Marcha das Margaridas - 2007 RAZÕES PARA MARCHAR


3rd Marcha das Margaridas

This country will never be the same again



Today, Tuesday 21st of August, the third Marcha das Margaridas, organized by the National Confederation of Agricultural Workers of Brazil (CONTAG), was officially launched in Brasilia, on the site of the Expoparque. Some 12 thousand women were present to open this demonstration, along with an international delegation of over 50 supporters, including the IUF.



The vast roofed facilities of the Expoparque were almost overflowing with the thousands of women that were gathering there in preparation for the event, and there were still numerous delegations and groups expected to arrive from around the country throughout these two days, to set off tomorrow, Wednesday the 22nd, in the Marcha, towards the Esplanade of Ministries and the Pálacio do Planalto, seat of the Presidency.


Under an atmosphere of optimism and participation, as they listened to the emblematic song of the Marcha das Margaridas, the figures that would be presiding the event were called up to the stage, one by one. Among them were Nélcide Freire, Minister of Special Policies for Women; Guilherme Cassel, Minister of Agricultural Development; a representative of the United Workers’ Federation (CUT); and Luisa Mele, in representation of the IUF and the Argentinean Union of Rural Workers and Stevedores (UATRE).


The list of speakers was opened by the coordinator of CONTAG’s Women’s Commission and vice president of the United Workers’ Federation (CUT), Carmen Foro, who began her address asking for a minute of silence in memory of María Martines, an agricultural activist, member of CONTAG, who died yesterday in a highway accident, when one of the buses that brought the delegation from the Northeastern state of Piauí crashed.


Carmen stressed, in the first place, the strong international nature of this Marcha das Margaridas, as representatives of several organizations from 13 different countries are participating in it. She continued by emphasizing that the people gathered today in Brasilia represent a huge mobilization that dates back two years, when organization for the current Marcha das Margaridas began, with hundreds and thousands of meetings held in every corner of the country to discuss the particulars of this event.


She underlined that each of the women present here today had left their families, their daughters and sons, and their tasks back home to come to Brasilia to participate in the Marcha, and she stressed how they must all be feeling that they are taking part in a historical event for their country, because of the profound political significance the March has. “We’ve come to Brasilia to let everyone know what model we want for our country; that’s all we’ve come here for,” Foro remarked.


She went on to say that many things had changed since the last Marcha das Margaridas, and she reminded everyone that on the previous edition, the women had had to overcome a lot of obstacles within their own unions in order to organize, and she pointed out that not everyone had understood the importance and need for women to mobilize in their own space.

“We can’t afford to lose sight –Foro warned- of the fact that our mission here is to revolutionize Brazil’s labor movement, because no other movement today could do what we’re achieving here, gathering in one single action dozens of diverse organizations, in a display of unity in diversity never before seen. That’s what all us women are doing here, and CONTAG is playing a decisive role in this.”


I take this opportunity to address the government authorities present here today to stress that the country needs an agrarian reform, we need to have access to land; and we want them to go an tell the President –she continued- that we want to leave here with the assurance that we will have updated productivity indexes published and available to all, we want to leave here knowing what policy will be adopted to address the violence that rural women are suffering, with the certainty and the guarantee that rural women will continue to be covered by the social security system, and we want to leave with a more clear idea of the measures the government will take to further support a sustainable rural development model based on agro-ecology, to be able to confront the agricultural model of investments based on the massive use of transgenic seeds. Through this March, as well as through other actions we plan to undertake, we will clearly demonstrate that the kind of country we want is a country where there is no inequality between women and men.


Lastly, Carmen Foro closed her speech by announcing that “Brazil will never be the same again after this Marcha das Margaridas”.


For her part, Luisa Mele, on behalf of the IUF, pointed out that women workers throughout the world were accompanying this unique March whose deep significance and content will give them all something to reflect on, and concluded by saluting rural women workers and the Marcha das Margaridas.

Carlos Amorín, from Brasilia

© Rel-UITA

August 21, 2007




Photos: Gerardo Iglesias and Carlos Amorín


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