Landless’s Invasions Hinder Reforms, Says Brazil’s Minister

    Brazil’s Minister of Agrarian Development, Miguel Rossetto, criticized the invasions organized by the Landless Rural Workers’ Movement (MST) of buildings belonging to the National Institute of Colonization and Agrarian Reform (Incra).

    The Minister expressed surprise over the MST’s actions and affirmed that these invasions are detrimental to the execution of the National Agrarian Reform Plan.

    "We obviously cannot concur with the occupation of the Incra facilities, and we shall take all the necessary steps. It is evident that this retards agrarian reform, to the extent that it prevents or hinders Incra employees from working to ensure that the goals are met," Rossetto said.

    "The Incra headquarters should be vacated, and Incra should be allowed to get on with the job precisely to fulfill these goals."

    The National Agrarian Reform Plan provides for the settlement of 400 thousand families by the end of 2006. According to Rossetto, 117.5 thousand families were settled during the first two years of Lula’s administration. 50 thousand families have been settled this year, and lands have been provided to benefit 32 thousand more.

    The goal is to settle 115 thousand families by the end of 2005. "There is a clear determination to ensure access to land, generate work and employment in the countryside, and implement all the guidelines in the National Agrarian Reform Plan," Rossetto underscored.

    According to MST estimates, 130 thousand families are camped out all over the country. 58 thousand of them belong to the MST, which, through Monday, September 26, had taken over 21 Incra buildings in 15 states and the Federal District.

    The landless rural workers are demanding compliance with seven agreements arranged with the federal government during the National March for Agrarian Reform, which took place in May of this year.

    The items include: settlement of 400 thousand families by next year; a special line of credit for settlement farmers; distribution of resources for agro-industries in the settlements; and monthly food baskets for people camped out waiting to be assigned to settlements.

    Agência Brasil

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