dorset chiapas solidarity

April 30, 2013

Mexico: Permanent Peoples’ Tribunal Hears Campesinos’ Case Against Government Embrace of Neoliberalism

Filed under: Uncategorized — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 6:34 pm

Mexico: Permanent Peoples’ Tribunal Hears Campesinos’ Case Against Government Embrace of Neoliberalism

La Jornada: Gustavo Esteva

maiz in the marketWe accuse the government of Mexico.

We do not accuse it in the Mexican courts, which are complicit in the crimes that have gone to unprecedented extremes of moral and professional degradation. We accuse it before the most important court, the court of national and international opinion, through the most prestigious of the world’s moral courts, the Permanent Peoples’ Tribunal.

We accuse the government of many things: there are seven ongoing investigations. But at the preliminary hearing held in Oaxaca this weekend, we accused it the government of crimes related to corn and food sovereignty.

Vandana Shiva was the honour witness of a very well-attended event, where simple campesinos and indigenous people from different states sat side by side with prominent specialists. They presented cases and testimony of the crimes that are the subject of the indictment. Camila Montesinos of Chile, and Joel Aquino and Gustavo Esteva of Oaxaca were the adjudicators of this pre-hearing which is one more of the steps that are being taken to reach the formal hearing before the Permanent Peoples’ Tribunal.

The report accurately collected what was presented in the preliminary hearing and made some specific recommendations. “Enrique Peña Nieto and his officials”–stated the report–“are not legally responsible for the series of crimes committed over sixty years. But they are morally and politically responsible, because it was their party [PRI] that committed them. Now we are not only reporting the continuation of this anti-campesino orientation, but that the current administration is deepening it.”

One of the witnesses stated: “Now programmes are no longer established with the front of supporting the countryside but that would only benefit agribusiness enterprises friendly with senior officials. They do not try to fool us by giving us supposedly nutritious food, because we know that all they seek is to strip us of the foods that we produce locally.”

This deals very concretely with one of the programmes of the new administration. Its campaign against hunger is not actually aimed against this old enemy of humanity that reappears among us. It is one more campaign against the campesinos. One of the cases presented stated: “We denounce the cynicism, irresponsibility and perversity with which government institutions have addressed the problem. The men and women of Oaxaca are planting our corn even against a system that wants to end the Oaxaca and Mexican countryside.”

It is a very solid argument. One of the most serious crimes that the Mexican governments have committed is to insist on eliminating the campesinos. The invasion of transgenics is part of that strategy.

At the preliminary hearing, the fallacy that transgenic corn offers advantages to the campesinos or to the country and can be used to fight hunger was fundamentally and solidly dismantled. It is the opposite. If the entire country remains contaminated with transgenics, the maize production would fall. By their very nature, the transgenics decrease production.

The purpose is quite different: to deliver to private corporations the national seed market, which represents a multi-billion dollar business. Moreover, by controlling agriculture, they destroy the foundations of the autonomy of the peoples. This operation would have catastrophic effects on all aspects of national life. Even the cuisine would be affected: a good part of the corn-based dishes consumed by Mexicans can only be prepared with native corn.

Read the evening of Saturday, April 27, the opinion leaves no doubt. The body of the crime exists, the matter will be judged. And there are culprits: besides pointing generally to the responsible institutions, names were given. The judges will have a sound basis for performing their work.

The misuse of power was clearly demonstrated. The public schools have been used to promote private interests. On the one hand, they have been enacting laws that directly benefit corporations and hurt small farmers. On the other hand, they have implemented programs that directly attack all aspects of rural and indigenous life.

There was strong evidence that in addition to all this, they are making arrangements that bypass not only the Constitution and the laws, but international treaties as well–all for the benefit of those private interests.

The holders of the national sovereignty, the Mexican people, made themselves present to show that they [government officials] are violating the very ones whom the Constitution points out [to serve] as guarantors. These serial criminals have committed and continue committing unprecedented and unnamed crimes. Not to stop them now is to make ourselves their accomplices.

Translated by Jane Brundage



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