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Approximately 1400 members of the Landless Rural Workers Movement (MST) occupied on Monday a factory of Suzano Papel e Celulose, in Mucuri municipality, Bahia state.
The demonstrators rejected the agribusiness development model that does not contribute to the social, cultural and environmental development of the region, according to them. The MST’s website reports that Suzano “is exploring our lands, taking away the wealth, and exporting it”.
The MST members also denounced the illegitimacy of the coup government of Michel Temer, of the Democratic Movement Party of Brazil, that promoted the impeachment against democratically elected president Dilma Rousseff.
In fact, the protest of the landless workers was part of a National Day of Struggle against Temer´s administration, which in its first weeks has caused some setbacks in the rights of Brazilian workers and especially countryside inhabitants. One of these setbacks was the elimination of the Agrarian Development Ministry. During the occupation, the MST members demanded the reestablishment of the Ministry.
According to Brasil de Fato news outlet, on Friday, over 200,000 people mobilized in 19 Brazilian states to say “Out with Temer!”. The actions were organized by the People without Fear and Popular Brazil Fronts, which gather different social movements and organizations of the country, among other actors. It was the first national Day against Temer, which marked the first month of his coming into office on Sunday.
Meanwhile, Suzano promotes itself in its website as the second largest eucalyptus cellulose producer in the world, and leader of the paper market in Latin America. The company states that it has a little over a million forest hectares, of which 519,000 are eucalyptus plantations in Bahia, Espíritu Santo, São Paulo, Minas Gerais, Maranhão, Tocantins, Pará and Piauí States.
According to the MST the “few areas” cultivated by peasant families are affected by the indiscriminate use of agrotoxics, that pollute soils, water and air. “In addition, eucalyptus monoculture plantations have caused the rural exodus of thousands of peasant families and native peoples”.
The National Board of the MST warns that the current proposal to expand the factory in Mucuri aims at tripling its cellulose production and using genetically modified eucalyptus, which will significantly worsen the socio-environmental effects caused by Suzano in the region.
In this way, Suzano states in its website that they are part of the biotechnology sector through “FuturaGene”, “the first company in the world to have been approved for the commercial use of genetically modified eucalyptus”, even with research labs in Israel and China.
La oposición a la minería debe entenderse como la lucha por los derechos que esa actividad no respeta, pues “cada derecho que se le otorga a una empresa, es un derecho que se le resta a una comunidad”, asegura el coordinador del Observatorio de Conflictos Mineros de América Latina (OCMAL), César Padilla.
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