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Brazil probes into controversial MST activities

October 22nd, 2009

logo-mst-grandeThe Brazilian National Congress on Wednesday formed a special parliamentary committee to investigate into controversial activities of the Landless Workers’ Movement (MST), the largest social movement in Latin America.

The opposition had to wait until a second round of signature-gathering from within the federation’s bicameral legislature to get the investigation committee formed.

The opposition Democrats party garnered 185 signatures (14 more than necessary) from the Chamber of Deputies and added 35 more signatures (eight more) from the Federal Senate to pass the required minimum threshold.

The opposition has been requiring the legislature to investigate into how state subsidies had been wasted on the part of the landless workers.

Ronaldo Caiado, Democrats leader in the Chamber of Deputies, said that the MST “is just an organization to destroy productive properties.”

The Democrats party started gathering signatures after a television network had shown images of MST members destroying an orange farm in the Sao Paulo State in late September.

Legislators who sympathized with the MST movement stayed away from the signature collection.

Ivan Valente from the Socialism and Freedom Party blamed the country’s elite and media for facilitating the formation of the parliamentary probe committee.

Officially founded in 1984 with over 6,000 landless families, the MST now has an estimated total of 1.5 million landless members organized in 23 out of Brazil’s 26 states.


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