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Land Reform for a Culture of Peace (Brazil)
an article by Marcos Estrada

On Monday 15th of July 2013, members of the Landless Movement (Movimento dos Sem Terra- MST) in Brazil, from the landless camp Antonio Irmão, visited the Town Hall in the town of Itaquirai, state of Mato Grosso do Sul, where they are camped. A group of more than 100 people came in two buses, with their flags and their energy to meet the mayor. They brought in their hands a letter with three important and urgent demands,

click on photo to enlarge

Although they had not previously scheduled a meeting with the Mayor Ricardo Favaro and the Vice-Mayor Daniel Mamedio and their team, all were received without any problem. Upon their arrival, a small group for negotiation was invited to the meeting room, where a chat took place smoothly during over one hour.

During the meeting the three demands were discussed: the question of the wells from where the MST Members get their water from in the landless camp; the question of the basic medical services in the landless camp; and the position of the local government in relation to the 134 families living in this landless camp in his town.

In relation to the wells, the mayor expressed he was not aware of the lack of water in the landless camp due to the malfunction of some of the wells as a result of the heavy rain which led to the bad quality of the water. It was assured that by Thursday 18 July 2013, or even before, the well of the school in the landless camp would be fixed. It would be before the return of the classes in the coming week, which was possible because the tubes necessary to fix the well were already in the Town Hall. It was also agreed that the Town Hall would carry out an analysis of the water in all wells of the landless camp. In fact, on 16 July, the Town Hall contacted the Landless camp about the analysis of the water and confirmed to put the required tubes in the well of the school, as they had assured.

In relation to the basic medical services, it was guaranteed that the negotiation with the responsible person in the health sector in the landless camp would continue, and she would receive all possible medication, and in sufficient quantities, so minor accidents or non-serious illnesses could be treated in the camp. It was also agreed that there would be a better communication between the Town Hall and the members of the MST, so the health of all could be protected. In addition, the town hall would provide a first aid kit to be used in the landless camp.

In this meeting, the mayor said he was previously unaware of the three areas for settlement, which according to the MST members, INCRA ( Brazilian Institute for Colonisation and Land Reform) claimed to exist in this town. The mayor gave his word to find out if these areas exist and where they are located. As the Mayor Favaro said ‘the town wins much more with a settlement than with a landless camp’.

This is an example of how people working together can make a better world towards a Culture of Peace.

(Click here for a Portuguese version of this article)


Question(s) related to this article:

How important is community development for a culture of peace?,

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Latest reader comment:

Community plays a important role in developing culture peace. We should promote our cultural values by interacting with each other and making these values part of our daily lives. A good example of this would be raising our children according to beliefs and values which are important for us and our cultural peace. We can also promote cultural peace by making small commuinties within big community and share different ideas and bring new ones in.

This report was posted on August 1, 2013.