In Brazil, the concentration of land by large landowners (latifundios*) is at the root of social inequalities. In order to combat this state of affairs, peasant organizations have been mobilizing for several years to initiate agrarian reform. Since 1985, the organization O Movimento Sem Terra (MST) has been campaigning to allocate land to peasants by organizing land occupations throughout the country.
MST’s mission does not stop there. It also campaigns for access to education in the rural world, creates schools and helps thousands of Brazilians escape illiteracy. However, its action is undermined by the opposing camp, which holds all the power. Threats, intimidation and assassinations of peasants are frequent and remain largely unpunished.
In June 2017, I travelled to the northern state of Para to document the daily lives of landless peasants. « Sem Terra » relates the daily life of the 120 families in the Frei Henri camp, their struggle against a dishonest archaic system and their determination to live in dignity at all costs.
*A latifundio is a large property characterized both by its size, from a few hundred hectares to tens of thousands, and by the very low level of land development. Latifundios are most often devoted to extensive livestock farming and a few food crops grown by landless peasants, linked to the owner of the estate by ties of both personal and financial dependence.