[02-11-10] MST Informa #179: Sign the petition to investigate agribusiness

La Via Campesina launched a petition suggesting that the Mixed Parliamentary Commission of Inquiry (CPMI) recently installed to criminalize the fight for agrarian reform and the MST should be used to investigate agribusiness crimes. The text states, “the restriction of the CPMI’s work to investigate only the agreements of the groups that partner with the MST will only represent another parliamentary initiative for criminalization of the social movements, and not a contribution to the development and democratization of the Brazilian countryside. La Via Campesina asks that copies of the attached be sent to CPMI’s president, senator Almeida Lima (PMDB/Ceará) and to the secretary, deputy Jilmar Tatto (PT/São Paulo). Read the document in its entirety below. OPEN LETTER TO THE PRESIDENT OF CPMI To the presidents of the Chamber of Deputies and of the Federal Senate February 2010 Esteemed sirs, The Brazilian Parliament installed yet another Mixed Parliamentary Commission of Inquiry (CPMI, with the participation of deputies and senators) to investigate the set agreements between the federal government and rural workers movements. In spite of the fact that the Ruralist Bench and big press insist that it is a “CPMI of the MST,” the requirement that created the Commission establishes wider objectives, outlined in the founding documents: “to investigate the causes and conditions and responsibilities related to the deviations and irregularities verified in the agreements and contracts signed by the State and the organizations or groups of agrarian reform and development, to investigate the illegal financing, tax resources for land invasion, analyze and diagnose the structure of Brazilian agricultural land and, in particular the promotion and implementation of land reform. Although the big media outlets don’t say so, the real objectives of the requirement’s authors – the Ruralist Bench in the Congress – to center the investigations only on agreements signed between the Executive Power and popular organizations, is to criminalize the social movements, especially the Landless Workers Movement. This is the third Parliamentary Commission of Inquiry with the same objective in the last seven years. In 2003, the “CPMI of the Land” was created, which existed until November 2005, and proved nothing against the MST or any other agrarian entity. In that CPMI, the Ruralist Bench successfully rejected the report presented by Dep. João Alfredo (PSOL/Ceará), and then secretary of CPMI, and approved the report of Dep. Lupion (DEM/PR), which proposed to classify land occupations as a hideous crime. In June 2007, the Senate approved the creation of CPI of the NGOs, designed to investigate the utilization of public resources by groups of civil society. Again, making use of a similar thesis – that is, that the popular entities and social movements divert public resources – the enemies of agrarian reform attacked again, asking for the breeching of financial, fiscal and telephone secrecy of MST-partnered organizations. The CPMI is still functioning, and its shutdown is slated for February 2010. Aside from analyzing the legal application of the resources, it would be important to analyze the results of the agreements, and if the proposed objectives were realized. Now, the Ruralist Bench returned to attack rural social movements, especially the MST, with the creation of yet another CPMI, looking to respond to the pressures of its social base, and utilizing it as a way to bar the realization of productivity indexes. The arguments and the thesis are always the same: social movements and popular entities don’t have the right to access public resources. On the other hand, the installation of the CPMI, with its objective of investigating the activities of the rural organizations, is an excellent opportunity to investigate, for example, the destination of the resources received from System S. This investigation is opportune, not just due to the quantity of public resources involved (between 2000 and 2009, SENAR and SESCOOP, organizations dominated by farm owners, received, just in resources of obligatory contribution, more than 2 billion Reais), but also by abundant evidence of the same. In repeated decisions of the Federal Audit Court, for example, these resources would be utilized not to educate and train people of the countryside, but to maintain, in an irregular way, the administrative and privileged structures of the sponsoring federations. Aside from that, following what is proposed in the approved outline of the requirement, it is an excellent opportunity to investigate the fraudulence of public land in the most diverse states of the federation, which the press denounced and which involves parliament members like senator Kátia Abreu, in the state of Tocantins, or bankers under suspicion, as is the case in the purchasing of 36 farms in only three years in southern Pará by Banco Opportunity, which was denounced in federal police inquiry. Or even with the purchasing of land by foreign businesses in the border zone, as has happened with Stora Enso in Rio Grande do Sul, and the Moon sect in Matto Grosso do Sul. Violence in the countryside (and its causes) is another reality to be investigated. In the last years, various MST leaders and agrarian movement leaders have been killed. Between re-democratization in 1985 and the present, more than 1,600 leaders of rural worker movements have been killed, including pastoral agents, lawyers, etc. Of these, only 80 got to court and fewer than 20 were tried. The CPMI needs to investigate those responsible and also why judiciary power is so conniving with the latifundist leaders who called for these crimes. We recommend that Brazilian Parliament investigate why a veritable oligopoly of foreign businesses dominates the products of agro-toxics, and transformed Brazil into the top world consumer of agricultural poison and pesticides, which affects the quality of food and the health of the population, without any responsibility. We understand that these would be some topics that this CPMI should investigate, contributing to the construction of a truly democratic society, supporting popular initiatives, including organizations and movements that, in the conquest of a piece of land, produce food for the Brazilian population. The restriction of the CMPI’s work to investigate only the agreements of the MST partnership organizations will represent, finally, one more parliamentary initiative to criminalize social movements, and not a contribution to the development and democratization of the Brazilian countryside. We want to manifest to you, Sirs, our total solidarity with the MST and to all social movements and entities that put their forces toward the struggle for just and necessary agrarian reform. Brazil will never be a just or democratic society if we do not resolve this embarrassing concentration of land ownership, in which only 15,000 landowners are the owners of 98 million acres, as stated in the last census, and that fewer than 2% of the total establishments control more than 45% of all land. And the person who struggles to democratize property cannot be criminalized by those who seek to maintain the monopoly of land ownership. Sincerely, (The letter can be sent by email to : Deputy Jilmar Tatto, secretary - dep.jilmartatto@camara.gov.br and Senator Almeida Lima, president of the CPMI - almeida.lima@senador.gov.br)