Solidarity marks an act in defense of Agrarian Reform at the Belo Horizonte Fair

Political act brought together leaders of popular movements, parliamentarians and friends of the Landless Movement
Photo: Mariana Jaimes

By Mara Santos and Leonardo Koury
From the Pagina do MST

As part of the agendas that make up the MST program at the Agrarian Reform Fair in Belo Horizonte (MG), the Movement held this Sunday (July 16th), with the presence of João Pedro Stédile from the MST national coordination and partners in the struggle for Agrarian Reform in the state, the Political Act in Defense of Agrarian Reform.

The activity takes place in the midst of attacks suffered by the Landless Movement, especially by Congress from the Parliamentary Commission of Inquiry (CPI) that seeks to criminalize the peasant organization, the moment reaffirmed the construction of unity in defense of the struggle for land and for Agrarian Reform.

“They organize themselves to criminalize the Movement, wanting to invalidate our struggle, but we remain convinced that our great mission is to produce healthy food for the Brazilian people, in this sense, we will not retreat a step from the decision to fight for Popular Agrarian Reform,” stated Silvio Netto from the national direction of the MST in Minas Gerais during the act.

Highlighting the difference between the peasants’ practice of struggling, Netto reaffirmed the role of land occupation in the country: “The difference between occupation and invasion is because the occupation is to seek a right and they invade to preserve their privileges,” he highlighted.

Federal and state parliamentarians participated in the act, in addition to representatives of popular movements in Minas, artists who were friends of the MST and religious leaders.

As part of the Political Act, the MST reaffirmed the donation of hundreds of foodstuffs produced in the Agrarian Reform encampments and settlements for donation to the communities of Belo Horizonte, affirming class solidarity with a principle of the Movement.

The donations were destined for the Community of Pedreira Prado Lopes, on the outskirts of Belo Horizonte. Pai Ricardo, community leader and representative of religions of African origin was the spokesman for the delivery of these foods, which unite the countryside and the city.

Struggle for rights

“The MST, through the encampments and settlements, occupies land, works with dignity to guarantee food on the plate of each one of us,” reflected Neila Batista, superintendent of the National Institute of Colonization and Agrarian Reform (INCRA) in Minas Gerais. “This Fair is the concrete demonstration of the commitment in the fight against hunger and the construction of food security and sovereignty.”

João Pedro Stédile, from the national coordination of the MST, emphasized the role of the struggle for Agrarian Reform to be embraced by all. “Family and peasant agriculture is what is here at the Fair. But we need to understand that there will never be Agrarian Reform without struggle! The main objective of the Agrarian Reform is to produce healthy food for all the people.”

Stédile also reinforced the importance of solidarity in the construction of a new project for the Brazilian countryside. “Solidarity is a fundamental value of human civilization, every day we have to show solidarity: with each other and with the future of humanity! Planting trees, producing healthy food, means showing solidarity with future generations,” he commented.

Among the meanings surrounding the construction of the Fair are resistance, occupation, peasant culture and solidarity. These elements exemplify the social movement and its contribution to a fairer, more egalitarian and healthier country. Latifundio does not match these values.

MST Fair

Despite the political conservatism in Minas Gerais, its diverse territories and all its biodiversity contribute with the possibility of, among the hundreds of tents, divided for each settlement, camp and other partner movements, to bring to the public that passes through the Agrarian Reform Fair in the capital, the diversity of products and foods offered at popular prices.

This perspective is presented in bananas, cassava flour, honey and other foods with their own flavor without exploitation of labor, with a commitment to the environment and to gender and sexuality relations. Agroecology is also present in education for consumption and throughout the Fair it is expressed in the fair price that differentiates it from the conventional market and in the loving relationship between consumers and producers of the various typical dishes.

The Fair is on its last day, with free admission for all public, in the Municipal Park of Belo Horizonte.

*Edited by Solange Engelmann