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The Sights and Voices of Dispossession: The Fight for the Land and the Emerging Culture of the MST (The Movement of the Landless Rural Workers of Brazil)


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Studies, statements & references -> Terra: The Photography of Sebastião Salgado 16 resources (Archive edited by Else R P Vieira. Photographs © Sebastião Salgado)

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Sebastião Salgado


The struggle for the land: the icons of victory

See also:

Films - A Man, a Woman, a Flag
Murals - Reforma Agrária Uma Luta de Todos
Cartography - Political and Administrative divisions
Lyrics - Land and roots

The struggle for the land: the icons of victory

A large encampment with 2,800 families was formed on the lands of the Cuiabá plantation in the Xingó sertão along the São Francisco river. The people lived here for several months, enduring hardship in the hope of the latifundio-expropriation decree that was finally adopted on 6 May 1996. This is a demonstration by the peasants in commemoration of that victory, which in reality is a simple act of justice. Sergipe, 1996.

Salgado, Sebastião. Terra: Struggle of the Landless. Preface by José Saramago. Verses by Chico Buarque. Translated by Clifford Landers. London: Phaidon Press, 1998: 132-33 (photo), 143 (caption). Thanks to Sebastio Salgado for providing free use of his photographs and captions on this web site. For further information about the photographs and captions contact


November 2002

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Compiled by Else R P Vieira. Translation © Thomas Burns.

Encampment, Camp
‘A space for struggle and resistance created during the occupation of land. It may be located in a part of a landed-estate, at the side of the road, or in front of buildings belonging to the government. The encampment is the form in which the Sem Terra reveal their problems to the public; in this way, it is also a form of pressure to speed up negotiations of Sem Terra demands’(Fernandes, Bernardo Mançano. Pequeno Vocabulário da Luta pela Terra. Unpublished). See also SETTLEMENT and TERRITORIALIZATION. 

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