Movement of Dam Affected People (MAB)
Brazil’s hydroelectric potential is the envy of many of the world’s nations. Numerous multinationals set up there, and to meet their insatiable need for energy, Brazil is forced to build dam after dam. While supply abounds, Brazil’s power is used to the benefit of these multinationals. As a result, costs continue to soar. Brazilians pay the world’s fifth highest electricity prices, which is devastating to its vulnerable families. In 2009, the MAB launched a national campaign to fight the country’s exorbitant electricity costs.
When it comes to housing rights, the construction of over 2,000 dams has led to the eviction of 1 million Brazilians from their own lands over the last 40 years. The displaced often live poorly in shantytowns, while others join the ranks of the rural workers with no land who battle for any land they can get. Others, too, have united through the MAB to convince those who build new dams to provide sufficient compensation to allow these people to find alternate housing and rebuild their lives.
The MAB holds training and educational activities in support of the cause. For the last few years, the MAB has been running a literacy project for youths and adults that has reached more than 5,500 people, with help from the Department of Education and Culture. The objective is to reach out to a total of nearly 10,000 participants per year through training activities (meetings, workshops, courses, seminars, discussions, studies, etc.).
Movimento dos Trabalhadores Rurais Sem Terra (MST)
MST, which is a movement of landless Brazilians dispossessed of their land, is one of the largest social movements in Latin America. Over the last 20 years, its members have gained access to 25 million hectares of land - a landmass equivalent to England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland combined.
However, MST continues to push for agricultural reform in Brazil, because farmland in still concentrated in the hands of a few. In fact, almost half of arable farmland is controlled by only 1.6 percent of owners.
But land reform is only one part of MST’s dream. Little by little, the organization is sowing the seeds of a Brazil where land is in the hands of those who cultivate it; a nation of equality where oppression and slavery have been uprooted; and a nation where agriculture respects the cycles of nature and responds to people’s needs. Already, its members have created agricultural cooperatives, built houses, schools and private hospitals, and have ensured a safe food supply for more than 350,000 families.
Watch a video about the MST: