Leaders of Brazil’s Landless Rural Workers’ Movement (MST) had a meeting, yesterday, with members of the Chamber of Deputies, to talk about the National March for Agrarian Reform that will happen from May 1-17.
Eleven thousand manifestants are expected to gather in Goiânia and march toward Brasília. The objective is to press government for assurance of resources for the agrarian reform.
This month, the government released US$ 156 million (400 million reais) for the Ministry of Agrarian Development. The Executive Secretary of the Ministry, Guilherme Cassel, affirmed that this amount will allow settlement of over 35,000 families until September.
Ealier this year, President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva paid a visit to the Landless Rural Workers’ Movement (MST) encampment that bears his name.
The community of about 850 families occupies an area near the municipality of Eunápolis, in the south of Bahia. Lula promised the camp residents that they would receive land by July.
In his speech the President said that the MST is one of the most respected and serious movements in Brazil, “because it defends a noble cause.”
“And I have a keen awareness of what the Landless Rural Workers’ Movement represents for the history of the Brazilian working class and our country’s political history,” he affirmed.
Lula guaranteed that his Administration is determined to carry out land reform and, most of all, to seek programs to improve the living conditions of settlement residents.
“I have had systematic discussions with my ministers on a citizenship package so that we can begin to resolve not just the problem of settling the people who need to be settled, but that of recovering the working conditions of those who have already been settled,” he declared.
The Ministry of Agrarian Development and the National Institute of Colonization and Agrarian Reform (Incra) announced the balance of agrarian reform in 2004.
The data reveal that 99.4% of the funds allocated in the budget was spent and the number of families settled corresponds to 71% of the target set by the government.
81,254 families were settled between January and December, 2004. The government expected to settle 115 thousand families.