From Mexico to India: Monsanto is killing more than just biodiversity
In late April, world renowned Indian ‘seed activist’ Vandana Shiva travelled to the southern Mexican state of Oaxaca to join a gathering of Mexican farmers, indigenous leaders and environmentalists, fighting to protect Mexico’s native corn crops against the imposition of genetically modified alternatives.
Once again, people have raised their voices against transgenic maize, this time during a session of the Permanent People's Tribunal in Oaxaca. Over five hundred people came from various indigenous regions across the country as well as from social and civil society organizations to accuse the Mexican government of responsibility for the transgenic contamination of native maize, in complicity with the transnational seed corporations. The people demanded the government prevent the commercial planting of GM maize in the north of the country.
Peasants from the National Union of Autonomous Regional Peasant Organizations (UNORCA), a member of Via Campesina, have taken non-violent social protest to its ultimate level: they've initiated a hunger strike.
Zapatistas can still change the rules of Mexico's politics
A mass silent protest in Chiapas shows the indigenous movement remains a formidable political force
Luis Hernández Navarro
guardian.co.uk, Monday 31 December 2012 11.10 GMT
Mexico's Zapatista rebels, led by Subcomandante Marcos, have broad support among indigenous communities in the state of Chiapas. Photograph: Daniel Aguilar/Reuters
Mexico remains in red alert following the ambitious attempts of Monsanto and other multinationals to win government approval for the planting of 2.5 million hectares of transgenic corn in the crop’s center of origin. The solicitation calls for planting more than half of these acres with the same type of corn that has been shown to cause cancer in rats. But resistance is also growing stronger day by day—both inside and outside of Mexico, voices are rising in indignation at this outrage against the very heart of our cultures, health, food, biodiversity and nature.
While the scientists the Committee for Independent Research and Information on Genetic Engineering (CRIIGEN, by its initials in French) alert the world about the tumors, hepatorenal damage, premature aging, reproductive system disorders and anomalies recorded in rats fed transgenic maize (Silvia Ribeiro, La Jornada, 6/10/12), Monsanto is rushing to make good on its deal with President Felipe Calderon,to green-light the planting of transgenic maize in Mexico before the end of his term.
ABSTRACT. Rural social movements have in recent years adopted agroecology and diversified farming systems as part of their discourse and practice. Here, we situate this phenomenon in the evolving context of rural spaces that are increasingly disputed between agribusiness, together with other corporate land-grabbers, and peasants and their organizations and movements. We use the theoretical frameworks of disputed material and immaterial territories and of re-peasantization to explain the increased emphasis on agroecology by movements in this context.
The Law on Biosafety and Genetically Modified Organisms Act, popularly known as Monsanto’s Law, was an expression of the lack of political will in Congress to prohibit the planting of transgenic corn in Mexico, despite being the center of the crop’s origin and diversity. A crucial piece of the law was missing, however--the official determination of centers of origin and diversity.
In the neoliberal era, the majority of laws have been written or modified to eliminate individual and collective rights and further the interests of corporations. Such is the case in the reform of Article 27, and the laws regarding water, minerals, seeds, biosecurity, and, unfortunately, also the Agricultural Bill for the Promotion and Protection of Corn as Cultural Legacy, in its Diversity and as Food (Ley Agrícola de Fomento y Protección al Maíz como Patrimonio Originario, en Diversificación Constante y Alimentario), in the state of Tlaxcala.