[05/26/06] Solidarity Campaign for the Expropriation of the Coqueiros (Coconut Palm) Farm **SOLIDARITY LETTER INCLUDED**

Campaign for the Expropriation of the Coqueiros (Coconut Palm) Farm

Dear Friends,

The MST recently kicked off a campaign for the expropriation of seven thousand hectares of vacant lands known as the Fazenda Guerra, located in the municipality of Coqueiros do Sul. Currently, this vast, uninhabited area belonging to the Guerra family comprises 30% of the total land area of the municipality while only employing about 15 temporary laborers. The MST postulates that the land should be transformed into a community for 450 families, generating 950 jobs in its infancy and serving as a catalyst for diversified production in the region and stimulating overall economic growth.

A convincing argument in favor of this idea sits right next door to the Guerra Farm. It’s the Anonni Farm, where in 1986, 420 families asserted their collective right-to-ownership over the vacant piece of land and took control of the 9 thousand hectares. Today, the Annoni Farm produces 20 thousand sacks of wheat, 6 million liters of milk, 150 thousand sacks of soy, 35 thousand sacks of corn, 45 tons of fruit, 800 head of cattle, 5 thousand pigs, and 10 thousand kilos of vegetables every year.

The expropriation of the Guerra Farm is also supported by local mayors who wish for an end to the conflict and more development of the region. We ask that all MST suporters send a message, by email or letter, to President Lula and to the president of the National Institute for Colonization and Agrarian Reform (INCRA), responsible for Land Reform in our country.

We are counting on your support.
Agrarian Reform! For a Brazil with land for all!

- National Coordinating Body of the MST

Please take a moment to personalize and send the letter [BELOW] to:

1)Brazil's President Luis Inacio 'Lula' da Silva [ presidente@planalto.gov.br ]
Mailing Address:
Presidência da República Federativa do Brasil
Palácio do Planalto
Praça dos 3 Poderes
Brasília - DF
CEP: 70150-900

2)INCRA's President Rolf Hackbart [ presidencia@incra.gov.br ]
Mailing Address:
Instituto Nacional de Colonização e Reforma Agrária - INCRA
SBN - Edifício Palácio do Desenvolvimento
Brasília - DF
CEP: 70057-900
PABX: 3411-7474



We want to bring to your attention what is happening in the municipality of Coqueiros do Sul, in the area north of Rio Grande do Sul. It is here that 1.5 thousand families forming part of the landless rural workers movement (MST) have been encamped since February of 2006 in protest of the failed implementation of Brazil's land laws, allowing 7 thousand hectares of farm land, known as the Guerra Farm, to lie idle. These MST families are also suffering persecution from the State Government, the Military Police, the Justice system, the owners of the idle land, and the media of Rio Grande do Sul.

The Guerra Farm constitutes 30% of the entire area of the municipality and the fact that it lies idle holds back the surrounding region from enjoying the benefits development has brought to nearby areas. A collective take over of the Guerra Farm could provide shelter to 450 small family farmers, generating 950 jobs in its infancy while serving as a catalyst for diversified production in the region and stimulating overall economic growth.

In light of the past and continuing human rights violations these families have suffered and the apathy on behalf of the State Government concerning agrarian reform, we ask the Federal Government to expropriate the 7 thousand hectares of the Guerra farm that lie idle.