Featured image: Peasants of the Jussaral community. Source: AND
The agriculture monopoly Suzano Papel e Celulose has invaded lands of peasants of the community of Jussaral in Urbano Santos, Maranhão. The peasants denounce that they have suffered threats by gunmen of the company and that the company has knocked down fences and invaded the lands of the community with tractors.
Suzano is the largest producer of eucalyptus pulp in the world, and claims that its plantations are green and that it is ”conserving” and ”restoring” the biodiversity of the rain forests of Brazil. However, the peasants of Jussaral say that the plantations of the company have caused a shortage of water for the community. The water resources are dried up and contaminated with pesticides from the plantation.
Suzano has claimed for 30 years that it owns the land of the peasants, and has threatened them multiple times. 80 families live in the area, and the community has existed for over a hundred years. However, also another company claims to own the land: earlier, another agricultural company offered money to the president of the Union of Residents of the Jussaral Community, Raimundo Rodrigues, for the land of the community. He refused the offer, and was then threatened by the company. AND points out that this shows that the claims of the companies to the land are false. According to the investigation of the journalist Antenor Ferreira, 70% of the plantations of Suzano in Maranhão are on illegal land. Suzano is also known of land grabbing in other states, such as in Espírito Santo, where 200 peasant families occupied land of the company in April.
Suzano Papel e Celulose, which produces paper and pulp, materials seen as essential for replacing plastic in for example packaging, recently announced it will invest R$ 16 million (USD 3.3 M) on ”bio-economy” projects together with the National Service for Industrial Learning (Senai). The old Brazilian State is looking to become a ”world leader” in this sector in the name of ”sustainability”. Sustainability is however far from this. As we see in the case of Suzano, these new projects mean more aggressive land grabbing in the interest of the imperialists. For example, in spring Lula visited China and announced 20 commercial agreements between private and public entities of the countries. Suzano was one of the companies to make these agreements, especially in the field of ”bio-based materials”. The Lula government welcomes this robbing of the vast natural resources and the exploitation of the Brazilian people in the name of ”green re-industrialization”.