Letter to president Lula

Igor Felippe Santos
Wednesday 18 April 2007 by LRAN

Assessoria de Imprensa do MST

Tel/fax: (11) 3361-3866

Correio - imprensa@mst.org.br

Página - http://www.mst.org.br

Exmo.sr. Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva M.D. Presidente da República Palácio do Planalto. Brasília

Honourable Mister President,

We are glad to come to your presence in order to present you personally many suggestions of concrete measures that your government should adopt, in case it chooses to take the political decision of making a real agrarian reform in our country. Agrarian reform which is understood by our movement and by all the brazilian society as a governmental politic that could truly democratize the land property, allowing the end of the exploitation of millions of rural workers, historically excluded from all the social development process, setting them free to build the future of their families working for themselves. Understood also as a measure to stimulate income distribution that would allow the inclusion of millions of now marginalized people in the consumer market, stimuating also the creation of jobs in the city and in the country, and the development of the internal market. By doing the agrarian reform the state should also guarantee the access to education, in all levels, and stimulate the use of environment friendly agricultural techniques to produce healthy food.

To accomplish those goals, we present the following proposals that can be adopted by your government.

I – Regarding the access to the land

1. The government should update the National Plan for Agrarian Reform and build realistic mechanisms to implement a massive program of agrarian reform that would benefit one million families of landless rural workers 2. A real governmental effort to collect and expropriate all the land needed to settle down immediately all the families that are living in provisional camps, the majority of which in sub-human conditions for many years

3. Give priority to regional programs of expropriations, concentrating the acquisition of the areas in specific regions in each state, next to the consumer centers, creating regional reformed areas of peasant agriculture

4. Expropriation of all farms that are property of foreign companies situated in national border areas, according to the law

5. The government should mobilize its parliamentary base to approve immediately the law to expropriate the farms in which slave work is found

6. The government should update the productivity rates, change the internal rules to accelerate the processes of expropriation and apply the “ritos sumários”, according many recommendations included in the II National Plan for Agrarian Reform and made by specialized consultants 7. Immediately designate to the agrarian reform all the farms pledged in public banks or involved with debts related to taxes and labor rights

8. Removal of all the authoritarian and bureaucratic legislation that open the possibility of legal controversies that prevent the agrarian reform

9. The government should make an emergency plan, articulated with the Human Rights Secretary and the “Ouvidoria Agrária”, to allow the federal government act together with the judicial power and the state polices, in order to punish all the cases of rural violence, that has been responsible for the death of hundreds of rural workers, and the majority of the cases still remain unpunished and the legal processes stopped

II - Proposals for the settlements

1. We need a new model of settlements that could allow a larger number of families to be settled down in the same area, no matter the size of the individual area. These settlements should be massive, organized next to the cities, in fertile lands, combined with “agrovilas” and agro industries, which could guarantee other kinds of work and income for the women and the young people. 2. We need a permanent program, with concrete measures to stimulate the agricultural cooperation of the governmental organs

3. A program of instalation of agroindustries in the settlements with public investment, coordinated by the CONAB (National Supplying Company), and granted to cooperatives administrated by the individuals who were settled down in that area. With this we would elevate the aggregated value of the products and improve the income of the rural workers

4. We need a new kind of rural credit for the agrarian reform. The “Pronaf” (National Program for the Familiar Agriculture) in its current form is not able to reach the settled families, and only a minority have had access to it (see detailed proposal attached)

5. The Conab must be reinforced as a public company responsible for buying the food products produced in the settlements and areas of familiar agriculture

6. Adoption of a wide dwelling program in the settlements, establishing an agreement between the “Caixa Econômica Federal” (public bank) and the Incra (National Institute of Colonization and Agrarian Reform), to guarantee the building of all the houses that are missing in the old settlements, that sum more than a hundred thousand. Also guarantee the resources for each year’s settlements. The inclusion in these new program the building of social structure improvements, such as child “cirandas”, spots courts, communitarian houses, laundries and all the collective installations needed. 7. A national reforesting program should be adopted in the agrarian reform lots and peasant’s communities, with areas of until 20.000 square meters pre family each year, with native and fruitful trees. The state governments and the Incra could give the little plants and technical assistance and the federal government would give support paying the monthly workmanship giving them a green card, in the “Caixa Econômica Federal“, that could substitute the “bolsa-família” program for those who have land, and the payment should preferably be made to women and young people.

8. A special program to finance the installation of agricultural industries should be adopted, with resources subsidized by the public banks.

9. A program of agricultural machines and tractors industries should be adopted for the little agriculture and the agrarian reform areas. The present industrial structure, based only in big sized machines doesn’t match the needs of the agrarian reform. There are industrial projects and business proposals, but with a lack of rural credit specifically directed to it, in proper conditions. We advise that a tripartite commission (government, companies and agrarian reform entities) should be created to present proposals for all the necessary measures. III. Education in the agrarian reform areas

1. Make the Pronera (National Program of Agrarian Reform Education) stronger and bigger, as a priority program, allocating the necessary resources for the existing demand of courses that are presented each year by the movements in partnership with the universities and/or other educational institutions. Today, those resources are limited and there is a serious problem of discontinuity

2. Make the institutional space of the Country Education stronger within the MEC (Ministry of Education), giving it more resources, servants and articulated actions within the group of secretaries in the Ministry and among related Ministries. 3. Implement a national literacy campaign for young and adults in the rural environment in partnership with entities and social movements that act on the rural area. The goal is that by the end of the mandate the illiteracy should be reduced to zero. Adjust the “Brasil Alfabetizado” program in order that it could deal with the specificity of the rural areas and include the continued formation of the educators. 4. Implement a program of installation of medium level technical schools in every area of the agrarian reform that has a demand for it. An immediate possibility is to include the settlements as priority areas for the expansion of the federal net of technical schools, specially to implement the UNED’s (Decentralized Teaching Unities) of CEFET’s, according to a proposal presented to the SETEC/MEC by the MST in November of 2006.

5. Implement a wide formation program of techniques in environment friendly agriculture, in all the Brazilian states.

6. The MEC (Ministry of Education) should come up with a way (maybe with other ministries, like Agrarian Development and Science and Technology), along with the educational secretaries of the states governments to guarantee the creation of medium level basic education public schools in the agrarian reform areas, including the building of schools in the settlements, improvement of the infra-structure and the hiring of specific professionals of education.

7. We sum up to the national campaign for the inclusion in the Brazilian law the “ensino médio” (high school education) as an obligatory level, assumed as a part of the basic scholar education and, therefore, with the establishment of goals for it to be universalized through the public and free offer.

IV. Administrative measures

1. We defend that the Incra should be directly bound to the Presidency of the Republic

2. We defend that public examinations should be held immediately in order to hire more than 3 thousand public servants, as the already published edict has foreseen, which indicated the necessity of 4.500 servants, but only 1.500 were hired

3. The Conab (National Supplying Company) should be linked to the Incra as a support company for the agrarian reform

4. A public institute must be created, in the fastest and most adequate administrative form to take care of the settled farmer’s training, and the implementation of the technical assistance and rural extension as a public service, because the present model has already collapsed.

Mister president, we would like to manifest ourselves also, as social movement and representatives of a part of our people that live in the rural areas, about other aspects of the governmental politics. We defend the necessity of a new economical politic that would give priority for the development with income distribution. Income distribution means preserve the rights of the working class, valorize the wages in general and specially the minimum wage, distribute land and have a massive program of job generation for the youth. We defend the necessity of a politic that democratizes the mass media, interrupting the closure and repression of communitarian radios, the governmental support to make them viable and the implementation of a public and open television network, in partnership with the organizations of the civil society.

We are discontented with the form that the Biosecurity law is being applied, where always are pursued the interests of the transnational companies that want to dominate our agriculture, with transgenic seeds. We demand that the government inspect the fulfillment of the law that order that the transgenic products must be labeled, and they are being sold in the supermarkets without any control or inspection. Convinced of your commitment with the improvement of the life conditions of the rural working people, we expect your determination for the effective implementation of these measures.

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