Argentina Protesters Face Off With Monsanto
Photo from Natural Blaze
We are sitting on the sidelines watching the goings on in Argentina with great interest.
As you know, the Argentines elected to remove the Peronistas from the Pink House (Argentina’s colorful version of the White House) and ensconce an experienced business man, Mauricio Macri, in the top political position. Cristina Kirschner’s group was dispossessed of power this past November, at least temporarily and Argentina appears to have embarked on a new era.
Since then there have been quite a few changes as we reported HERE. But to our observation it gets even better.
As you know, Four Flags Journal is no friend of Monsanto, the world’s largest producer of genetically modified food, GMO seeds and insecticide. We are not alone in Argentina. A number of people here feel the same. And not without reason. In one area of Argentina, where the farms raise a lot of GM soy, the people who live there are twice as likely to die of cancer as elsewhere in the country. In Brazil, workers in the GMO fields are reported with disrupted DNA and liver and kidney damage. We ourselves have seen the photographs of the rats, fed genetically modified grains, with such huge tumors they could hardly drag them around. Meanwhile, of course, Monsanto claims their food is safe.
We don’t believe it.
In addition to this corporation’s aggressiveness in imposing themselves on one country after another, marketing their GMO products, they are also aggressively prosecuting farmers in the U.S. When their own genetically modified field, all uninvited, has pollinated another farmer’s standard, old-fashioned style crop, they have sued the farmers for royalties for stealing their seed–and the judge ruled in Monsanto’s favor. Hard to believe but it has happened more than once.
But they aren’t in Kansas now.
We have to smile, knowing the Argentina people as we do. Dealing with Argentines is quite a different story. Argentines have a mind of their own and are not so easily controlled. These farmers have saved seeds from their own fields for generations, using the saved seeds to replant the next crop. When you buy Monsanto seeds you aren’t supposed to save the seed. They are the property of Monsanto.
Oh yeah? Try explaining that to an Argentina farmer. They saved and replanted the seeds and Monsanto wanted their royalties. Farmers didn’t see how they deserved it. They didn’t buy these seeds from Monsanto. They produced them themselves.
Sometimes the farmers even sell the saved seed to each other. Try telling them that Monsanto deserves to be paid for those seeds.
It’s been a battle. The sitting president at the time, Christina Kirschner, probably Monsanto’s biggest asset in Argentina, agreed to have a government bureaucrat check all the soybeans at the port to be sure Monsanto was paid royalties for all rogue soybeans..
But the new President Macri doesn’t see it the same. The soybeans no longer are required to be examined for Monsanto’s DNA at the port.
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Add to that the fact that Monsanto had set out to build a multi-million dollar seed plant in Malvinas, a town near Cordoba, Argentina. For three continuous, non-stop years now the Argentina people have been protesting that plant. And in Argentina a protest is a protest. It isn’t just people holding signs.. Argentines have perfected protesting from generations of practice. They’re experts and they’re fearless. They will not hesitate to burn tires on the highway or to park farm equipment there to block traffic. Now this doesn’t happen every day by a long ways, but if they get out of shape enough, it sure will. This week Monsanto decided to give up and dismantle and remove the seed plant. There have been protesters there from all over Argentina and for three years they’ve been unable to proceed with any part of the project. Following is a quote from one of the leaders of the protest blockade as reported in Natural Blaze by Brandon Turbeville,
“Sofia Gatica, one of the main activists and leaders of the protest blockade in Malvinas told InfOGM,It’s been almost three years that Monsanto has not been able to put a brick or a wire at the construction site… The company is leaving the field but does not yet recognize its defeat in this battle. We talked with those who have to dismantle what remains. We remain on alert and continue blocking, waiting to see what will happen. We want the site to now be devoted to organic and sustainable agriculture.”
These people have maintained the same goal for three years, while being ignored completely by the departing President Kirschner. But how sweet is success when it comes. Although the opposition to Monsanto still only includes a relatively small group compared to the population of Argentina, still there is a large and growing interest in healthy and organic food here in the country. We are so pleased to see people becoming more health conscious around the world. Country after country is rejecting genetically modified products. We find it sad that children have to be born with birth defects and people have to die before it changes but the important thing is that it does change. Russia was one of the most recent to opt for natural rather than GM food. The Russian president even announced their goal of becoming completely organic and the largest exporter of organic food in the world. Other countries have been reported as moving in that direction. For those of you who are following news about genetically modified activists, InfoGM is a good resource. It is written in French but on the top left if you click the British flag it will translate to English for you.
Are we proud of the people of Argentina? You bet we are! We are cheering for Argentina!
Note to subscribers: If you are in the Buenos Aires area and are taking the Inbox Empire course and working to build an online magazine, there is a small group of us meeting weekly to discuss projects, exchange ideas, offer encouragement and–of course–drink coffee and you are welcome. For time and location contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org