In the early hours of this Monday (11), around 85 families linked to the Landless Rural Workers Movement (MST), residing in the district of Brejo Grande, in the municipality of Santana do Cariri (CE), occupied the Sítio Ventura farm, far from approximately 500 km from the capital of Ceará.
According to information from the MST, the occupied farm is a public area that belongs to the state of Ceará, under the supervision of the Secretariat for Agrarian Development (SDA). Brasil de Fato contacted the SDA, which informed that the area in question, in fact, is under the responsibility of the Secretariat of Penitentiary Administration (SAP). In contact with SAP’s communications department, he was informed that the situation on the ground would be investigated, but that “there is no prison unit in Santana do Cariri”. “We will find out if this land belongs to SAP,” said the spokesperson.
Flávio Barbosa, from the State Directorate and Regional Coordinator of the MST in the Central South/Cariri region, explains that this occupation was a demand from landless families in the region, who had nowhere to work. “The occupation aims to settle families and ensure that the land fulfills its social function.”
The camped families demand the immediate expropriation of the area for the purposes of agrarian reform and the production of healthy food.
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The occupation took place in the early hours of this Monday, and Flávio explains that at the moment the situation is considered calm and that the families have not yet received any type of official visit from state agents. When asked if any type of negotiation is taking place with the families, Flávio says yes. “There is a hearing with the government now at the end of the afternoon. Other properties that exist nearby were requested for the State to expropriate, considering that the State’s public land is not enough to settle all the families”, he reported.
According to him, the government’s position is one of dialogue. “In fact, about 20 days ago there was a negotiation table with representation of families demanding that the state government allocate land to families. We believe that the government can have a social commitment and correct this economic and social injustice: the State with idle land and families wanting to have a piece of land to live with dignity.”
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Regarding the next steps of the occupation, Flávio informs that it is to organize the families to have an action plan with society to publicize the families’ agenda in this fight; go to universities and the media; debate the role of agrarian reform in the Cariri region, highlighting its importance for the production of healthy food and guaranteeing a dignified life in the countryside; organize a work front so that, in negotiation with the State, families have land to prepare their gardens, as winter in Cariri starts in October.
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Source: BdF Ceará
Editing: Camila Garcia