Brazil’s Land Distribution Crisis
|November 20, 2002||Posted by Staff under Archive, Progress Report, The Progress Report|
What Should Brazil’s Land Policy Be?
Landless protests continue in Brazil
Below are excerpts from a BBC report.
Leaders of the Landless Rural Workers Movement (MST) have vowed to continue their occupation of government buildings in Brazil.
The peasants are demanding a speeding up of land reform, more credit for poor farmers and a meeting with government representatives.
The government has said it will not bow to pressure and will not tolerate further acts of violence.
On Tuesday, at least one person died and about 100 were injured in clashes with police as the landless occupied a number of public buildings across Brazil.
Police claim they used only rubber bullets
The MST says a peasant identified as Antonio Tavarez Pereira died from a gunshot wound in the stomach. He was allegedly shot during a violent standoff with anti-riot police near the Parana state capital, Curitiba.
An “official” autopsy report on the victim has yet to be released.
The clash in Curitiba was the most serious of a number of confrontations between the MST and the Brazilian authorities.
They started when riot police stopped about 30 buses carrying more than 1,000 peasants on the main road to Curitiba. Police reported that 40 workers and 37 policemen were injured in the ensuing disturbance.
In other parts of Brazil, peasants blocked roads, demonstrated and took over government buildings.
In São Paulo, military police arrested at least 16 protesters and dispersed about 200 who were heading for the federal Internal Revenue Service building.
The MST wants a pledge from the government to find land for 100,000 families and credits to help families that have been settled.
The government claims it has redistributed more land than any other administration in Brazil’s history.
However, according to the Pastoral Land Commission, half of the nation’s arable land is still controlled by a handful of Brazil’s wealthiest families.
What’s the answer? People have starved while waiting for bureaucrats to act. How can Brazilians resolve this struggle? Tell The Progress Report!