Articles by: Isabella Kenfield
Editor's Note: With solidarity from landless and campesino movements, indigenous Tupinikim and Guarani communities in the Brazilian state of Espírito Santo have successfully reclaimed their land from Aracruz Celulose S.A., a mammoth multinational cellulose company that illegally appropriated it in the 1970s. A NACLA investigation supported by the Samuel Chavkin Investigative Journalism Fund finds that the growing unity of various factions of rural civil society, and their increasing militancy—especially as manifested in the tactic of nonviolent occupations—have greatly boosted the indigenous struggle.
Last week the Brazilian Movement of Landless Rural Workers (MST) held its fifth National Congress in Brasília, the country’s capital. The power the MST has garnered throughout its 23 years was palpable, as more than 17,500 delegates from 24 states and almost 200 international guests marched to the Square of the Three Powers, situated between the buildings of the executive, judicial and legislative branches of government. Marchers hung a huge banner in the square that read, “We accuse the three powers of impeding agrarian reform.”
Days before Brazil’s October 1 national elections, about 300 members of Vía Campesina and the Landless Rural Workers' Movement (MST) camped in front of the Santa Rita farm. Located in Santo Antônio da Platina in the state of Paraná, the farm belongs to Abelardo Lupion, a federal congressman of the right-wing Liberal Front Party. Vía Campesina alleges that Lupion illegally bought the farm from the U.S.-based Monsanto Corporation in return for using his political power to legalize the pesticide glyphosate in Brazil.