(06/03/05) MST Update #91: CPMI of Land: ideological platform of the fight for Agrarian Reform

Dear friends of the MST,

The week in Brasília we followed two more sessions of the Congressional Commission of Inquiry of Land (CPMI). Established in the beginning of 2004, the objectives of the CPMI were to analyze the progress of Agrarian Reform, the social movements of workers and landowners, and to investigate the causes of rural conflicts and violence in order to identify concrete solutions to the Agrarian Reform problems in Brazil.
However, what we are experiencing is a deviation of focus in regards to the question of land. Recent issues such as habeas corpus conceded to Adriano Chafik Luedy, confessed perpetrator of the Felisburgo Massacre (state of Minas Gerais), or the liberty of those who ordered the assassination of Sister Dorothy Stang, did not even make it on the Commission agenda. Instead, the CPMI decided to investigate two associations, the Anca (National Association of Agricultural Cooperation) and the Concrab (Confederation of Agrarian Reform Cooperatives of Brazil), which fight for Agrarian Reform in the country and are partners of the MST and other social movements.

We are not against the investigation, much to the contrary. The MST has always defended transparency in the administration of any public resource. But the intention of the CPMI congress members, connected to agribusiness and other politicians who represent these interests, the ruralists, was not just to verify the destination of the government funds. The idea was to link the financial transactions of the two non-profit and autonomous associations, which are available to the public in the Brazilian Federal Court of Accounts (Tribunal de Contas da União), to the transactions of the Movement, trying to criminalize the rural workers and affect the morale of the MST in the eyes of the Brazilian society, trying to put the MST in the common grave of the corrupt.

The legitimacy of the National Congress in promoting the Commissions of Investigations is protected by the Federal Constitution itself. However, this legitimacy is lost when the CPMI misrepresents itself and, in the process of investigation, transforms into an instrument for attacking the government and for criminalizing the social movements. It fails to investigate entities tied to latifundios, CNA (National Agricultural Confederation), SRB (Brazilian Rural Society), UDR (Democratic Ruralist Union) and others. The denouncements of farms with slave labor are put aside. The smuggling of transgenic seed, which contaminate the plantations of the south of the country, was ignored.

In October of last year, the CPMI reporter, Congressman João Alfredo (PT/CE) alerted: “what Commission President Senator