By Alfredo Acedo | 20 / July / 2015
The CIP Americas Program has been accompanying the grassroots movement of campesinos, indigenous communities, consumers and scientists to maintain the ban on genetically modified corn for over a decade. The pushback from Monsanto and other biotech companies has been constant, but cross-sector organization has succeeded in protecting Mexico’s native corn and campesino livelihoods from the threat. This report describes the latest developments.
Twenty-two months ago, Mexico became a GM maize-free territory, when a Federal Judge issued the precautionary measure that suspended authorizations to plant any genetically modified seeds of this grain, a staple food in the country, essential to its culture.
The temporary suspension reinstated in fact the moratorium on GM maize that had been breached by the federal government in 2009, when it started approving the growth of GM crops in experimental and pilot stages, continuing to do so until 2013. In September that year, just as Monsanto and other multinational corporations turned commercial planting up a notch, the precautionary measure was issued in response to the collective lawsuit filed by a group of organizations and citizens advocating for the human right to biodiversity and a healthy environment.
On July 5 last, the collective lawsuit that stopped GM maize from being planted in the center of corn origin and diversity entered its second year after a number of outstanding victories: the collective presenting the legal actions was granted favorable ruling in all 22 appeals and other contestations, which amount to nearly a hundred of legal remedies used by the government and multinational corporations.
The evil duo is not happy. Unspeakable excesses have been undertaken by the federal government: the legal system (financed with tax money) was put to the service of corporations to argue in favor of GM maize, against the national interest. It went as far as hiding information affecting the interests of multinational corporations in the trial.
has reached the courts of the judiciary, claiming that its transgenic technology reduces the use of pesticides and increases the productivity of crops for the benefit of farmers. Several studies reviewed during trial show just the opposite. The defendants are compelled to show that not planting GM maize is more harmful than planting it. Failure to do so means the precautionary measure will remain in force.