March 27, 2002
Sustainable Agriculture Network Discussion Group
Please join us for the week of actions in the Continental Campaign and Protest Against Genetically Engineered Corn from April 10-17, 2002.
Farmer, environmental, indigenous, and consumer groups will stage protests and hold press conferences across North and South America the week of April 10-17 -- launching a Continental Campaign Against Genetically Engineered Corn (Campana Continental Contra el Mai'z Transge'nico).
Mexico, the center of origin and diversity of corn, has been "contaminated" by Genetically Engineered varieties of corn. The genetic contamination of Mexican native corn varieties threatens not only the genetic integrity of corn, one of the world's most important basic crops, but the food security for millions in the Americas.
The entrance of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) in 1994 has provoked the widespread economic displacement of local farming communities and the genetic erosion of corn resulting from the "dumping" or sale of corn under the price of production. Corporate control basic grains, patented seeds and chemical inputs like fertilizers is undermining food sovereignty and threatening biodiversity. In Mexico, the hardest hit are indigenous campesinos or farmers who account for the vast majority of Mexican corn producers. Although the source of contamination of native Mexican corn varieties is unknown, most evidence leads to the some 6 million tons of corn exported each year to Mexico from the United States.
35-40% of the corn planted in the United States is Genetically Engineered. Rural and urban activists throughout the Americas will call on grain exporters, the biotech industry, and the US and Canadian governments to stop dumping untested and unlabeled genetically engineered corn on Mexico and other nations, where irreplaceable corn varieties are being damaged by "genetic pollution."
Campaign activists are also demanding that corporations and governments heed the concerns of consumers, North and South, and remove genetically engineered corn and other foods and crops from the market, unless they can be proven to be safe for human health and the environment. Recently hundreds of US consumers have reported allergic reactions to the FDA after eating Kraft and other brand name products likely containing genetically engineered corn. In Mexico researchers have detected widespread contamination of traditional varieties of corn, caused by surreptitious imports of genetically engineered corn into Mexico by grain export giants such as Archer Daniels Midland and Cargill.
On April 10-17, activists in North and South America will dump corn and organize picket lines, protests, press conferences and petitions to government, corporate and supranational organizations. Key demands include:
1) Continental prohibition of Genetically Engineered corn,
2) Stop dumping Genetically Engineered corn on Mexico and other centers of diversity; and
3) Guarantee a fair price to all corn producers, North and South.
Protesters will target US Embassies, Mexican Consulate offices, grain ports, corporate offices (Kraft, Archer Daniels Midland, Cargill, Monsanto) as well as major grain exchanges in Winnipeg, Minneapolis, and Chicago.
1. The Mexican Embassy to stop corn imports from the United States, ratify the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety and, pass Public Health Law 82 requiring labeling for Genetically Modified Organisms.
2. The country delegates at the UN Biodiversity Summit in The Hague, The Netherlands from April 8-19 2002, to propose an immediate moratorium on GM grain shipments to centers of origin, ban all Genetic Use Restriction Technologies or Terminator crops, and ratify the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety in their country of origin.
Me'xico Centro de Investigaciones Econo'micas y Poli'ticas de Accio'n Comunitaria (CIEPAC); Red Mexicana de Accio'n Frente al Libre Comercio (RMALC); Red de Accio'n sobre Plaguicidas y Alternativas en Me'xico (RAPAM); Consejo de Organizaciones de Me'dicos y Pateras Indi'genas Tradicionales de Chiapas (COMPITCH); Desarrollo Econo'mico y Social de los Mexicanos Indi'genas, A. C. (DESMI); Estudiantes Tzeltales de Guaquitepec" Chilo'n, Chiapas; Las Abejas and Centro de Derechos Humanos Tepeyac del Istmo de Tehuantepec. Honduras Coordinacio'n de Organizaciones Populares e Indi'genas de Honduras (COPINH). Guatemala Plataforma por la Vida- Consejo de Investigaciones para el Desarrollo de Centroame'rica Asociacio'n (CIDECA); Fundacio'n para el Desarrollo Educativo Social y Econo'mico (CIEBA); Centro de Estudios de la Frontera Occidental de Guatemala (CEDFOG); Instituto Meso Americano de Permacultura (IMAP); Pastoral Social de la Tierra Huehuetenango; Asociacio'n de Mujeres LEMNA; Mama' Maqui'n; Derechos en Accio'n and Oxfam Australia Brasil Movimiento de los Trabajadores Rurales sin Tierra (MST); MPA; ANMTR; CPT; FEAB and MAB. El Salvador Foro Agropecuario. Haiti' Platfom Ayisyen pu Pledwaya pou yon Devlopman Alternatif (RAPDA). Dominican Republic: Colectivo de Organizaciones Populares. Paraguay Sobrevivenci'a-Friends of the Earth Paraguay. Colombia Organizaciones Indi'gena de Colombia. Ecuador ECUARUNARI. Canada ETC Group and Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace (CCODP). United States: Organic Consumers Association; Global Exchange; Food First; Rights Action; Centro para la Justicia Econo'mica; South West Organizing Project; First Nations North and South; Pesticide Action Network; Center for Food Safety; National Environmental Trust; Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy; State Public Interest Research Groups and Friends of the Earth-US. Continental Networks: La Convergencia de Movimientos de los Pueblos de las Ame'ricas (COMPA), Red de Accio'n en Plaguicidas y sus Alternativas de Ame'rica Latina (RAPAAL)