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  • Members of the MST during a campesino march in Sao Paulo, Brazil.

    Members of the MST during a campesino march in Sao Paulo, Brazil. | Photo: Reuters

Published 22 July 2016
Opinion

Leaders of the MST campesino movement said they will protest new liberal reforms by taking over land in Brazil.

Brazil’s largest social movement, the Landless Workers Movement, announced Thursday it will launch a land occupation if senate-imposed president Michel Temer lifts the ban placed on foreign-land ownership.

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"We will give a warning to companies: if this irresponsible action is taken, don’t dare to buy land here, because we will occupy all the areas that were given to foreign capital," said Joao Pedro Stedile, MST leader.

This came after the government announced it will ease foreign ownership of Brazilian agricultural land. Since 2010, the country has forbidden the sale of land to non-Brazilians.

Stedile spoke during the first National Festival of Arts and Culture and Agrarian Reform in the city of Belo Horizonte.

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According to Stedile, Temer’s decision to eliminate the Ministry of Agrarian Development will bring great losses, as the office is responsible for food production policies in the country.

The movement leader also accused the coup-imposed government of planning to increase the retirement age to 65 years, as part of Temer’s social security reform. The current limit is 55 years for women and 60 years for men.

Stedile also said other social movements will join in a nationwide protest before the final vote in the impeachment process against suspended President Dilma Rousseff, and will demand interim president Temer resign.

The campesino leader said the impeachment process had nothing to do with Rousseff's mistakes, as she didn’t commit any crime, but was part of a plan by the elites to impose neoliberal politics and reduce worker’s rights.

Stedile also announced several protests before the Rio Olympic Games, which are set to begin on August 5.

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