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Landless Brazilians To Get Aid

July 5, 2000

SAO PAULO, Brazil (AP) _ The government has set aside more than $1 billion for land reforms, including resettlement for 260,000 families of landless farmers in an apparent effort to defuse growing rural unrest.

The government said the money will be used to build homes for landless farmers by 2002 and for health, electrification, farm credit and education programs.

The reforms were announced after a meeting Monday by President Fernando Henrique Cardoso and leaders of the Landless Rural Workers Movement.

In return, Movement leader Gilberto Portes said his organization would not occupy any land for at least 20 days.

The group has occupied land it considers underused or unproductive as a way to pressure the government to speed up land reform.

The army has even deployed troops near the president’s ranch in east-central Brazil after about 400 Movement farmers said they planned to march into the property.

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