[OPE-L] Brazil Land Takeovers being declared as acts of 'Terrorism'

From: Paul Cooney (pcooney@GLOVESOFF.ORG)
Date: Thu Dec 01 2005 - 13:34:58 EST

Original Post on Globolist from Steven Matthews <steve@panix.com>:

> Paul (or anyone else who knows), what's up with this?
>  (my comments follow)
> =-=-=-=-=
> A congressional inquiry in Brazil has called for land invasions to be
> declared acts of terrorism.
> The inquiry into rural violence also urged the prosecution of leaders of
> the Landless Rural Workers' Movement (MST).
> A full session of the Brazilian congress will consider whether to
> reclassify the invasions.
> The MST and allies have occupied farms and ranches to pressure the
> government to speed the settlement of hundreds of thousands of landless
> peasants.
> Correspondents say land distribution in Brazil is among the most uneven in
> the world, with the poorest 40% of the population owning just 1% of the
> land.
> Lawmakers from the ruling Workers' Party began the congressional inquiry
> last year in a bid to curb rural violence that, they say, has killed more
> than 1,300 people in the last 20 years.
> The invasions have often lead to clashes with landowners.
> The inquiry split between legislators loyal to the rural landowners and
> those allied to land reform movements such as the MST.
> A committee member from the Workers' Party, Ana Julia Carepa, ripped up
> the report, saying she would not be an accomplice of murderers.
> "The MST terrorises Brazilian citizens by invading property bought
> legally, their actions are unacceptable under our constitution," report
> sponsor Abelardo Lupion said.
> Correspondents say the congressional inquiry can be seen as a defeat for
> Brazil's land reform movement, and landless leaders could withdraw their
> support for the president's re-election bid in 2006.
> The MST has accused President Lula of failing to live up to its election
> promises to find homes for 400,000 families by 2006.
> But the government says it has already settled a little over a quarter of
> its target.
> http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/americas/4484606.stm

Report from Belém

This is yet another example of the degree to which the Worker's party has
abandoned the defense of working classes in favor of the elite and bourgeois
classes that fill its coffers.

What is not mentioned in the BBC article is that the official report of the
congressional inquiry drew opposite conclusions from the one that was finally
accepted. The one that was accepted was an ad hoc report provided by landowners
and is proof that the landowning oligarchies still wield great influence

As it turns out, the committee member from the Workers' Party, Ana Julia Carepa
happened to contact a friend of mine last night (as we were waiting to play
tennis) in regards to this issue. She is one of the few PT members that hasn't
sold out and is actually trying to challenge the neoliberal policies of the
Lula/Palocci government.

Given the fact that the PT is trying to be re-elected and is finally allocating
'some' money to expand social programs, I think it is unlikely that they will go
through with prosecuting MST leaders and declare all land seizures as acts of
terrorism, but we will have to see; since being elected, the PT has time and
time again disappointed the progressive forces that were strategic in bringing
them into power, not to mention the party's history. I and others, including
many former PT members, fear that the PT's future will not turn around for the
better but it will just become another sold out Labor Party, such as in Britain.

(I just ask not to quote me as I am not aware of all the details of this issue,
but will try and send a followup in the coming days).



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