The pro-rural media is once again drooling its hatred for the MST, which yesterday returned to reoccupy land “claim-jumped” by Cutrale in Iaras, in rural São Paulo.
Altamiro Borges, a one-time editor of Vermelho — the party organ of the PCdoB — recites the litany: the commercial media in Brazil is systematically biased against the Landless Workers Movement, or MST.
The allegation has the misfortune of being painfully obvious, independent of which side you favor. I translate in the spirit of providing context for official diplomatic cables on the situation of the MST.
TV anchors and commentators denounced the “invasion” and ran archive footage in which orange trees were damaged …. footage dating from September 2009. Though Incra has ruled again and again that the land belongs to the federal union, the media insist on demonizing the landless workers movement .
The occupation of Cutrale was part of a day of action for agrarian reform, including an encampment with 4,000 participants in Brasilia and various actions in other states. The media aired not a single word of our grievances or the absurdities of land ownership in Brazil. The media prefers to hear from the “victim,” Cutrale – a fact that at least attracts attention, even if it is negative attention, to the problem of land entitlement.
A criminal omission
At critical moments, the hegemonic mass media always takes sides. It unfailingly takes the side of the powerful, including in this case the barons of agribusiness, against the side of the workers. It will even cover up events that it has already reported during a less eventful period. Cutrale’s is an emblematic case. The newsrooms know full well the irregularities practiced by this company, but prefer the criminal conspiracy of silence.
In May 2003, for example, Veja magazine — possibly for mercenary reasons –- did a long report on Cutrale. Veja recounted that Cutrale is one of the largest agribusiness concerns in the world and that it has built its empire on the basis of predatory and illegal practices. “The Brazilian José Luís Cutrale and his family control 30% of the world market in orange juice, a figure comparable to that of OPEC in the oil business”.