The MST in the extreme South of Bahia, in the early morning of 9 August, re-occupied the farm called Putumuju/barrinha in the municipality of Eunapolis. This happened after loosing their member Jose Pacheco da Cruz, 72 years, victim of the traffic, run over on the highway BR-101 where the MST had to construct their tents after being expelled on 22 July from the aforementioned farm where Veracel Celulose plants eucalyptus. Veracel Celulose is the property of Aracruz and Stora Enso (Swedish Finnish corporation) and possesses 205,000 hectares of lands in the state of Bahia, of which at least 20 thousand hectares are lands without land titles, so-called devolutas lands. The devolutas lands, according to the Brazilian Federal Constitution, article 188, says that the “destination of Ceterras devolutas and public lands must be compatible with the agricultural policy and with the national plan for agrarian land reform”.
The workers had already planted beans, maize, manioc, pumpkin, watermelon, okra, sweet cabaca, gherkin, sweet potato and vegetables during more than 100 days of occupation. They had already collected 20 sacks of beans and the maize was already ready for harvesting when they were forced to leave the area because of a court decision. All the food crops were destroyed by Veracel. And what remained has been contaminated by pesticides. For Mrs Maria, 64 years old, “This is an insult against the workers. Many people are starving, many of us were in town facing many difficulties and Veracel destructs our food crops in front of our eyes. This hurts in our soul. So paper is more important that our lives”, she concludes with tears in her eyes.
The workers occupied also the farm Sao Francisco of Veracel in the municipality of Porto Seguro. In this place, about 80 families constructed their tents and they also try to realize their dream to feed their children. This area is located only 10 kilometers from the coast, and according to legislation of the state of Bahia, no eucalyptus could have been planted there.
Photo courtesy of MST