MST Letter to International Social Movements
I hope you are in good health and maintaining high morale, despite the difficulties that the moment imposes on us.
We have been monitoring the situation of the COVID-19 pandemic worldwide and showing solidarity with all the people facing this crisis and with all the health professionals who have worked tirelessly to combat the pandemic.
In particular, we are inspired by the beautiful example of the Cuban Revolution, which continues to send its doctors to the 4 corners of the world to contribute to the treatment of the pandemic.
As you may be following, the situation in Brazil is quite worrying. Today (April 6, 2020) the State Health Secretariats account for 11,298 infected in all states and 489 dead. A very high lethality rate compared to other countries.
The federal government has been terrible at managing the crisis and the pandemic - as with everything else! President Bolsonaro continues to encourage people to leave home and resume normal activities, going against the guidelines of state governments and their own health minister and going against all other world leaders.
His popularity has dropped a lot since the beginning of the pandemic in Brazil, but he continues with the 30% support of what we call "root bolsonarismo." And it has been in direct conflict with the Minister of Health.
In fact, there is total "mismanagement" by the federal government!
We of the MST have taken all preventive measures and worked hard in the field of solidarity to face the pandemic.
1. All of our collective activities are canceled indefinitely;
2. We are concentrating our actions in our territories, in the production of food for our people and the population in general;
3. We are taking greater care measures with our elderly. Our health sector is monitoring this risk group in our territories; and
4. Our greatest concern is with families in camps, who are much more fragile at the moment, with a lack of basic infrastructure in the camps. In this sense, we are making visits to the camps to monitor the situation, our doctors and caregivers are closely monitoring, we are guaranteeing food from the settlements to the camps and some camps are being moved into settlements, where there is more infrastructure.
In the field of solidarity, we have been working on different fronts:
1. Donation of food produced in the settlements to the poorest communities; In RS [Rio Grande do Sul] alone our organic rice cooperatives donated 12 tons of rice to pass on to needy families;
2. Organization of community kitchens for donating lunchboxes to the homeless in some capitals, with the support of churches and other organizations; especially from Armazéns do Campo, in the capitals;
3. Settlements where there are stills, we are producing 70% alcohol for donation to hospitals;
4. We are organizing families that have sewing machines at home to produce masks for donation;
5. We are organizing donations of our herbal medicines produced in the settlements;
6. We are organizing blood donations;
7. Our spaces such as schools, training centers, gyms in our territories are being made available to local public authorities for emergency assistance to the population; and
8. We are producing soap in some settlements for donation.
In the international field, our internationalist brigades continue to work to support the population in Haiti, Venezuela and Zambia.
In the field of general policy, with the various popular, political and union organizations gathered on the fronts of Frente Brasil Popular [Brazil Popular Front] and Povo Sem Medo [People Without Fear], we launched an emergency unitary platform for Confronting the Pandemic of the Corona Virus and the Brazilian Crisis, which I send as an attachment for your knowledge. [Attached as a PDF in Portuguese.]
And we are working on various forms of agitation and propaganda to denounce Bolsonaro's mismanagement and its measures and promote our emergency platform.
The watchword now is BOLSONARO OUT!
These are difficult times when only solidarity will be the solution!
We keep fighting, at a distance, but even more united!
Big hug to all,
International Relations Collective
MST National Coordination