Roughly 1,500 members of Brazil's Landless Workers' Movement, MST, have occupied the patio of the National Institute of Colonization and Agrarian Reform, INCRA, in Porto Alegre to protest against the current budget proposal dedicated to agrarian reform.
Silvia Reis Marques, national director of MST in the state of Rio Grande do Sul, said if the budget proposal is approved by congress, it will “devastate campesino families” and result in the “exclusion of a process geared toward the production of healthy foods and care for the land.”
Reis Marques criticized the proposal, which was promoted by the administration of Brazilian President Michel Temer, affirming that it would bring irreparable damage to the countryside and city. She explained that this would occur because the dictates in the proposal excludes funding for countryside education projects, technical assistance, construction of housing units and resettlement of campesinos, according to Brasil 24/7.
The MST leader said the impact would “reflect in the whole of Brazilian society because the people who produce 70 percent of food are small scale, resettled farmers."
"The agrarian reform is capable of producing healthy food for Brazil, but we need access to land and the minimal conditions to produce," she added.
She reiterated that if those minimal conditions are ignored, the end result would translate into “plenty of hunger and crisis in a country that is rich in land and has workers who know how to produce food.”
Brazil's Congress has received the 2018 budget proposal for agrarian reform and is scheduled to vote in favor of or against it in December. MST considers the proposal to be “perverse” as it precludes the possibility to improve the quality of life for campesinos and Brazilian society as a whole.
The occupation of INCRA's patio in Porto Alegre is part of MST's National Struggle for Agrarian Reform campaign. Mobilizations began on Sunday with the occupation of large, unproductive estates and other INCRA offices in the states of Mato Grosso, Goias, Alagoas, Pernambuco, Bahia, Sergipe, Tocantins, Ceara, Paraiba and the Federal District.
Early this morning, the Ministry of Planning in Brazil's capital city, Brasilia, was also occupied.