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The Landless Workers' Movement in Brazil
Making Land Reform Work for Millions of People

In Brazil, less than three percent of the population owns two-thirds of the arable land. The Landless Workers Movement (MST) grows as a response to this fact of colonial history. Founded less than twenty years ago, it is now the largest social movement in Latin America with an estimated 1.5 million members organized in 23 out 27 states in Brazil. The goal of the MST is to implement long-overdue land reform — by taking seriously the promises enshrined in the Brazilian Constitution — and so far it has won land titles for more than 300,000 families.

[Guarding the gates at an MST settlement in Parana, Brazil]

Wanusa Pereira dos Santos is a 25-year-old leader of the MST. She will tell us about the organization's social, political, and economic strategies and how it promotes fair trade and responsible stewardship of the natural environment: for example, the MST is the only producer and distributor of organic seed stock in Latin America. She will also discuss the tactics used by those who oppose reform: leaders of the MST are frequently harassed and imprisoned without trial; since 1985, more than a thousand activists have been murdered.

For more information:

7 p.m., May 2, 2002
MIT 4-231