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"There are over 2000 high schools currently occupied by students, over 200 university units on strike, state workers also on strike. The struggle is growing in our country. We are building the Popular Brazil Front (together with other social movements) and we are coordinating this process. That´s why we are a target and a process of repression has been opened to try to discourage the MST".
These are the words of leader Joaquín Piñero, of the national directorate of the Landless Rural Workers Movement of Brazil (MST) about the current political situation in his country after the coup d´Etat and the coming into office of Michel Temer, as well as the reasons behind the attacks suffered by the movement on November 4 in three States.
"It is important to provide a context to this situation. In Brazil we are experiencing a coup regime, we have a coup government. And this government was installed here because they need to introduce a neoliberal plan" said Piñero during the 53rd edition of the show Voz Campesina of Real World Radio and the Latin American Coordination of Countryside Organizations (CLOC - Via Campesina).
"We took a step back to the times of Cardoso´s administration (Fernando Henrique, 1995 to 2002)". The neoliberal project "means to reduce all the rights of workers, to remove everything we have achieved at social level", added Piñero. "We, the popular movements of Brazil, are suffering this persecution process", he warned.
On November 4, the MST was victim of a violent police operation called "Castra" in three states of the country: Paraná, São Paulo and Mato Grosso do Sul. The actions aimed, among other things, to arrest and criminalize the leaders of the "Don Tomás Balduino" and "Herederos de la Lucha por la Tierra" settlements in the central region of Paraná. We can highlight the arrest of several leaders in Paraná and the attack against the political training center of the MST near São Paulo city in Guararema municipality, the "Florestan Fernandes National School".
According to the MST, since May 2014 approximately 3000 families of the movement are camping in areas previously invaded by timber company Araupel in the central area of Paraná. These lands have been illegally occupied by the company and according to the ruling of the Federal Public Land Tribunal, they belong to the State and therefore should be used for the agrarian reform.
According to information by the MST, on April 7 this year, the families organized in the "Don Tomás Balduino" settlement were victims of an ambush held by the Military Police and security guards hired by Araupel. During the attack, where they fired over 120 shots, Vilmar Bordim and Leomar Orback were murdered and many people were injured. In this same land, in 1997, Araupel hitmen murdered two other landless workers during an ambush. The two cases remain unpunished.
The operation of Friday aimed to "search for people who had
participated in the occupation of Araupel lands", said Piñero and they “had arrest warrants against 14 colleagues".
About the attack against the Florestan Fernandes training center, the member of the national coordination of the MST stated that the Civil Police, who arrived in ten vehicles and with approximately 40 officers, was not authorized to enter the Educational Center. "It was possible to avoid with lawyers and alternative media the entrance of police officers to the classrooms", but the "amount of violence was huge against a school that aims at capacity building", he regretted. Two activists were detained there.
"We are suing the State for this action and we blame the Police, the Secretary of Security, the Government and São Paulo State, as well as the judge involved", said Piñero. The leader thanked the thousands of expressions of solidarity received from different parts of the world.
Este jueves se cumple un año del asesinato de la dirigente lenca Berta Cáceres en Honduras, y los grupos de Amigos de la Tierra Internacional (ATI) se movilizarán en decenas de países a partir de hoy, en el marco de una Semana de Acción que tendrá como cierre el 8 de marzo, Día Internacional de la Mujer.
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