La Via Campesina women occupy a farm in South Brazil

About 2000 women from La Via Campesina occupied the plantation of Aracruz Celulose, in Barra do Ribeiro, Rio Grande do Sul (sur de Basil), early this wednesday morning. The purpose of the mobilization is to denounce the social and environmental impact of the growing green desert created by eucalyptus monocuture. The Barba Negra farm is the main  production unit of seedslings of eucalyptus and pines of Aracruz. It also has a laboratory  for seedlings cloning.

“We are against green deserts, the enormous plantations of eucalyptus, acácia and pines for cellulose, that cover t housandas of hectares in Brazil and Latin América. ‘When the green desert advancesm biodiversity is destroyed, soils deteriorate, rivers dry up. Moreover cellulose plants pollute air and water and threaten human health”, say the woman protestors.

The Aracruz Celulose is a business that owns the biggest green desert in the country. Its plantations cover more than 250 thousands hectares, 50 thousand just in Rio Grande do Sul. Their factories produce  2,4 million tons of whitened cellulose per year, generating pollution in the air and water, besides harming human health.

The women of La Via Campesina also protest in solidarity  with the indigenous peoples who had their land invaded by Aracruz Celulose in the state of Espírito Santo. In January of this year, indigenous families were violently evicted by the Federal Police, who used machines  from the company itself to carry out the eviction.

Aracruz is an agrobusiness company  that receives public funds. It recieved almost R$ 2 billion in the last 3 years. However, a company like Aracruz generates only one job for each 185 hectares planted, whereas small scale farms generate one job per hectare.”If  the green desert keeps growing, soon there won`t be enough water to drink and land to produce food. We just can`t understand how a government that wants to do away with hunger sponsors a green desert instead of investing in Agrarian Reform and peasant agriculture”, the manifesto declares.

The La Via Campesina mobilization  is also occurring to denounce the environmental impacts of eucalyptus monoculture, that is making strides in Rio Grande do Sul  with three large companies: Votorantim, Stora Enso and Aracruz. The eucalyptus deserts wear out the soil and consume too much water: each eucalyptus tree may consume 30 liters of water per day.

The women mobilization of La Via Campesina marks the International Day of Women. “ This March 8th, we express solidarity with rural women and urban working women of the whole world, who suffer violence of various kinds imposed on them by this capitalist and patriarchal society”, the text concludes.

After  the mobilization the women of Via Campesina will join the International Women Day march, which starts at 10, in Porto Alegre.    

Porto Alegre, 8 March 2006


Contacts en Porto Alegre:
Igor Felipe : + 55 51 91858321
Isabelle Delforge : + 55 51 81789855