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24 January 2018 | | | | | |

MST of Brazil and serious historical times: food, health and education at the basis of the defense of democracy

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“These times are key to establish that the judicial branch cannot tell us who the presidential candidate can be or not", said Marília Gonçalves, leader of the Landless Rural Workers Movement (MST) of Brazil, present in Porto Alegre. "We won´t accept this, by no means" will we allow the legal system to sweep away the rights achieved with democracy, said the leader.

Marília is member of the MST coordination in Rio Grande do Sul state and came to Porto Alegre from Herval, near the border with Uruguay. She said that the MST is demonstrating agaisnt the attempts of the judicial branch to "interfere with a democratic process". The judicial branch should be neutral, "otherwise, we´ll take the streets", said Gonçalves in an interview with Real World Radio held on Wednesday at the campsite where La Vía Campesina Brazil, among other Brazilian social movements, are expressing their solidarity with former president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva.

The legal proceedings against Lula in the framework of the "Lava Jato" case could result in the former president not being able to run as candidate by the Workers Party (PT) in the national elections to take place in October.

36 buses came to Porto Alegre filled with MST activists from Rio Grande do Sul alone. According to Marília, while the 4th Regional Federal Tribunal (TRF) was holding the trial against Lula, a few blocks away, 5 thousand members of movements from different States were present in the campsite, defending democracy.

"In these two years (after the coup perpetrated by Michel Temer against former president Dilma Roussef) we went approximately 20-30 years backwards. The entire settlement process of the MST, the legalization of settlements, credits (for production) have been rendered ineffective or are not working", said Marília.

She also mentioned several aspects that account for the advances obtained by the landless peasants in Brazil, which were then lost after Temer´s coup. She made reference to health, education, production and food programs, which were abandoned or their budgets severely limited, in a context where the market basket cost has grown approximately four-fold in two years, and where the minimum wage was reduced, she said.

The MST leader believes the challenge now is how to go through these historical times without the attacks against education, health and the fight against hunger severely damage the future of the movement.

Imagen: Douglas Freitas, Amigos da Terra Brasil. https://www.flickr.com/photos/154989916@N03/

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