spiritual question, answered together.” The work is harder today because “we can’t reach these two things, only the one.” One benefit of the weakened relationship with the Church has been that the CPT now can work with “all publics,” not just Catholics, and in fact they are officially allied with some other churches, such as Methodists. However, reaching a wider group of people also exacerbates the difficulty of “reaching the two questions,” in that they can’t deal with spirituality when working with other religious groups. It’s also more difficult in general to work “with the bases,” where the Church once had a strong presence, because they lack the same access to those communities. Having the Church officially on board gave more credibility and access to the CPT.
Regarding all these changes, the CPT interviewees spoke to a duality in positive and negative effects. On one hand, they admitted they do have greater difficulty than they once did, and a lowered capacity in reaching out to the same spectrum of society that they once worked with. Church support strengthened them a lot in the past because of its capacity to organize and mobilize society, to talk with a wide range of people and connect with them. On the other hand, CPT leaders insist that they do not need Church support to do the work they want to do, and the lack of Church presence is not a “barrier” to them. One leader pointed out that people in the communities in and around Marabá lack many government rights and resources, and are actively looking for an organization to help them. The CPT has been in the area for 35 years now, and there is apparently a general awareness of them amongst the local communities; that does not mean it is always easy for workers and people with problems to get to the CPT office and ask for help, but they know the CPT is available.
The current relationship between the CPT and social movements in the area
The movement leaders who were interviewed made it clear that the CPT has had and still has an important role in their work. The MST leader said that the MST only arrived in the southern Pará region in the late 1980s, and the groundwork already laid by the CPT was important in allowing the MST to begin its organizing. Although she made clear that the MST has always worked autonomously, today that level of autonomy from the Church is higher than it was in the past. The CPT’s role is mainly juridical, advising the MST on how to take advantage of current law structures that may affect their work. The CPT and the MST are also linked through participation in La Via Campesina, an “international peasant movement” (according to their website) that in Brazil networks between lots of people’s rights groups, including indigenous and quilombola groups. This connection provides a way to discuss national strategy and talk about changes in the Brazilian state that affect all movements. Finally, the MST leader mentioned the CPT’s role of publicizing different events that happen in the region, especially land conflicts.
The president of the Rural Workers’ Union (STR) in Rondón spoke more strongly of the CPT’s crucial
role in their work, and actually made a point that they are not merely a form of juridical assistance, but a Sharp 13