Brazil, Venezuela and Bolivia in a Land Reform United Front

Brazil’s minister of Agrarian Development, Miguel Rossetto, met with the Venezuelan Minister of Agriculture, Antonio Abarrán. Both ministers said they were working to strengthen the two countries’ cooperation agreements in the sector.

According to Rossetto, "Both governments are committed to making land ownership more democratic."

Rossetto also announced that Brazil is optimistic that similar agreements will soon be signed with the new Evo Morales administration in Bolivia.

Rossetto was in Caracas for the 6th World Social Forum, where he was making preparations for the 2nd International Conference on Agrarian Reform and Rural Development scheduled for March 7 to 10 in Porto Alegre.

Violence

The final report of Brazil’s Joint Parliamentary Investigatory Commission (CPMI) on the Land released in November pointed to landholding concentration as one of the chief causes of rural violence in Brazil.

According to the document, 2.6% of the listed rural properties account for slightly over half the country’s total occupied area.

The commission’s rapporteur, deputy João Alfredo from PSOL party of Ceará state, mentions other causes as well, such as foot-dragging in the agrarian reform process; inactivity on the part of the Executive, Legislative, and Judicial branches; and impunity.

According to data from the Catholic Church’s Land Pastoral Commission (CPT), presented in the report, 1,349 rural workers were murdered in the two decades between 1985 and 2004, and only 15 authors of these killings received court convictions.

Besides presenting a diagnosis of the rural situation, the report, which is over 700 pages long, made 150 recommendations, such as the creation of federal agrarian auditor’s offices in the states to stimulate decentralized efforts at conflict prevention, and the allocation of sufficient budget resources to fulfill the goals of the National Agrarian Reform Plan.

The CPMI on the Land was installed in December, 2003, and functioned for nearly two years. Testimony was heard from 125 people, including workers, landowners, researchers, and representatives of associations, government organs, and civil society, and around 75 thousand pages of reports, investigations, and legal processes were analyzed.

ABr

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