MST pressures and government promises ’emergency settlements’ in the country

The Minister of Agrarian Development (MDA), Paulo Teixeira, said this Saturday that the government is preparing an emergency plan to return with land settlements starting this month. “There will be new settlements in areas that Incra (National Institute of Colonization and Agrarian Reform) already owns”, he said, in São Paulo, during the National Agrarian Reform Fair, organized by the Landless Movement (MST). According to Teixeira, credit will be provided for the installation of these settlements, in addition to technical assistance for the start of production at the sites.

Pressured by the movement – which in the third term of Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva resumed invasions of properties, including productive ones and an Embrapa area -, the federal government tries to respond to the demands of the landless and to criticisms of the slowness of the reform process agrarian. MST actions generated strong reactions from entities linked to agribusiness.

Last month, the Confederation of Agriculture and Livestock of Brazil (CNA) filed with the Federal Supreme Court (STF) a request for an injunction to prevent invasions of properties across the country. Sectors in the segment consider Lula’s administration colluding with MST acts.

The National Agrarian Reform Fair exposes the close relationship between the Lula government and the movement. Ministers and vice-president Geraldo Alckmin – who was there yesterday – became stars of the event at Parque da Água Branca, in the west region of São Paulo.

Since the beginning of this year, in addition to intensifying land invasions and pressuring the government to release more resources for agrarian reform, the MST has organized actions to appoint allies in Incra’s superintendencies. The movement also ensured its presence in the so-called Council of Lula.

The Minister of Finance, Fernando Haddad, became the poster child for a brand of cornmeal. “I am proud to have participated in the advertising campaign for these products”, said he, who did not attend the event, but, on a social network, praised the items made by the landless. The day before yesterday, Lula’s nominee to take over the Monetary Policy Board of the Central Bank, the executive secretary, Gabriel Galípolo, had already visited the event.


The presence of Alckmin and Lula’s ministers at the MST fair disturbed members of the ruralist caucus in Congress, increasing the group’s dissatisfaction with the PT government. The Planalto Palace is trying to fix the dialogue, but the event irritated parliamentarians linked to agribusiness.

“It’s the photograph we needed to be able to prove the government’s involvement with the MST in these land invasions,” said deputy Evair de Melo (PP-ES), who is second vice-president of the Chamber’s Agricultural Parliamentary Front, when commenting on the vice president’s trip to the fair. “The government pulled out the bridge with agro and there is no more dialogue”, he said.

Questioned yesterday about the MST’s CPI, vice-president Geraldo Alckmin said that the work of the Legislative is not “police-like.” “I am very cautious with this CPI story. The work of the Legislature is legislating (to draft laws), not police. There are already many oversight bodies.”

Opposition members, including parliamentarians from the ruralist group, promise to point out the government’s responsibility for the MST’s illegal acts to the commission.

On Tuesday, Alckmin will be at a luncheon for the ruralist group in Brasília. “The government is giving contradictory signals and has experienced a certain schizophrenia with agro”, said deputy Arnaldo Jardim (Cidadania-SP), vice-president of the Agricultural Front.

The information is from the newspaper The State of S. Paulo.

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