Deputies from the Bolsonaro base expect the presentation of the final report of the Parliamentary Commission of Inquiry of the Landless Rural Workers Movement (MST) this week, which should be read by Ricardo Salles (PL-SP). President of the collegiate, deputy Zucco (Republicanos-RS) has said that the group will “work to have a majority”. The climate among CPI members, however, still does not guarantee certainty. The commission, which currently has 26 full members and 24 appointed substitutes, is working with work expected to end by next Thursday (17), the date set by the official calendar approved at the start of the CPI’s activities.
On the one hand, the government has, in recent weeks, expected a majority after the exchange of some members linked to the PP and the Republicans, acronyms that now benefit from the ministerial reform promoted by Lula. On the other hand, the political terrain in the National Congress is still unstable for management, given the instability of the parliamentary base itself. Despite this, deputies linked to the government believe that there is little chance of approval of Salles’ report.
On the 4th, for example, Minister Luís Roberto Barroso, of the Federal Supreme Court (STF), suspended the collection of testimony from two managers of the Institute of Land and Agrarian Reform of Alagoas (Iteral), linked to the state government. The magistrate responded to a request from the Legislative Assembly of Alagoas, for which the summoning of the two was beyond the objective of the CPI.
Subsequently, the president of the CPI released a note criticizing the injunction and announcing the cancellation of Monday’s session at the collegiate. He also announced that there would be no further committee meetings until the report was presented, which ended up canceling the testimony of an MST leader last Tuesday (5).
“I think they are throwing in the towel, realizing that they no longer have the numbers or conditions to produce any facts that they want to create about the MST or the government. They are still discussing the possibility of winning the report, but nothing has changed from the last session to the next, that is, the composition (of the CPI) is the same, the members are the same. And, contrary to this, the PP is closer, for example, to the government itself, so it is more unlikely that they will be able to change one of the votes”, believes Sâmia Bomfim (PSOL-SP), member of the CPI.
Despite Zucco’s statements, rumors circulate behind the scenes of the Chamber of supposed uncertainty regarding the presentation of Salles’ opinion. The reason would be an internal divergence in the Bolsonarist wing, which would be divided between parliamentarians for whom it would no longer be worth investing in the report, given the political dehydration of the group over the last few weeks at the CPI. The other party would remain firm on the idea, with the aim of targeting MST leaders with an attempt at criminalization in the final text. Salles would be in the second group.
In the other ideological field, the reading is that a possible non-presentation of the opinion would translate into a major defeat for the Bolsonarist wing, which has sponsored the CPI since its creation. According to this calculation, the result of the commission’s work would then be quite favorable to the left in general.
Despite this, parliamentarians say they would be working together to deal with both scenarios. “As the decision is up to Salles, we are prepared to go to the (commission) next week and try to secure the necessary votes”, says, for example, Sâmia Bomfim.
If the former Minister of the Environment actually reads the opinion, the parliamentarians in the segment will also consider the possibility of the group presenting an alternative report. The idea would be to diverge from the criminalization attempts imposed by Salles and record in the Chamber’s annals a document that competes with the narrative to be evoked by the rapporteur.
The Bolsonaro bench has given some signals about points in the possible report to be presented to the collegiate. After Barroso suspended the testimonies scheduled for Monday, Zucco told the press that he will ask Salles to suggest indicting the director-president of Iteral, Jaime Messias Silva, who was sworn into office in 2015 by the then governor of the state and current minister of Lula government transport, Renan Filho. Behind the scenes, the indictment would be a way to target the PT administration, one of the main targets of the CPI along with the MST.
Another name that came into the sights of Salles and his supporters was deputy Valmir Assunção (PT-BA), a member of the government base and also a supporter of agrarian reform. Directly linked to the MST, Assunção is in his fourth term.
For me, there is no surprise in relation to the rapporteur because he faced many clashes with me. He went to visit Bahia in a region that has a very strong political dispute, which is the Far South. He went to four houses in a universe of almost 60 MST settlements and, from that, he says he will include me in the report. I see this as a political persecution, as a great political criminalization”, said the PT to Brasil de Fato.
The deputy is referring to the investigation carried out by the CPI on August 16. “In the Bolsonaro government, the Federal Police stayed in MST settlements in the Far South for more than 20 days. The Public Prosecutor’s Office followed, the Civil Police (also), there was an entire administrative structure and there was no indictment or complaint against me. And now they want to do this to me? I take it calmly”, adds Assunção.
Like the other parliamentarians from the government base, the deputy follows the line of reinforcing the criticism of the design of the CPI, which was installed in mid-May and since then has been the target of opposition from progressive parliamentarians and civil segments for not having presented it to the Chamber of Deputies. Deputies a definite object to be investigated, as required by the rules.
“We always say that this CPI has a report ready. It could not exist because there is no determined fact and it wants to criminalize popular movements, it wants to criminalize the leaders of these movements and it wants to be a Bolsonarist platform. This is the objective of the CPI and we always say this. And, furthermore, I want to say that, in my opinion, Ricardo Salles does not have the morals to indict anyone. He is a defendant for an environmental crime”, he adds.
Continuing his reasoning, Valmir Assunção states that he intends to hold a political confrontation in the commission next week, especially if the idea of indictment goes ahead. “He will not take away the right that I have to defend popular movements, to say that I am a member of the MST, based on an agrarian reform project, to be proud of who I am because of this trajectory. I will always hold my head high and I know that, in this dispute, we will continue to face the ‘Ricardos Salles’ and the Bolsonarists everywhere. We defeated Bolsonaro at the polls and now we are going to defeat the Bolsonaro supporters in the streets, in the squares, everywhere”, concludes the parliamentarian.
Editing: Geisa Marques