Brazil: 200 peasant families occupy properties of a monopoly in Espirito Santo. PT and gunmen attack peasants once again in Bahia

Picture of the peasant families in the occupied lands. Source: AND

The Brazilian newspaper A Nova Democracia [New Democracy – AND] reports on a new peasant occupation in Brazil. The occupation is in the north of the state of Espírito Santo. Movimento dos Trabalhadores Rurais Sem Terra [Landless Rural Workers Movement – MST] mobilized 200 peasant families to occupy an area belonging to a large landowner monopoly, Suzano Papel e Celulose LTDA. As we have already written, the MST has launched a campaign of peasant occupations, which is part of what they call ”Red April”. AND reports the following: ”On the same day, the ”Justice” of Espírito Santo granted Suzano’s request to recover the occupied lands. Judge Fábio Massariol, from Aracruz, authorized the police to use force to evict the families and established a fine of 5 thousand Brazilian reais per hour for each peasant who does not obey the order. The speed in decreeing the dispossession in favor of the large estates contrasts with the slowness with which the judiciary of the old State acts in the land titling processes for poor peasants and in the delivery of land to landless peasants through the failed “agrarian reform”.”.

The Suzano monopoly is the largest landowner in the state of Espírito Santo, owning the majority of the land, and monopolizing more and more of it. It is also one of the largest producers and distributors of paper and derived products in all of Latin America. The Brazilian government’s harmony with Suzano was seen in the recent visit of President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva to China. The Brazilian president mentioned that he was going to visit the Suzano Innovation Center in Shanghai. In addition, the president of the monopoly, Pablo Machado, mentioned the visit to China would bring new opportunities for both countries.

In the state of Bahia the Brazilian “justice” has also acted in favor of the monopolies. The newspaper AND reports on a new attack against the peasants by the Military Police (MP) and the gunmen of the large landowners. The attack was ordered by the state’s governor, who is from Partido dos Trabalhadores [Workers’ Party – PT]. The newspaper AND explains what happened: “Dozens of troops and vehicles of the Military Police (MP), sent by the governor of Bahia Jerônimo Rodrigues (PT), together with a gang of gunmen from the Calsete company [a monopoly] on March 31 evicted 250 peasant families who had occupied the unproductive Lagoa dos Portácios farm, in Carinhanha, in the south of Bahia. The farm had been occupied on January 25 and had been abandoned for more than 25 years.

The LCP also denounces that, during the eviction action, Calsete’s gunmen destroyed the water tank built by the peasants. The movement denounces the company for the shooting and for the trail of destruction it leaves wherever it goes. According to the LCP, Calsete is looting all the assets from the land and destroying the natural environment, and after abandoning the land, it classifies it as an “environmental reserve” or “carbon reserve”.

In a very short time there have been two big attacks by gunmen in collaboration with the MP. We previously reported on the last attack, which was in Minas Gerais. The LCP denounces that the monopolies and big landowners are hoarding enormous amounts of land and leave it idle, while the peasantry has no way to survive and is constantly dispossessed of its lands. The LCP asserts that “the only solution to this serious economic crisis is to take the land away from the large estates and give it to the poor peasants without land or with little land, to the unemployed workers, to the fathers and mothers of families, so that they can produce food on the lands abandoned by the parasitic large estates”.

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