On May 17-18, Brazil's National Confederation of
Agricultural Workers (CONTAG) will hold its 17th
Grito da Terra (Cry of the Earth) in the country’s capital,
Brasilia. A large mobilization will bring 7,000 agricultural
workers together to demonstrate before the nation’s
political authorities and advance their platform of demands.
head of CONTAG’s Rural Women Workers division, spoke with
Sirel about this year’s edition of Grito da Terra.
-What are the main issues of this year’s Grito da Terra?
-On March 1st we presented our platform of
demands to President Dilma, and with that we began a
process of negotiation with the government.
While this 17th Grito da Terra has a
certain continuity in several key issues of our proposals,
we acknowledge that over the past eight years our demands
have received more effective answers, as the government of
former president Lula da Silva was very receptive to
This Grito da Terra calls for a sustainable Brazil,
without hunger and poverty, and its platform includes
certain points that we identify as “emergencies,” such as
combating rural poverty, providing land for 150,000
families, increasing loans and resources for family farming,
rural housing programs, and other issues.
Under this framework and as one of the leading issues of our
agenda, we also want to discuss the elimination of all forms
of inequality, from gender to generational differences. To
that end we have already gone to several ministries with
proposals to implement programs focused on young people, the
elderly and children and youth protection.
her speeches, President Dilma has insisted on
the fight against poverty, and we’re preparing
an agenda in line with that area of concern of
We’ve also incorporated more general issues, with a broader
content, such as the struggle for economic, social and
environmental sustainability, our modes of political
participation, the strengthening of labor organizations, and
the federal government budget.
-Are there any changes in the negotiation process with this
-Yes, there are some changes. But we have a historical
continuity in issues such as land reform, credit policies,
social policies, environmental protection, etc.
In her speeches, President Dilma has insisted on the
fight against poverty, and we’re preparing an agenda in line
with that area of concern of the government.
Moreover, while Dilma is already governing, she’s
doing so with the budget approved under Lula, as this
is the last year of that budget. So it’s crucial for us to
be able to influence the new budget that will determine
government spending over the next four years.
Our agenda is made up of issues that need to be addressed
this year, but it also has a approach that takes into
consideration the full term of government.
-Do you expect anything different now that a woman is
heading the country?
-I have a lot of positive expectations. The election of the
first woman president in Brazil is no small thing.
It’s a huge gain, and I think that so far Dilma has
shown in her public addresses that she is strongly
commitment to advancing women’s political issues.
acknowledged that poverty in Brazil has a place and a
gender: poverty is feminine and it’s located in rural areas
and urban peripheries. I think the first step to overcoming
a problem comes when a government leader recognizes the
existence of that problem.
definition in this sense has been very positive for the
debate on women’s inclusion in production processes as a way
of dealing with poverty. I think that this coming week of
negotiation, in the framework of Grito da Terra, will
also be important in terms of seeing if we can move ahead on