MST Urgent Actions

Human Rights Secretary of PE Visits MST Encampment in Altinho

Demonstration Against Violence in PernambucoRepresentatives of the State Secretariat for Human Rights, the State Program for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders and the Ombudsman of the Department of Social Defense visited, on Tuesday (July 3, 2012), the Gregório Bezerra encampment in the city of Altinho, rural Pernambuco (PE).

The visit had as its main objective to present the results of several investigations open to punish acts of violence.

The camp has been the scene of systematic violence by gunmen hired by landowners of the farm Serro Azul, owned by Luis Reis, since April last year. Since the beginning of this year, the landowner has become even more violent and verbal threats and intimidation came to blows.

On March 22, Reiss beat Eraldo Alves da Silva, known as Seu Antonio, a landless workers in the encampment, while he was kept under the barrel of a gun, accompanied by two gunmen.


[01/16/08] URGENT ACTION NEEDED: Letters Needed to Stop Continued Criminalization of MST Activists

Dear Friends of the MST,

We are writing to update you on the situation in Brazil regarding Syngenta, and to tell you about the next steps in the struggle to punish the transnational for its crimes. As you know, the most recent occupation of a site owned by Syngenta, carried out on October 21st, 2007, was met with extreme violence on the part of NF Security company, which Syngenta had contracted to guard its property. During the altercation, activist Valmir Mota de Oliveira (“Keno”) was killed and several people were seriously injured. A security guard was also shot to death by other guards. Despite evidence to the contrary, the prosecutor's office has pressed baseless yet serious charges against several of the MST/Via Campesina activists who were victims of the Syngenta-sponsored attacks.

The prosecutors’ office asserts that the activists are responsible for the October 21st deaths and injuries because, by participating in the land occupation, they assumed the risk that their activities would cause violence. The prosecutors even went so far as to request preventative prison terms for two MST/Via Campesina leaders in order to “maintain public order.” Luckily, the judge denied the preventative prison request, but charges are still being pressed against the leaders and other activists. Also, the gunmen who were being held in prison were released.

We are also extremely concerned about aspects of the police report which were ignored by the prosecutors, which increases the likelihood that the instigators of the crimes will go unpunished. Although the police report uncovered evidence which would allow for the indictment of Alessandro Meneghel, president of the Rural Society of Western Paraná (a landowner militia group with ties to Syngenta), the prosecutors’ office did not charge him with any crimes associated with the October 21st violence. Additionally, the police report noted that some of the gunmen had fled in a car belonging to Syngenta, and that it was a well-known fact in the area that the company used armed guards to protect its property. Additionally, at a hearing in late December, the owner of NF Security testified that Syngenta had not terminated its contract with him. In spite of all these facts, the prosecutors failed to even mention Syngenta in their indictment.

It is essential to continue our pressure onto Syngenta to disband the armed militias that they sponsor, and to ensure the punishment of those responsible for the aforementioned crimes. We are asking all friends and allies to send letters to the Syngenta headquarters in the United States, with a copy to the Swiss Embassy in Washington, DC. **SEE DRAFT LETTER BELOW**

Your action is crucial to ensure an end to injustice and impunity in Brazil’s countryside. Please ACT NOW!

URGENT ACTION NEEDED: Stop the São Francisco river Project, Support Bishop Luiz Flavio Cappio's Hunger Strike

Dear Friends of the MST

As we conveyed in the most recent MST Informa, many NGOs and social movements in Brazil are against government's plan to redirect water from the São Francisco river. According to some estimates, the project will spend billions out of the public coffers, drastically change ecosystems, cause migration of peoples, and bring few benefits for those who most need
the water. The beneficiaries will be the big agricultural companies.

Two years ago, the Catholic bishop of the diocese of Barra, Bahia, Luiz Flavio Cappio, known as Frei Luiz, took a bold initiative and began a hunger strike as means to divert national attention to the project, and to ask the government to halt the project.

[04/17/2007] MST Asks for Your Support, "Send Letters, MST Agrarian Reform Proposals, to President Lula TODAY!"

Dear Friends of the MST,

As you know, our movement is mobilizing throughout Brazil for another campaign demanding Agrarian Reform in our country. As you also know, April 17th is the International Day of Peasant Struggle as called for by La Via Campesina International and for that reason in many countries of the world, similar campaigns and protests are being organized by peasant organizations...

So this year on April 17th, besides mobilizations, we are asking our Friends abroad, our friends in Congress and in each state capital to send a letter to President Lula with the proposals of the MST for agrarian reform. If you can, no matter where you live outside of Brazil, sign the sample letter to the President [INCLUDED], or write your own, and send it to the local Brazilian consulate or embassy and/or send emails directly to the Palacio do Planalto in Brasilia.

[03/29/2007] Call for April 17: International Day of Peasant’s Struggle

The 17th of April is the International Day of Peasant’s Struggle, established after the massacre of 19 landless peasants belonging to the Landless Movement (MST) in Brazil on the 17th of April 1996 during the second conference of La Via Campesina in Tlaxcala Mexico.

In commemoration of the International Peasant’s Struggle Day, La Via Campesina and its allies are organizing activities and actions all over the world. Peasants and friends will rally around the following demands:

[04/03/2007] URGENT ACTION SUCCESS: Judge Accepts Request, Releases MST Prisoner in Pernambuco!

Dear Friends of the MST,

Today, April the 3rd, the judge responsible for the 2nd judicial district in Recife, Pernambuco (PE), accepted the request for the provisional release of Landless Rural Worker, Iroilton Pereira de Morais.

The MST militant had been imprisoned since March the 8th, the day he was detained by military police in Recife while participating in a march to commemorate International Women’s Day.

We send thanks to everyone who helped secure the freedom of another one of our colleagues, criminalized and improperly treated by the authorities solely because they are active in our social movements.

In Struggle,
Land of Rights Legal Team

[SOLIDARITY CAMPAIGN] Compensation & settlement for the families victimized at the Felisburgo Massacre **ACT NOW**

Dear Friends of the MST,

The third week of November marks two years since the Massacre of Felisburgo (MG). On November 20, 2004, 18 hooded killers, coordinated by the rancher Adriano Chafik, went to the Promised Land encampment and shot at men, women, and children. The landless workers Iraguiar Ferreira da Silva, Miguel José dos Santos, Francisco Nascimento Rocha, Juvenal Jorge Silva and Joaquim José dos Santos were killed. Many people were wounded and 100 families lost their homes.