State and federal deputies in São Paulo have been pressing the STF (Federal Supreme Court) against a law used by Tarcísio de Freitas (Republicans) to sell vacant lands to landowners and have already taken the matter to the MST’s CPI.
The government of São Paulo accelerated the land regularization process, with a discount of up to 90% for occupants and based on a law questioned by the PT, according to the Sheet revealed.
Unoccupied lands are public areas occupied irregularly that have never had a destination defined by the government and have never had a private owner.
The legislation was approved by Alesp (São Paulo Legislative Assembly) in 2022 and sanctioned in the management of Rodrigo Garcia (PSDB). While agribusiness defends the measure as a means of developing the regions, critics of the text, such as the MST (Movement of Landless Rural Workers), claim that the program will legalize land grabbing, especially in the Pontal do Paranapanema region.
The agreements with the prediction of the value to be disbursed by the landowners go through Itesp (Land Institute Foundation of the State of São Paulo), are sent to the Secretary of Agriculture for manifestation, and the final decision will be of the Attorney General of the State. Itesp argues that it will save values with the processes.
The PT filed a direct action of unconstitutionality in the STF to bar the law, and the matter is in the hands of Minister Cármen Lúcia. So far, there are favorable opinions from the PGR (Attorney General of the Republic) and the AGU (Attorney General of the Union).
In a video released by Sheetthe executive director of Itesp, Guilherme Piai, says that it is necessary to act in the process “while the law is in force”.
“Now a political issue is happening, which also escapes Itesp’s purview, which this law has a great chance of falling”, he says in the recording. Deputy deputy for the Republicans, Piai was an electoral supporter for Tarcísio and former president Jair Bolsonaro (PL) in Pontal do Paranapanema, in the western region of the state, where there is frequent tension between movements of rural workers and farmers.
On the 30th, state deputy Eduardo Suplicy (PT) sent a letter to minister Cármen Lúcia asking for urgency in the judgment of the case —and in which he cites a report by the Sheet. Suplicy and other deputies who signed the document say that suspending the law could avoid the historic mistake of giving up thousands of hectares of land.
“It is worth noting that the fate of these public lands in São Paulo can also define the fate of thousands of farming families who need an opportunity”, says the document.
So far, the properties whose agreements were published in the Official Gazette are valued at R$64 million. The total discounts provided, however, add up to R$ 50 million – owners would have to pay only R$ 14 million. The land totals 3,900 hectares, equivalent to 25 areas of Ibirapuera Park.
There are still 132 processes that have not reached this stage.
The PSOL also entered the matter at the national level, by asking the STF to participate in the PT’s action as amicus curiae, providing subsidies to the process.
“This law is absurd, it only aims to favor large campaign financiers and political and ideological support for Bolsonarism. But it is an affront to the Brazilian Constitution and justice in the countryside”, said federal deputy Sâmia Bonfim (PSOL-SP), who articulated the inclusion of the party in PT action.
The party also acts to take the matter to the MST’s CPI, reported by Ricardo Salles (PL-SP) and Bolsonarism’s hope to lash out at the left.
Psolist federal deputy Luciene Cavalcante, for example, made a request to the CPI to carry out due diligences on farms that undergo the regularization process based on the new law and the survey of all that are about to do so.
Her request is based on a letter from state deputy Carlos Giannazzi (PSOL) to the PGE (State Attorney General’s Office) dated May 9, in which he argues that the law “does not comply with the legal system that deals with agrarian issues , public goods, bids, as it is an example of useful unconstitutionality, creating a window for the alienation of vacant lands until the appreciation of their constitutionality, which is already happening as narrated here”.
The first diligence of the MST CPI members was carried out at the end of last month in the Pontal do Paranapanema region, with visits to camps that do not belong to the movement. The commission is the scene of a strong debate between deputies representing agribusiness and the left, favorable to rural workers’ movements.
A Sheet Itesp defended the legislation. The foundation stated that, in the released video, the director suggests that, as long as the law makes it possible, the procedural instruction for the agreements should be carried out and “in short, the resumption of legal security, peace and development”.
The foundation argues that, instead of losing money, it will save R$40 million with just eight of these properties appraised.
“More appropriate than pointing out the amount of discount given by the state to these individuals, it is to point out the amount that the state will no longer spend with the continuation of the litigation and the need to pay compensation for improvements, as well as how much it will raise for investments in social policies”, says Itesp, in a note.
The body mentions properties eligible for agreement that have not been declared vacant. In Pontal do Paranapanema, 84 actions discriminate against 1.2 million hectares, 29 of which are dismissed, says the foundation. “Therefore, there is no certainty of success in filing discriminatory lawsuits and the agreement for regularization avoids the procedural risk”, says Itesp.