Latin America Marches Against Monsanto

Jun 1, 2013–On Saturday, hundreds of thousands marched against the US food giant Monsanto, across the globe.In scenes reminiscent of the protests against US-led wars, both in Vietnam during the 1960s and Iraq in 2003, protesters took to the streets in what organisers said to be 436 cities in 52 countries in a ‘March Against Monsanto’.

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Weekly News Update on the Americas
Issue #1178, May 26, 2013

anti-Monsanto demonstration in Argentina

anti-Monsanto demonstration in Argentina

[ISSN#: 1084 922X. Weekly News Update on the Americas covers news from Latin America and the Caribbean, compiled and written from a progressive perspective. It has been published weekly by the Nicaragua Solidarity Network of Greater New York since 1990. It is archived at http://weeklynewsupdate.blogspot.com]

Latin America: Marchers Reject Monsanto, Back Food Sovereignty
According to organizers, hundreds of thousands of environmentalists and other activists participated in marches in 436 cities and 52 countries on May 25 to protest the Missouri-based biotech giant Monsanto Company, whose products include genetically modified (GM) seeds and the glyphosate-based herbicide Roundup. The global March Against Monsanto generated events in countries including Australia, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Spain, the UK and the US. (La Jornada (Mexico) 5/26/13, some from AFP, Prensa Latina)

A few dozen Argentines reportedly protested in front of Monsanto’s Buenos Aires offices on May 25, and protests were planned for Tucumán, Mendoza, Rosario, Misiones and Calafate. One of Argentina’s largest protests took place two days earlier, on May 23, when hundreds of residents marched in Córdoba City, the capital of the central province of Córdoba. Malvinas Argentinas, a working-class suburb located 14 km from the provincial capital, is the site Monsanto has picked for its largest facility in Latin America [see Update #1166], and the company is also building an experimental station in Río Cuarto in the same province. “Monsanto out of Malvinas Argentinas, Córdoba and Latin America” is a popular slogan in the Córdoba metropolitan area, where residents blame fumigation with agricultural chemicals for cancer, respiratory diseases and deformed fetuses. At the May 23 march the Malvinas Struggles Assembly called for a popular consultation on the construction of the plant. According to a recent poll by researchers from local universities, nine out of 10 Malvinas Argentinas residents want a vote and 58% of them oppose the construction. Continue reading

Brazil: 5 Million Farmers file lawsuit, ask courts for justice against Monsanto

Five million Brazilian farmers take on biotech giant Monsanto

, TNN | Jun 12, 2012

NEW DELHI: Five million Brazilian farmers have taken on US based biotech company Monsantothrough a lawsuit demanding return of about 6.2 billion euros taken as royalties from them. The farmers are claiming that the powerful company has unfairly extracted these royalties from poor farmers because they were using seeds produced from crops grown from Monsanto’s genetically engineered seeds, reports Merco Press.In April this year, a judge in the southern Brazilian state of Rio Grande do Sul, ruled in favor of the farmers and ordered Monsanto to return royalties paid since 2004 or a minimum of $2 billion. The ruling said that the business practices of seed multinational Monsanto violate the rules of the Brazilian Cultivars Act (No. 9.456/97). Monsanto has appealed against the order and a federal court ruling on the case is now expected by 2014. Continue reading

Don’t Put Monsanto in Charge of Ending Hunger in Africa

Kenyan farmer at protest of Monsanto genetically modified corn

by Common Dreams     May 22, 2012

Written by Yifat Susskind

This past weekend, President Obama hid out from protesters at Camp David. He was hosting the leaders of the world’s eight wealthiest economies, known as the G8. As they readied to meet, on Friday, Obama put forward his New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition.

This occasion gave Rajiv Shah, the administrator of the US Agency for International Development, the chance to make an astonishing statement:

“We are never going to end hunger in Africa without private investment. There are things that only companies can do, like building silos for storage and developing seeds and fertilizers.”

That’s news to millions of women farmers in Africa. Their harvests feed their families and generate income that sustains local economies. For generations, they have been doing just those things: storing their harvests, protecting and developing seeds, using natural fertilizers. Continue reading

Obama has a Monsanto plan for Africa: (Beware of Genetic Engineers Bearing Gifts)

How the US Sold Africa to Multinationals Like Monsanto, Cargill, DuPont, PepsiCo and Others

The G8 scheme does nothing to address the problems that are at the core of hunger and malnutrition but will serve only to further poverty and inequality.
May 23, 2012

[Photo Credit: michaeljung via Shutterstock.com]

Driving through Ngong Hills, not far from Nairobi, Kenya, the corn on one side of the road is stunted and diseased. The farmer will not harvest a crop this year. On the other side of the road, the farmer gave up growing corn and erected a greenhouse, probably for growing a high-value crop like tomatoes. Though it’s an expensive investment, agriculture consultants now recommend them. Just up the road, at a home run by Kenya Children of Hope, an organization that helps rehabilitate street children and reunite them with their families, one finds another failed corn crop and another greenhouse. The director, Charity, is frustrated because the two acres must feed the rescued children and earn money for the organization. After two tomato crops failed in the new greenhouse, her consultant recommended using a banned, toxic pesticide called carbofuran.

Will Obama’s New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition help farmers like Charity? The New Alliance was announced in conjunction with the G8 meeting last Friday. Under the scheme, some 45 corporations, including Monsanto, Syngenta, Yara International, Cargill, DuPont, and PepsiCo, have pledged a total of $3.5 billion in investment in Africa. The full list of corporations and commitments has just been released, and one of the most notable is Yara International’s promise to build a $2 billion fertilizer plant in Africa. Syngenta pledged to build a $1 billion business in Africa over the next decade. These promises are not charity; they are business.

This is par for the course for the attempted “second green revolution” that is currently underway. The Gates Foundation and its Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa are working to build up a network of private seed companies and private agro-dealers across Africa. The goal is to increase average fertilizer use in Africa by more than a factor of six and to decrease the distance each African farmer must travel to reach a shop selling seeds and inputs. Those who support this vision have heaped praise on Obama and the G8’s New Alliance. In fact, with both Republican and Democratic support, this is one of the only things both parties agree on.

But what do actual Africans think? Not just the elite, but the peasant farmers? Charity, for her part, is frustrated. Continue reading

GMO Crop Sabotage On The Rise: French Citizens Destroy Trial Vineyard

Voluntary Reaper Jose Bove, left, joins protesters in pulling up a genetically modified corn crop.

By Rady Ananda

17 August, 2010
Countercurrents.org

Early Sunday morning, French police stood helpless as sixty people, locked inside an open-air field of genetically modified grapevines, uprooted all the plants.  In Spain last month, dozens of people destroyed two GMO fields. On the millennial cusp, Indian farmers burned Bt cotton in their Cremate Monsanto campaign. Ignored by multinational corporations and corrupt public policy makers, citizens act to protect the food supply and the planet.

The French vineyard is the same field attacked last year when the plants were only cut. But the security features installed after that incident kept authorities at bay while the group accomplished its mission yesterday.

Speaking for the group, Olivier Florent told Le Figero that they condemned the use of public funds for open-field testing of GMOs “that we do not want.”

Pitching tents in the rain near France’s National Institute for Agronomic Research (INRA) site in Colmar the night before, the group waited until 5 AM before converging on the site and locking the gates behind them. They uprooted all 70 plants, then submitted to arrest. Continue reading

Haitian Farmers Reject Monsanto Earthquake Relief Donation and Burn GMO Seeds

by: Tony Isaacs, citizen journalist

NaturalNews Monday, July 19, 2010

In an attempt to backdoor GMO seeds into a new market, Monsanto has taken the opportunity to donate hundreds of tons of GMO seeds to Haiti and is calling it an effort to help the people in Haiti with earthquake relief. However, Monsanto’s “generosity” is being met with skepticism and outright rejection.

Recently, a large group of small farmers burned a symbolic quantity of Monsanto’s donated hybrid corn seed in the central square of the agricultural town of Hinche. A 200,000-member national coalition is encouraging Haiti farmers to burn all Monsanto seeds that have already been distributed, and has called on the government to reject additional shipments.

Peasant leader Chavannes Jean-Baptiste told IPS News: Farmers want to preserve their traditional “organic agriculture that respects the environment and fights against its degradation. We defend native seeds and the rights of peasants on their land.” Jean-Batiste also said “Fighting hybrid and GMO seeds is critical to save our diversity and our agriculture” and maintained that a “county has a right to define it own agricultural policies, to grow first for the family and then for local market, to grow healthy food in a way which respects the environment and Mother Earth.” Continue reading