antônio Caculé, Brumado.

In Pernambuco, 800 rural workers linked to the MST, the Movement of Small Farmers (MPA), the Movement of Dam Affected People (MAB) and the Pastoral Land Commission (CPT) marched, on the morning of Tuesday (March 1), from Petrolina to Juazeiro, blocking the bridge that connects the two cities, denouncing the ineffectiveness of INCRA1 in the region. Yesterday, more than 500 women occupied INCRA  in the city of Recife as a way to draw attention to land reform.

In Rio Grande do Sul, about 1,000 women from Via Campesina, Movement of Unemployed Workers (MTD), the Youth Uprising and Inter-Union protested today outside the Palace of Justice, Praça da Matriz in Porto Alegre. They marched from the Public Market of Porto Alegre to the site. Members were dressed in black standing in front of the building in silence, to remember that women have been silenced by various forms of violence. In the same city, about 1,000 women occupied the courtyard of Braskem, Odebrecht Group3 in the Triunfo Petrochemical Complex, metropolitan region of Porto Alegre. The event aims to expose the green plastic produced from cane sugar is as harmful and polluting as plastic made from crude oil.

Already in Passo Fundo (RS), 500 women held a public demonstration in the center, with training activities in the Seminary Our Lady of Aparecida.

In Sergipe, about 1,000 rural workers in the state are camped in the Square of the Flag of Aracaju. From March 1-3, they will participate in activities that expose the pesticides, agribusiness, the criminalization of social movements and violence against women.

In Minas Gerais, the Regional Forum for Agrarian Reform of Triangulo Mineiro and Alto Paranaiba occupied the headquarters of the Inhumas plantation in Uberaba, on Saturday (February 26 ), in an action involving 200 families. The event marks the activities of the March 8 and will discuss with about 500 women to violence caused by agribusiness, the consequences of pesticide use and alternatives for the transformation of discriminatory model established in the field and in the city.

In Sao Paulo, since early this Friday (25 / 2), several women of the MST, perform an act of denunciation and vindication in front of the City of Limeira, near Campinas.

In the last 24 days, about 70 women of the MST and Via Campesina carried out the occupation of the Municipality of Apiaí, located on the Southwest region of São Paulo state to lobby for access to basic rights such as health, education, housing, transportation and basic sanitation, seeing that they are being denied by the municipality to families in the encampments.


Editor’s Notes:

 1 Veracel is the result of a partnership between two leaders in the pulp and paper industry, Brazilian Fibria and Swedish-Finnish Stora Enso . The company is an integrated agro-industrial undertaking, operated by nearly 700 own employees and about 2,400 workers from specialized companies, ranging from eucalyptus planting to pulp final shipment.

 2INCRA is the National Institute for Colonization and Agrarian Reform, the Brazilian federal agency responsible for agrarian reform.

 3Braskem a Brazilian petrochemical company headquartered in São Paulo. The company is the largest petrochemical in the Americas by production capacity and the seventh largest in the world. By revenue it is the fourth largest in the Americas and the seventeenth in the world. Braskem is owned by Odebrecht S.A., a Brazilian conglomerate in the fields of Engineering, Construction, Chemicals and Petrochemicals. The company was founded in 1944 in Salvador da Bahia by Norberto Odebrecht, and is now present in South America, Central America, North America, the Caribbean, Africa, Europe and the Middle East.