Michael Weiss:


Today we went on a riverboat and heard a talk about how there is an exploitation of and manipulation of laws by land mafias. This in regards to building new apartments on land that was previously protected under law from being built upon but because of these groups generally ignore the law and sometimes blatantly build illegally. Land is a big issue here because of these kinds of special interest groups and more so because of all the pollution that has been happening as the state modernizes. Near where we were there were 242 factories and 48 of them have heavily polluted the river to the point that the surrounding area does not have fresh drinking water. So in a bit of irony the companies supply the locals with 400 L of fresh water a day because they ruined the water of these poor people. We also met an activist who has been agitating for the last twenty years and he told us about how in regards to the land grabs by the mafias and people being forced off their land. He even cited a case where they helped families get their land and this was a great case of the little people winning against the big evil corporations.