Abya Yala Fund for Indigenous Self-Development in South & Meso America

Announcing Reality Tour to Brazil

Global Exchange & Rainforest Action Network

present a reality tour...

Brazil: Land Struggles, Indigenous Rights and Culture

Aug. 10-22, 1998

Program Highlights

* Meet the Movimento dos Trabalhodores Rurais Sem Terra - MST (Brazil Landless Workers Movement), the largest rural workers movement in America and learn about their strategies in pressuring for land reform.

* Talk with human rights activists and representatives of the Partido dos Trabalhadores - PT (Workers Party).

* Travel to the Pontal do Paranapanema region of São Paulo, an area that has recently seen a high profile campaign of land occupations organized by the MST. There you will meet with communities and government representatives to discuss the occupations and the landowners response.

* Visit the coast of São Paulo state and discuss environmental issues with Vitae Civilis, an NGO that works to create conditions so communities can sustain themselves in the rainforest with out destroying it.

* Travel to Espírito Santo state and meet with the Tupinikim - Guaraní people to learn about their struggle for their indigenous territorial rights.

* Dialogue with several key people in strategic governmental agencies, political parties, and NGOs that focus on the Brazilian social and environmental movement at the national level. This series of meetings will capture the social, economic, and political framework of contemporary Brazil.

* Based on tentative itinerary

Cost and What is Included:

$2800, starting from US (San Francisco, Los Angeles, New York, or Miami), including double-occupancy accommodations (single rooms can be arranged for an additional $150); two meals per day; all air and ground transportation throughout the duration of the trip; tour guides; all seminars and program activities; a full-time trip leader; translation of the entire program; reading materials. Price without airfare from US also available.

How to Apply:

Please send an application form and a $200 deposit at least forty-five days before the departure date to Global Exchange. This delegation will be as diverse as possible in terms of race, age, and life experiences. A limited number of partial financial assistance is available for low-income participants. For application forms and more information, please contact:

Global Exchange
Attn: Todd Kolze or Noëlle Ehrenkaufer
2017 Mission Street, #303, San Francisco, CA 94110
Phone: (415) 255-7296 or 800-497-1994, x221 * Fax: (415) 255-7498
E-mail: todd@globalexchange.org Website: www.globalexchange.org


During Brazil's colonization, the Portuguese monarchy distributed immense tracts of land to selected friends of the crown. The legacy of this land distribution is that Brazil today has the most unequal pattern of land ownership in the world. Less than 3% of the population owns two thirds of Brazil's arable land. Meanwhile, 25 million peasants struggle to survive by working in temporary agricultural jobs or practicing slash and burn agriculture in the interior of the country. Surprisingly, 60% of Brazil's farmland is not in use.

The Landless Workers' Movement (MST) is a response to these inequalities. The movement began in 1985 when, with the support of the Catholic Church, hundreds of landless rural Brazilians took over an unused plantation in the south of the country and successfully established a cooperative there. They gained title to the land in 1987.

Since then the movement has grown and 200,000 families have won land titles after MST land takeovers. These gains have not come without a cost though. Violent clashes between the MST and police have become common. The most notorious of these confrontations occurred in 1996 when police gunned down 19 MST members during a peaceful demonstration in the state of Pará. Also, on March 26th of this year, two MST leaders were killed by landowners in Pará during a land occupation.

This summer should prove to be an important time to explore both sides of the land reform issue. The tour will include meetings with the MST leadership and the Brazilian government. We will also visit an MST community in Pontal de Paranapanema, an area where land occupations have recently taken place.

DEFORESTATION - The Mata Atlântica

The Mata Atlântica, Brazil's southern rainforest once stretched from the state of Rio Grande do Norte to Rio Grande do Sul, covering over 1.5 million square kilometers. The forest has been reduced to only 8% of its original size due to logging and other unsound development practices. As a result, many people who used to sustain themselves from this forest, are no longer able to.

Several environmental NGOs are actively working to protect the last tracts of this forest. We will meet with Vitae Civilis, an NGO that works directly with rural communities who have settled in this region for generations. Together, they are working to create conditions that will enable these forest communities to continue living in the forest without destroying it.

INDIGENOUS TERRITORIAL RIGHTS - The case of the Tupinikim and Guaraní people of Espírito Santo State

In 1988 Brazil ratified a new Constitution that, among other things, recognized the traditional rights of indigenous peoples to their homelands, traditional livelihood and culture. As a result, a process for the demarcation of all indigenous lands in Brazil, which account for 11% of the total, took its firm place in the social and indigenous movement agenda. Unfortunately, powerful economic interest groups have been organizing against the demarcation of indigenous territories throughout the country, fueling a conflict that has led to the murder of several indigenous leaders.

One of the current struggles we will examine is that of the Tupinikim and Guaraní communities in our visit to Espírito Santo state. They have been fighting against Aracruz Cellulose to regain their traditional homelands. Aracruz, a pulp producing company that exports to the United States, invaded their lands in the mid 60's. Since March 11th of this year, when they started to demarcate the land themselves, many of the Brazilians and internationals working with them have been the targets of threats and detentions.

Join us as we travel on this 12 day study tour of Brazil and explore land issues, indigenous rights and culture.

Other Reality Tours to Latin America

Global Exchange is a non-profit research, education and action center dedicated to promoting people-to-people ties between the North and the South. Founded in 1988, Global Exchange strives to increase global awareness among the U.S. public while building international partnerships around the world.

Rainforest Action Network (RAN), founded in 1985, is a nonprofit organization dedicated to protecting the world's rainforests and upholding the rights of native forest-dwelling peoples. RAN has 30,000 members on its active roster and coordinates its activities with environmental and human rights organizations around the world.

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Abya Yala Fund for Indigenous Self-Development in South and Meso America (AYF)
P.O. Box 28386
Oakland, CA 94604  USA
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E-mail: abyayala@earthlink.net

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