March is Over, But Fight Goes On, Says Brazil’s MST

    The Landless Rural Workers’ Movement (MST) celebrated the results of their 12 thousand-people, 15-day march towards BrasÀ­lia. Brazil’s Minister of Agrarian Development, Miguel Rossetto, announced yesterday a list with items negotiated between the MST and the federal government.

    The government reaffirmed its commitment of settling 115 thousand families in 2005, and 400 thousand more in 2006. According to the minister, a law project will be sent to Congress to ensure necessary resources.


    The federal government is also committed to reviewing land productivity indexes. These indexes, which have been the same since 1975, determine the minimum productivity level lands need to meet in order to be considered productive, and therefore, not being expropriated and used in the agrarian reform.


    Another negotiated issue was the restructuring of the National Institute of Colonization and Agrarian Reform (Incra). The Ministry of Planning authorized hiring of 137 servers that have already gone through the selection process. And another selection process will happen still this year to hire 1,300 more people.


    The government will also provide resources for the Agrarian Reform National Program of Education (Pronera), as well as credit access to settled families.


    The federal government also promised to set up a US$ 2.4 thousand (6 thousand reais) credit for settlement recovery per family. And each one of the 120 thousand families camping throughout the country, waiting for their settlement, will be granted a “basic food basket” per month.


    The MST coordinator, Jaime Amorim, said that the march is over, but that land occupations will still happen.


    “The MST struggle does not stop. We finished a project, which was the march, and now we will go back to the states. The fight goes on; Brazil still has unproductive large landholdings, unfortunately.”


    Agência Brasil

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