Brazil’s Experience with Agrarian Reform, 1995-2006: Challenges for Agrarian Geography
Bernardo Mançano Fernandes and Clifford Andrew Welch
São Paulo State University (UNESP)
This paper analyses one of the challenges facing agrarian geographers of Brazil: explaining land-tenure systems in light of persistently high levels of land occupations by landless peasants, the implementation of agrarian reform projects by the Fernando Henrique Cardoso (1995-2002) and Luís Lula Inácio da Silva (2003-present) presidential administrations and the expansion of agribusiness. It examines the actions of families organized in the Landless Workers Movement (MST – Movimento dos Trabalhadores Rurais Sem-Terra) and territorialization / deterritorialization processes from 1995 to 2006. We discuss how large land-holding have long determined who holds political power in Brazil and how a “rural block” continues to thwart attempts to resolve Brazil’s agrarian question. Consequently, the article concludes, conflictuality is a part of Brazilian rural life that is unlikely to go away.
Keywords: Agrarian Geography, Land reform, MST, Land occupation, Agrarian Reform Settlements, Land-tenure Structure, Landless families, Agribusiness