dorset chiapas solidarity

October 1, 2015

Mexico’s National Day of Corn Strengthens Citizen Resolve to Keep Mexico Free of GM Corn – Greenpeace

Filed under: Maize — Tags: — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 6:49 pm


Mexico’s National Day of Corn Strengthens Citizen Resolve to Keep Mexico Free of GM Corn – Greenpeace

Photo: Greenpeace-Mexico

Photo: Greenpeace-Mexico

Aristegui Noticias: Greenpeace Mexico commemorated September 29—National Day of Corn—by intensifying its campaign of signatures calling on Mexico’s Courts to ban the cultivation of genetically modified corn.

On Tuesday, various artists and members of the organization gathered at the Federal Judiciary Building … to ask the Mexican justice system to prevent the cultivation of GM corn crops in our territory. A communiqué [released by Greenpeace] reported: “Currently, the planting of GM corn in Mexico is suspended, thanks to the class action lawsuit filed by 53 scientists, intellectuals, farmers, artists, activists, and 22 civil society organizations that have put up a strong legal battle.”

Singer Rubén Albarrán, actress Julieta Egurrola and actor Héctor Bonilla [photo, left], together with Greenpeace activists and volunteers, took part in forming a human ear of corn [photo, right] to show that we are many who defend our corn. They reported: “In the coming days, Mexican courts will decide definitively whether to allow or prohibit the planting of GM corn in our country. Up to now, for more than 20 years, we have prevented its authorization, and we are confident that if we continue relying on your support, we will definitely succeed!”

Sandra Laso, head of the Healthy Eating Campaign, Tierra Sana [Healthy Earth], at Greenpeace, stressed that since Mexico is the site of origin of 59 corn species and their varieties, the federal courts must protect this grain. Hence, she asked to take into account all the scientific arguments brought by the Collectivity of Corn in order to determine the future of this seed, considering its relevance at the cultural level and that it is now [and has always been] a staple of the Mexican diet.

Monsanto Wants to Sow GMOs

José Antonio Tiburcio, director of Monsanto’s Agricultural Transformation programme, reported that in one decade, starting in 2014, they have the objective of producing modernized [GM] corn in one million hectares in the south-southeast region of the country on behalf of 6,000 thousand producers.

He said that the project began last year and so far reports an annual investment of 1.5 million USD, so technical personnel sponsored by Monsanto might support the entire process understood as ranging from planting to the marketing of the [GM] corn.

Tiburcio recounted that in the United States 80% of corn produced is genetically modified; therefore, 80% of the corn that Mexico imports from the northern neighbour is also genetically engineered.

Day of Corn became one of gratitude to farmers who continue sowing

Angélica Enciso L.

La Jornada, 30th September 2015


La Jornada, 30th September 2015

The National Day of Corn grew out of gratitude to the farmers who continue planting native corns. The heart of the celebration were ears of corn in many colours, messages and ceremonies in indigenous languages, and the tasting of tamales and corn in the Botanical Garden at the National Autonomous University of Mexico [UNAM].

Chef Enrique Olvera, recognized a few days ago for his culinary career [Chefs’ Choice Award, awarded by vote of chefs in Latin America’s 50 Best Restaurants], explained that in the course of his work, he chats with his customers about different corns, as if they were wine. Speaking to dozens of peasant farmers who took part in the celebration, he said:

“We talk about the harvest, about the region, about the producer. It is the best way of paying tribute to you.”

Chef Enrique added that we must stop talking about the tortilla as a commonplace, as a vehicle for eating a taco or as something simple, and begin “valuing it, seeing the importance and diversity that the corns have for making the tortilla, the ones best for making pinole [corn beverage], for preparing pozole [corn soup], for using corns in the best way.”

Mexican cuisine is a collective effort, we rely on you: “Each corn expresses a territory. In each one we find a different flavour.”

Speaking in the face of the latent threat of sowing GM corn in Mexico, Chef Enrique added: “I would like to thank everyone who has taken part in this struggle. We are part of this community. We will raise our voices when necessary.”

The celebration began with dances and rituals, with a ceremony in Nahuatl symbolizing gratitude for the [just-concluded corn] harvest. Then came the messages, like the one from Cristina Barros with the campaign Without Corn There Is No Country [Sin maíz, no hay país], who pointed out the commitment of the people who work in the countryside, “dedicated to planting our corns, they are coping with climate change with our own corn and seeking strategies” with the corn [hand-breeding new varieties]; such knowledge would be impossible if corn is privatized.

Adelita San Vicente, director of Seeds of Life [Semillas de Vida], argued that this Day of Corn, under the slogan, “Let’s shuck the violence, Stop the agricidio [murder of agriculture]: Let’s fight for indigenous and peasant farming as an alternative civilization”, and she supports calling for “tending the cornfield in order to defend this way of life.”

Greenpeace activists and the actors Julieta Egurrola and Héctor Bonilla demanded that the corn be protected and that Mexicans’ pleas be heard asking for healthy, GMO-free, food.

At the end of the ceremony, activists positioned themselves on the steps of the building to form an ear of corn, and they unfurled a banner with the message:

United for a Mexico Without GMOs“.


Translated by Jane Brundage




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