Brazil’s Via Campesina from Rio Grande do Sul, which is part of the international Via Campesina, an organization that promotes land and agrarian reform around the world, says that charges brought against it are unfounded.
Yesterday, April 25, state prosecutors (Ministério Público) brought charges against 37 people linked to Via Campesina. The charges stem from an invasion of an agricultural research center run by Aracruz Celulose, located in Barra do Ribeiro, in the metropolitan region of Porto Alegre, on March 8.
According to a note from Via Campesina, the charges were the result of pressure by the media, paid for by Aracruz and supported by RBS, a local media group, "…Aracruz and RBS, two groups that have systematically sought to criminalize and persecute social movement activities in Rio Grande do Sul."
The note adds that Via Campesina opposes monocultures, such as eucalyptus, and other predatory farming methods that damage the environment and worker health.
The note goes on to say: "Via Campesina does not oppose science, but all science has a political project behind it. We do oppose ‘green deserts’ where enormous plantations of eucalyptus and other trees exist, covering thousands of hectares in Brazil and Latin America, to feed paper mills."
The note concludes by saying that the invasion of the Aracruz research center, on March 8, International Women’s Day, was carried out by a group of women and that it "… has already become a landmark event for future generations in defense of life on our planet."