Departure had been determined by Justice; movement says that federal government would have claims of the landless
SOROCABA – Members of the Landless Rural Workers Movement (MST) began this Saturday, 22nd, the evacuation of a research area belonging to the Brazilian Agricultural Research Corporation (Embrapa), invaded last Sunday, 16th. the landless dismantle the shacks installed on public property and move to an area assigned to the temporary camp for the 600 families involved in the occupation, close to the BR-428. The PM only monitors the vacancy.
The departure of the invaders had been determined on Wednesday, 19, by the Justice of Petrolina. The following day, a court official summoned the leaders of the movement to vacate within 48 hours. Embrapa confirmed that the departure of the landless had started “in a peaceful manner” and had the expectation that the total withdrawal would take place by the end of Saturday night.
The MST, on the other hand, said, through a spokesperson, that the federal government had committed itself to meeting the movement’s claims, including the purchase of properties between the municipalities of Petrolina and Lagoa Grande for the settlement of families. The report contacted the National Institute of Colonization and Agrarian Reform (Incra) and is awaiting a response.
The invasion of the Embrapa Semi-Arid research center caused great repercussions because it is a public, productive area intended for improving agricultural techniques that especially benefit small producers in the region. According to Embrapa, the unit develops experiments and multiplication of basic genetic material of cultivars (seeds and seedlings) adapted for cultivation in areas with low rainfall, such as the Northeast.
The MST’s action also reached preservation areas of the caatinga, compromising the lives of endangered animals, in addition to research for environmental conservation and sustainable use of the biome.
The day after the Embrapa invasion, members of the movement invaded two eucalyptus plantations in Aracruz, in the north of Espírito Santo. The actions were part of the so-called “Red April”, a national mobilization of the movement that remembers the death of 19 landless people by the Military Police, in April 1996, in Eldorado dos Carajás, in the southeast of Pará. During the journey, ten rural properties were invaded, in addition to the occupation of at least 12 public buildings.
The invasion of productive lands by the MST, especially the research area of Embrapa, generated strong reactions from agribusiness sectors and caused contradictory reactions from the government. While the actions were vehemently rejected by the Minister of Agriculture and Livestock, Carlos Fávaro, MST leaders were received and had their demands accepted by Ministers Paulo Teixeira, of Agrarian Development and Family Agriculture, and Fernando Haddad, of Finance.
Names sympathetic to the movement took over most of Incra’s 19 regional superintendencies that had a change of command during the Lula government. The Minister of Finance, on the other hand, promised to make an effort to increase the funds earmarked for land collection and accelerate agrarian reform, as requested by the MST.
In a note, the movement informed that, after the commitments assumed by the government to meet the demands of rural workers, the areas of Suzano and Embrapa Semi-Arid are being vacated, obeying the deadlines negotiated with the state. In the case of Suzano, eviction runs until the 27th. “The families who carried out the occupations did not damage any of the agency’s structures and no animal was threatened,” said the MST.
Government ministers, however, intensified the discourse against the new wave of invasions promoted by the MST in productive areas and in Embrapa. According to Alexandre Padilha, from the Institutional Relations Secretariat, the group has other forms of action to obtain results.
The government’s perception is that the invasions, which aim to pressure for the acceleration of the agrarian reform program, may end up having the opposite effect, as they tend to delay the schedule being developed by the Lula government. Agrarian reform, as well as encouraging family farming, are the PT’s campaign flags.
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