10,000 Landless and Indians Gather in Brazil

The “National Land and Water Conference: Land Reform, Democracy and Sustainable Development” will bring together 10,000 rural workers affected by dams, indigenous people, and militants of social movements on November 22-25 at the Nilson Nelson stadium in BrasÀ­lia, capital of Brazil.

“We want to hear the wisdom coming from the people, from the forests, from semiarid regions, from riverine populations, from the cerrado (savanna), from all parts of Brazil.


“This is a responsible civil society aware of its prerogatives in the exercise of power and capacity to influence the public opinion,” says Dom Tomás Balduí­no, president of the Land Pastoral Commission (CPT).


The ministers of Agrarian Development, Mines and Energy, Environment, and Civil House will be discussing different issues with leaders of Brazilian land-related movements during the Conference.


“In the land study to be discussed, we will see what is happening to the land, which is being used as a raw material for agribusiness activities that are destroying everything in the name of progress, of development, of the export model.


“This is detrimental to the land and society, to men and women who live off the land. The same problem exists in connection with the water, which has become private property,” criticizes Dom Tomás.


Different dams – which account for 79% of the electricity generated in Brazil – have already expelled one million people from their lands and flooded 34,000 km2 of forest areas. They directly affect indigenous peoples throughout the country.


About 180 indigenous people will attend the Conference.


“It will be the largest Conference of people linked to land-related movements in the history of our Country. It is a landmark in the history of the struggle of rural workers,” says João Paulo Rodrigues, leader of the Landless Movement (MST).


“We want to show to society that the movements of rural workers have been unified and that different demonstrations and actions scheduled for next year will be as unified as those of farmers’ associations today.


“They joined efforts around agribusiness activities and we, the rural poor, will join efforts around what we defend, namely, life and the land.”


Cimi ”“ Indianist Missionary Council
www.cimi.org.br

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