In just over a week 2.4 million hectares of GM-maize is due to be approved in Mexico for planting this December. This is an area the size of Luxemburg, and the maize is destined for human consumption in Mexico, where it is consumed as a staple, as well as for export. Mexico is, of course, the centre of origin of maize, and maize is one of the major crops worldwide.
The Mexican peasant coalition ANAAA - a network in which many peasant and seed groups are active in Mexico - are asking organisations from around the world to express their support for their opposition to the commercialisation of GM maize in Mexico. Your organisation can sign on through Miriam Boyer <miriam.boyerATyahoo.de>.
ANAAA - Asamblea Nacional de Afectados Ambientales
San Francisco Cherán K’eri, Michoacán
November 11, 2012
A Situation of National Emergency:
Genetically-Modified Maize is about to Poison our Food
We denounce the fact that the transnational companies, Monsanto, Pioneer-Dupont, Syngenta, and others, acting jointly with the Mexican government of Felipe Calderón, are preparing a massive attack in the centre of origin of maize, the heart of the cultures and food of the Mexican peoples. They are planning to authorize millions of hectares of genetically-modified maize for commercial planting, consumption and export. Genetically-modified maize is a demonstrated cause of cancer and many other health problems. This is an attempt to massively poison cities, towns, and all of our food that is based on maize.
Monsanto and Pioneer have requested permission to sow 2.4 million hectares of maize in the states of Sinaloa and Tamaulipas, the origin of the majority of maize that we consume daily as tortillas and other foods in Mexican cities. This is also the origin of the maize that is bought by Diconsa [subsidized food programs] for distribution throughout the country. If, as sought, the authorization for December planting takes place, within the next six months, all of us, children, women, and men in the urban areas of Mexico, will be eating poisoned tortillas.
The situation is also an imposition upon the farmers of the states of Sinaloa and Tamaulipas who will have no choice but to buy the seeds that they are sold by these companies. We declare our solidarity with the producers of Sinaloa who have spoken out against this imposition.
In order to continue making profits at the cost of illness, transnational companies who own and commercialize genetically-modified crops claim that there are no hazards to our health. Yet in October 2012 scientists in France carried out a study over two years, showing that the gene known as NK603 is the cause of cancer, premature death and damage to the liver and kidneys of rats. This is exactly the same genetically-modified maize variety that Monsanto and Pioneer want to plant freely in the north of our country.
These are not speculations by activists, but scientific investigations. In the study, problems began in the fourth month and continued until the end of the lives of the rats. While the French study lasted two years, Monsanto has carried out similar studies for only three months. The results of the new study suggest why Monsanto ended their tests of genetically-modified crops after only three months.
Whether these crops are authorized by the present government of Felipe Calderón or by the incoming government of Enrique Peña Nieto, it will be a betrayal to the people and the heart of Mexico. It will also be the largest cultivated area genetically-modified maize in its centre of origin, putting at risk one of the four most important grains for the food of all humanity.
We are in a situation of a NATIONAL EMERGENCY, with a threat against the health and food of all Mexicans, a threat against seeds and against peasant and indigenous ways of life. If we do not organize to stop this initiative and resist the imposition if it takes place, the people of the largest cities in Mexico will have no other choice for obtaining food.
It is urgent to achieve the massive mobilization of all in order to stop this attack and to defend our health and that of our children, who will face cancer as a result of eating genetically-modified maize throughout their lives.
We call out for new kinds of mobilizations, requiring the urgent, direct, and massive circulation of information regarding the seriousness of the problem, in every corner of Mexico, Central America and indeed, throughout the world.
We call out to the democratic teachers' unions in Mexico, asking that they learn about this problem and that they teach about the risks of genetically-modified food in all schools.
We call out to students and young people, asking that they mobilize among their groups and social networks against this situation of national emergency and national alert.
We call out to all urban dwellers in Mexico, to all the farming and indigenous peoples of Mexico and to all those who, throughout the globe, want to continue eating maize. We call upon you to develop creative and diverse forms of actions in order to denounce and stop this attack on behalf of transnational companies for the control of all of our foodstuffs, companies who do not care about the toxicity of this food.
Each of us should call out for a wide diversity of actions. We must all mobilize and we must do so constantly.
The community of Cherán K´eri, the host of this assembly, is an example to all of us of resistance and autonomy. This autonomy was built around the woodstoves and peasant maize that which the women of this community have cooked during this assembly.
From the 8th Assembly of the Environmentally Affected (ANAA), gathered in the community of Cherán K´eri in November 2012, we declare our solidarity with the efforts being carried out by the Network in Defense of Maize, a member of ANAA. We:
Demand that the Mexican government does not approve the requests for planting genetically-modified maize and that they prohibit the planting of any other genetically-modified crops throughout Mexican territory. We agree to:
- Urgently form brigades, workshops, and actions to inform our communities
- save our seeds and to strengthen seed exchange and saving networks between cities and rural areas in order to help each other and to stop eating genetically-modified, poisoned food
- That the organizations and communities and collectives that are members of ANAA carry out decisions in their community assemblies in order to send written messages to the government, demanding the prohibition of transgenic maize
- The situation is extremely serious. We are angry and we are outraged. We cannot allow that we be poisoned.
NO TO GENETICALLY-MODIFIED MAIZE!
NO TO GENTICALLY-MODIFIED FOOD!
NO TO POISONOUS TORTILLAS!
WE CONDEMN AS TRAITORS TO OUR COUNTRY ALL GOVERNMENT INSTANCES WHO ARE ACCOMPLICES IN THIS ATTACK