An overview of the Bolsonaro government


By João Pedro Stedile*

A list of the 32 measures of the Jair Bolsonaro presidency that are most harmful to rural workers and the vast majority of the Brazilian people.

The first year of Captain Jair Bolsonaro's government represented a clear policy option for the countryside, favoring the interests of capital, represented by landowners, agribusiness, loggers, mining companies, land grabbers and transnational agro-businesses. There were huge setbacks in agrarian, agricultural and environmental policies, harming all rural workers and the vast majority of the Brazilian people.

Check out our selection of the main measures:

(1) Paralyzation of agrarian reform.

No farms were expropriated. The Constitution is clear: all large unproductive farms (generally over 1.000 hectares) must be expropriated. The legislation indicates that the landowner is paid with agrarian debt bonds and the land is distributed to landless families. No family was settled.

(2) No indigenous areas have been demarcated or legalized.

There are 236 demarcation processes for indigenous areas paralyzed at different stages of development. Some were triggered by court decision, such was the government's excess. In the year, 160 cases of invasions and attacks on indigenous peoples by landowners, loggers, mining companies and prospectors were registered. (source CPI-SP).

(3) No quilombola areas were demarcated or legalized.

There are 3.000 communities recognized by the State without demarcation (but the quilombola movement-CONAQ estimates that there are around 6.000 communities) and there are 1.719 titling processes paralyzed at Incra.

(4) Edition of MP 910.

This provisional measure regulates the legalization of public lands illegally occupied in the Legal Amazon by landowners, simply by self-declaration that they are already occupied.

(5) Privatization of water.

Approval by the National Congress, at the initiative of the government, of norms to privatize the sale of drinking water and sanitation, handing over these services to companies and foreign capital.

(6). Sale of land to foreign capital.

The government sent Congress a provisional measure (not yet approved) authorizing the sale of land to foreign capital. In the past, even the Armed Forces have opposed this, considering it a violation of national sovereignty. Now, in the government, they shut up!

(7) Stoppage of the advance food purchase program-PAA.

The program managed by Conab invested more than BRL 1 billion per year (in 2019, only BRL 92 million were invested). It represented an important stimulus to the production of healthy foods and a guarantee to peasants that they could sell to the government, receiving cash. Conab bought more than 360 types of food that were destined for hospitals, schools, day care centers, prisons, barracks, basic food baskets for the poor, etc.

(8) Stoppage of Pronera.

The program encouraged public universities to build special courses in the form of alternation, carrying out specific entrance exams for children of peasants. This allowed them to spend two months in classes and two months back in their communities. Thousands of young people from the interior had access to university, graduated and remained in the countryside, thanks to this program.

(9) Stoppage of Ates programs.

All technical assistance and promotion programs for family farming and settlements were paralyzed. Thousands of agronomists, veterinarians, social workers lost their jobs. And hundreds of communities lost technical assistance.

(10) Stoppage of the rural housing program.

The existing module for rural housing within the Minha Casa Minha Vida program was extinguished. There is still a huge deficit of housing in the countryside. The program organized the construction of new homes and financed renovations in rural settlements and family farming communities.

(11) Stoppage of Pronaro implementation.

They interrupted the National Program for Reducing the Use of Pesticides and the national program to support agroecology. The two programs were enacted into law, but the current government simply ignored them in the Union's policies and budget.

(12) Release of pesticides.

Authorized the release of 502 new pesticide labels, many of them prohibited from being sold in the countries of origin. The evaluation parameters, monitoring of toxicity were made more flexible and so did the policy that interests only the interests of the five large transnational companies: Bayer/Monsanto, Basf, Dupont, Shellquimica and Syngenta. Currently, more than half of the food that reaches supermarkets is contaminated by agricultural poisons. Which according to Inca (National Cancer Institute) and Fiocruz, affect the health of the entire population, even generating some types of cancer.

13. Permission to carry weapons.

They authorized the carrying of a weapon of any caliber, throughout the extension of the farms. This measure is of interest only to arms factories and induces impunity on landowners and the hiring of gunmen. As if the problems of land conflicts or theft in rural areas could be solved by carrying weapons. The responsibility for public safety lies with the State! Thus, we return to the Middle Ages, to the law of the strongest or the best armed.

(14) Incitement to violence.

This incentive is compounded by the guarantee of impunity for police officers. In several states, during the year there were evictions of families camped (and also in cities) without judicial authorization or any negotiation to define where the families would be placed. These abuses were committed by local police authorities, who, influenced by the landowner and by Bolsonarist ideological discourse, committed these abuses in breach of the law.

(15) Increased landlord violence.

In the countryside, especially on the agricultural frontier, the use of violence by landowners in disputes over land has increased. The CPT recorded an increase in conflicts during 2019 and the occurrence of 29 murders of leaders, including indigenous and quilombola communities.

(16) Approval of the pension reform.

Required by the financial market, the Social Security reform removed the rights of the vast majority of rural workers, increasing the retirement age and reducing values ​​and the number of INSS benefits for rural areas. This measure affects income distribution in the countryside, increases the difficulties of families that depended on these benefits and will make the economy of several municipalities in the interior of the country unfeasible.

(17) Liberalization of rules for transgenic plants.

Loosening of the rules for registration and monitoring of new transgenic plants (GMOs), increasing the risk of these technologies for human, animal and environmental health, since the necessary studies on impacts on the environment and people's health were exempted.

(18). Spurious nominations.

An individual convicted of an environmental crime was appointed Minister of the Environment. Add to that the choice of Deputy Valdir Colatto (MDB-SC) to preside over the Brazilian Forestry Service. both have curriculum and behavior clearly anti-environment and nature preservation.

(19) Indiscriminate appointment of police officers and former police officers.

Appointment of police officers and former police officers to replace specialists in the Ministry of the Environment; threats to public servants in fulfilling their obligations in environmental management throughout the country; deactivation of joint environmental management councils, dismantling of the national environmental monitoring system and end of dialogue with civil society organizations.

(20) Stimulation of deforestation and forest fires in the Amazon.

“I am Captain Chainsaw,” proclaimed the President; in 2015, 6.207 square kilometers were deforested, and now, in 2019, an area of ​​9.762 square kilometers was reached, with an increase of 50%.

(21) Encouraging the invasion of public and environmental protection areas.

The issue of Provisional Measure 901 aims to reduce the percentage of legal reserve in landowners' properties and reduces the number of natural conservation areas belonging to the Union.

(22) Stimulation of illegal mining in indigenous and environmental protection areas.

(23) Suspension of the ban on planting sugarcane in the Pantanal and Amazon biomes.

This monoculture will generate enormous environmental problems in both regions, as the scientists have warned.

(24) Criminalization of NGOs.

The criminalization of militants from NGOs and movements in defense of the environment was made official; as the pathetic example of the unjust imprisonment of activists in the Amazon, manipulated by police and Bolsonarist loggers.

(25) Attack on science.

Criminalization and persecution of researchers and scientists from public research institutions, especially those focused on environmental issues.

(26) Impunity for mining companies.

Increased impunity for mining companies that committed environmental crimes and caused the death of hundreds of people in Minas Gerais and Pará, without the families and regions having been repaired so far. The State is absent, the Public Ministry pretends to supervise, and the mining companies continue appropriating billions in profits per year.

(27) Dismantling of the cistern construction program in the northeastern semi-arid region.

Only the old contracts were kept. Resources dropped from BRL 26 million in 2015 to just BRL 10 million in 2019. In the Lula-Dilma governments, more than BRL 1 billion was invested in building cisterns to supply rainwater to peasant families.

(28) Dismantling and equipping INCRA.

Incra (National Institute of Colonization and Agrarian Reform) is being dismantled and equipped by the UDR (the infamous Rural Democratic Union – an entity of landowners that organizes violence against rural workers), appointing people who are against agrarian reform. And even police officers in state superintendencies.

(29) Closing of the Mais Médicos program.

Hundreds of communities of indigenous peoples, quilombolas and settlements lost care and medical attention with the closure of the Mais Médicos program. The country no longer has the presence of Cuban doctors, the only ones willing to serve these communities.

(30) Accession to the free trade agreement between Mercosur and the European Union.

Fortunately contested by several European countries and which will certainly be vetoed by Argentina. The agreement put at risk not only the Brazilian industry and the Southern Cone, but also the production of family farming, milk, cheese and wine, among other products, due to the total release of the entry of European products.

(31) Policy to abandon family farming.

The policy of abandoning family farming also had consequences for the agricultural machinery industry. In 2015, 262 thousand tractors were sold and, in 2019, only 46.457 were sold.

(32) Project to eliminate small municipalities.

The bill that intends to eliminate 1.247 small Brazilian municipalities, if approved, will make it difficult for the poorest inland population to access education, health, banking and mail services offered there.

*João Pedro Stedile is a member of the MST coordination team.

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