In a decisive week for the institutional crisis that grips Brazil, il manifesto spoke with Joao Pedro Stedile, leader of the Landless Workers’ Movement, known by its Portuguese acronym MST. In recent days, MST, alongside other social movements and trade unions, has camped out in sleeping bags in the streets of Brasilia, the capital, to follow the vote on the impeachment process against President Dilma Rousseff. On Monday, a congressional committee voted to recommend her impeachment.
The military police stormed an MST camp in Quedas de Iguaçu, in the state of Paraná, and killed two farmers and wounded some others there. What’s happening in this region governed by the opposition?
What happened in Paraná was the result of an alliance of the local right-wing administration, which has nominated a new Interior Minister, Mr. Valdir Rossoni, a former member of the PSDB, long funded by the forestry firm Araupel: the hoarder of public lands now occupied MST. So his appointment was an attempt to “solve” the problem and do it through violence. But they hadn’t calculated that there are over 3,000 families living there, and the entire region supports us, because the company operates a monoculture of pinus [trees] in a region that is very fertile. And so, though unfortunately we lost two comrades, the struggle continues stronger and the local government is weakened. The central [government] has designated a federal overseer for the investigation and has deployed a national police platoon to prevent the local police, along with the firm’s assassins, to continue with provocations. On April 9, at the funeral there were 10,000 people in the city of Quedas de Iguaçu.