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Not even during the military dictatorship was there ever such a broad, explicit and unconditional promotion of land-grabbing as what was put forth in Provisional Measure 458, published by the federal government and now before the National Congress.  The PM in question – and the shameful report by Pará Congressman Asdrúbal Bentes that accompanies it – go beyond not only the limits of decency, but against land tenure rules published over the last 160 years, ever since the adoption of the land code … (Editorial 1/2 of 03/24/2009).

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Editorial 2/2 of 03/24/2009: … The text formally legalizes land grabbing by extending benefits to those occupying public lands as well as those that ‘indirectly use’ them through ‘representatives’.  Worse yet, offering benefits to ‘indirect occupation, as exercised by solely through a tenant”.  This latter definition acknowledges the legality of land grabbing in law, because the occupant not only does not to directly be present but can also own several areas. 

Secondly, the wording of the PM reaches the peaks of cynicism by acknowledging and rewarding land grabbers by evicting traditional populations, establishing that – in order to prove occupation – it is sufficient to prove that the land was occupied and used by “previous persons”.  In short, the fact that riverbank or rubber tapper families having been evicted from an area, which should be a hindrance to obtaining land tenure, has become a factor enabling the issue of land title.

Thirdly, the rule establishes that land grabbers not only have full legal rights, but even more rights than ordinary citizens.  While land tenure of occupied lands up to 1,500 hectares is promoted without any bidding process, the PM allows much more than this limit, allowing those occupying areas over 1,500 hectare to obtain land title anyway, through a bidding process in which they are “ensured right of preference”.  In other words, if an honest citizen were to be bold enough to participate in such a bidding process, he or she would necessarily lose to the swindler.

Lastly, the measure goes beyond any previous act in geographically extending the giveaway of public lands, even in border areas, something the military regime would never have allowed.

The nature of this measure, therefore, goes beyond the traditional recognition of the status quo and innovates with concepts that legitimize and serve as grounds for future amendments to existing legislation, recognizing eviction and the use of tenant farmers as instruments to take possession of public assets.

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