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The Landless Rural Workers Movement (MST) started to expand its campaign of invasions across Brazil. At least nine farms across the country and the headquarters of the National Institute for Colonization and Agrarian Reform (Incra) were invaded in at least seven states. According to media sources, the government considers the invasions a setback for the progress of the land distribution policies that it pursues in Lula’s third term.

The Invasions

The invasions were carried out on Saturday (15), when eight farms in the state of Pernambuco were invaded, including lands in the metropolitan region of Recife. One of the areas invaded by 600 families, in the city of Petrolina, belongs to Brazilian Agricultural Research Corporation (Embrapa) and are used for the installation of experiments and multiplication of genetic material. In addition, on Monday (17/04), around 200 families invaded an area in the municipality of Aracruz, in Espírito Santo.

Also on Monday, Incra headquarters were invaded in the states of Minas Gerais, Santa Catarina, Ceará, Mato Grosso do Sul and Rio Grande do Norte, in addition to the Federal District. In Bahia, families protested at the entrance to the Legislative Assembly of Bahia, where they participated in a public hearing. About 400 people participated in the act, which dealt with agrarian reform and the increase in violence in the countryside.

Response from Farmers

Recently, the Confederation of Agriculture and Livestock of Brazil (CNA) filed in the Supreme Federal Court (STF) an injunction to prevent invasions of rural properties across the country.


Analysts say that the pressure put by the MST on Lula’s (PT) government has the objective of forcing the creation of an agrarian reform action plan for the next four years and meeting the demands of MST families.

Jeopardizing Government’s Plans

Media sources have reported that the wave of invasions by the MST in recent days has jeopardized the plans of President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva (PT). For Lula, the events only caused delays in the timetable for announcing the resumption of agrarian reform policies in the country. The Chief Executive fears that the actions will cause wear and tear for the government, especially with agribusiness, and called a meeting on Thursday (20/04) with ministers to try to overcome the crisis.

Condition for the Progress of the Agrarian Reform

On Tuesday (20/04), Agrarian Development Minister Paulo Teixeira told O Globo newspaper that the eviction of lands invaded in recent days by the Landless Rural Workers Movement (MST) is a condition for the government to proceed with the agrarian reform program.

Our Analysis:

The invasions create a new frontline of pressure against the government. In this case, what is even worse is that the trouble was created by an ally. The close ties between the government and the MST are a well-known fact and any type of action taken by this group will have repercussions for the President. This type of “friendly fire” creates bigger challenges for Lula’s administration. He must divide his team even more to take control of another problem but the negative effect on his image is certain. In addition, the mission to continue the agrarian reform continues, but with more obstacles. Furthermore, it will be harder for the government to create alliances with the agribusiness, an important sector of the Brazilian economy that has been supporting the opposition. In practical terms, the invasions have a great potential to lead to several conflicts in the rural areas, with road blockades and even armed disputes, especially due to the change in the weapons policy in Brazil in the past years.

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