Grassroots International

Brazil | Página 11 de 15

  • Family Farmers Feed Brazil

    The Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics (IBGE) recently published a report on the country’s agricultural sector. The last report had been published in 1996. The new document supports several points raised by peasant organizations, such as our partner the Via Campesina International, around the critical role of the small scale agriculture to climate justice and hunger. The main points are outlined below.


  • [Cassava] Bread and Roses: Brazilian Farmers Seek a Dignified Life

    During our visit to Brazil earlier this month, Saulo Araujo and I met with Grassroots International’s partners and the communities in which they work. I had prepared myself to talk about a range of issues, from Creole seeds to water scarcity to land occupation. I hadn’t expected to hear so much about the importance of a dignified life.

  • Land Reform Under Lula

    The Landless Workers’ Movement (MST) of Brazil, which has mobilized more than a million Brazilians to occupy and farm large landholdings, was cautiously optimistic when Luiz Inácio “Lula” da Silva of the Workers Party won the presidency in 2002.  “We campaign for Lula,” remarked MST organizer Jonas da Silva (no relation) during the campaign, “even though we are critical of him for shaping his discourse for the middle class.”  In the country with perhaps the most unequal land distribution in the world, electing a pro-worker, pro-poor president marked a potential turning point.

    But as Lula finishes up his second term (new presidential elections take place in October 2010), the MST’s assessment is grim.  Land redistribution has stagnated, the government continues to b

  • A Movement for the Land, and for Dignity

    Along with Saulo Araujo, Grassroots International’s Program Coordinator for Mesoamerica and Brazil, I just visited the central region of Brazil, about three hours outside the capital of Brasilia.

    And the women of the Central Cerrado have gone nuts. Or, to be more precise, they have begun to process and sell Baru nuts.

    These members of the Popular Peasant Movement (MPC) in Goias, Brazil, began to package their food as a collective factory with more than a dozen women (and a few men).

  • From Seed Sovereignty to Food Sovereignty: The MCP’s Creole Seeds Project

    A partner of Grassroots International, the Popular Peasant Movement (MCP) has been conducting trials to identify and produce the best local seeds. The Creole Seeds Project, as it is known, plays a vital role in reaching out to farmers who are being lured in by the promises of agrobusiness.

    “The Creole Seeds Project is a great project because the community wants to see it to believe it. They can see the results for themselves—that our local seeds are more productive, insect resistant and produce better tasting crops than hybrids or other seeds,” said Elias Freitas Mesquita, MCP’s regional coordinator.

    He added, “The seed project is like a magnet that attracts the farmers, who then build more alliances.”

  • Sugar Cane Invades the Brazilian Central Plateau

    When plans for a Grassroots International site visit to Brazil suddenly included my name last winter, I was thrilled. Oh boy! I could visit with our partners in country and learn directly from them their struggles, their hopes. I told Saulo Araujo, Grassroots’ Coordinator for Mesoamerica and Brazil (and my to-be traveling companion) that I wanted to talk to the people who ultimately benefit from Grassroots’ funding.

    Saulo listened well, I realized the first time I saw the itinerary he pulled together—no office visits to be found. Instead, we were scheduled to visit encampments, settlements, and various on-the-ground projects.

  • 14 Brazilian Activists Freed After Protesting Mega-Dam Project

    Our colleagues in the Brazilian Movement of People Displaced by Dams (MAB) just sent some wonderful news that I want to share with you. After a week of intense work gathering support from Brazilian and international organizations, 14 MAB members are now free, although another four still remain in jail.

    The original group of 18 activists was arrested for demonstrating on behalf of families displaced by the Tucuruí Dam in the Amazon region. The group of peasant families called on the Brazilian government to stop the mega-dam project and instead provide infrastructure projects--such as roads, schools and health clinics--and to open lines of credit for agriculture and fishing farming.

  • Brazilian Activist from MST Participates in the Brooklyn Food Conference

    The Food Sovereignty movement in the United States is well and alive. And thanks to the work of food cooperatives, community supported agriculture (CSA) and local farmers, little by little more neighborhoods and cities are joining this social movement that is reclaiming the right to quality food.

    This past weekend, the movement's strengthen was displayed in Brooklyn, NY, where over 2,000 people met in one of the largest U.S. events for Food Sovereignty this year. 

    Participants in the Brooklyn Food Conference represented different places and backgrounds in the U.S. food movement. Event speakers included some of the leading voices in the United States, such as social activist Malik Yakini from Detroit, and Raj Patel, the author of Stuffed and Starved.

  • Brazilian activists weigh in on U.S. environmental policy

    Representatives of two of Grassroots International’s Brazilian partners were in the San Francisco Bay Area April 22 - 29 to meet with U.S. allies and help educate the U.S. public about the damaging impacts of agrofuel production in Brazil. Altacir Bunde is an economist and leader of the Popular Peasant Movement (MCP) and coordinator of the Creole Seeds Project in Goiás, Brazil. Altacir has been a leading voice in the movement to protect agro biodiversity and defend against the expansion of large scale single crop plantations in the Central Plateau of Brazil.

  • Rural Communities in Maranhão, Brazil Flooded; Please Help

    Two weeks of steady rain have led to heavy flooding in the Brazilian state of Maranhão, the poorest state in Brazil.  Officials estimate that over 30,000 people have been displaced and that at least 6,000 have had their homes destroyed by the flood.  Assessment is still ongoing since many of the affected communities are very remote and roads are presently inaccessible.  Grassroo

  • Landless Protests Spread Across Brazil

    A longtime partner of Grassroots International, Brazil's Landless Workers' Movement (Movimento dos Trabalhadores Rurais Sem Terra, or MST) is Latin America's largest popular movement. The MST has been at the forefront of social action for just land distribution for 25 years. Through the MST's efforts, close to 350,000 families have been settled and another 150,000 families are living in encampments, awaiting title to their land.

    The MST is also a member of the Via Campesina, a powerful global network of more than 150,000 million small producers. On International Women's Day, the MST and the Via Campesina demonstrated throughout Brazil, demanding agrarian reform and rights for small farmers and women.

  • Lessons from Northeast Brazil: «You can’t fight the environment»

    I believe peasants from Northeast Brazil have a few important things to tell us about climate justice. For starters, the majority of the Northeastern region is dry. And it has been dry since the last glacial period. Also, the Northeast region where I come from is the largest and most populated semi-arid region on the planet, home to 20.5 million people mostly of indigenous and Afro-Brazilian descent.

    Because of droughts and lack of water in the past, masses of hungry peasants were forced to migrate to other regions in Brazil.

  • Via Campesina in Haiti: Brazilian Delegation Brings Solidarity and Seeds to the Haitian People

    We will be posting updates from the Dessalines Brigade in Haiti. Stay tuned.

    Last month, a small delegation of four representatives of Via Campesina-Brazil arrived in Haiti. Their mission is to help the Haitian peasant movement in their efforts to build local sustainable agriculture practices and a popular education curriculum on food sovereignty. Besides solidarity and technical expertise, the delegation also brings agro-ecological seeds produced in agrarian reform settlements in Brazil to share with local families.

  • Climate Justice Assembly Declaration

    Bélém, Brazil, 1 February 2009

    No to neoliberal illusions, yes to people's solutions!

    For centuries, productivism and industrial capitalism have been destroying our cultures, exploiting our labour and poisoning our environment.

    Now, with the climate crisis, the Earth is saying "enough", "ya basta"!

    Once again, the people who created the problem are telling us that they also have the solutions: carbon trading, so-called "clean coal", more nuclear power, agrofuels, even a "green new deal". But these are not real solutions, they are neoliberal illusions. It is time to move beyond these illusions.

  • Climate Justice Now!

    Climate Change is big business. Literally! Many corporations, including some of the worst polluters, are salivating at the prospects of potentially vast sums of money that could very well come their way in the name of saving the planet. Climate justice activists, including indigenous peoples, are rightly worried that in the rush to "save the planet" governments and international institutions (including the World Bank, for example) will once again put profits before people.

    Indigenous Peoples of the Amazon

    Photo courtesy of Sandra Yu, Detroiters for Environmental Justice

  • «Nobody, No, Nobody is Gonna Rain on My Parade!»

    "I simply gotta march, my heart's a drummer; nobody, no, nobody is gonna rain on my parade!"

    I remembered the lyrics of this song, first sung by Barbra Streisand I think, as we marched – some 100,000 of us – in a torrential downpour through the streets of Belém, at the mouth of the Amazon in the Brazilian state of Pará. It was the Opening March of the 2009 World Social Forum. Despite the rain, the enthusiasm of the crowds was contagious.

    Rain falls on the opening march of the 2009 World Social Forum

  • We are all Palestinians: Voices from Latin America

    The surge in solidarity with Palestinian people in Gaza is still strong. And I hope it will never wind down. My inbox is flooded with op-eds and solidarity messages from all over Latin America. Indigenous communities from Mexico speak about the similarities between the unjust occupation of a sovereign territory and their situation as peoples whose right to land is ignored. Messages from Brazil call on people to increase support to Palestinian farmers.

  • Indigenous Peoples Call On Us To Heed Their Call To Save The Amazon


    Nikhil Aziz,  Grassroots International's Executive Director is in Brazil this week attending  the World Social Forum (WSF), which is happening in Belem in the Amazon region of Brazil.   For four days before the WSF our partner,  the Landless Workers Movement  (MST) did a special site visit  to show international visitors including members of media the destruction that has been brought about by the agribusiness expansion in the Amazon region. They traveled through the southern part of Para state and saw the impacts of mining, logging and hydroelectric projects on the Amazon and its people.

  • Time for a New “New Deal” on Human Rights

    Sixty years after the UN General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, we at Grassroots International recognize that more often than not the reality has failed the vision put forth in that document.  Our commitment to defending land, water, and food as the most basic of human rights is reflected throughout the 30-article treaty.  Globally, people in all corners of the world currently experience a quadruple crisis that includes food, finance, energy, and the environment.  From Latin America to the Middle East, our partners and allies are facing serious threats to their lives and livelihoods.  Policies and actions of governments and corporations represent the grave violations of the core principles of the treat