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By Gerardo Iglesias
One of the most recent chapters in this fight occurred in India, where a scientific commission appointed by the Supreme Court of Justice, state governments and parliaments, and even the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Agriculture have spoken out against the release of genetically modified crops. .
Monsanto against free eggplant and the world heritage Aubergine is one of the staple foods in India, and it was in that country that transgenic eggplant tried to be introduced by Mahyco, the local subsidiary of Monsanto, owner of the patent for that culture. But the widespread opposition it raised prompted the transnationals to adopt Plan B.
"If India doesn't want to, it doesn't matter - Monsanto managers reflected - let's cross the border into Bangladesh." And they did. This country has just announced with great fanfare the liberation of the cultivation of the so-called
“Bt Eggplant” - the same variety rejected in India - that contains a gene from bacillus thuringiensis that provides resistance to two endemic insects in the region. It does not matter if Bangladesh has so far 100 different varieties of eggplant, and that the region is the center of origin of this plant. Chitra Devi, a scientist from the National Bureau of Plant Genetic Resources of India, reported that “The structure of the eggplant flower favors a rapid process of cross-pollination. For this reason, contamination with genes from the bacteria incorporated into the transgenic eggplant would be rapid and irreversible ”.
The accomplished fact. The same strategy that Monsanto used in Latin America to impose its transgenic soybeans from Argentina, where it managed to install a headquarters for the region almost two decades ago.
From then on, tons of transgenic soybeans were smuggled into Brazil and other neighboring countries, until releasing their crop was simply adjusting the norm to what was already a reality. Today many social organizations remember that in this same way, smuggled from Bangladesh, transgenic cotton ended up entering and imposing itself in India, which is currently spread throughout the country.
You can't, you don't know, you don't care. From peasants to criminals But there are other places where Monsanto and the other food corporations have instruments - laws and governments - much more “friendly” than that of India, even more subdued than that of Bangladesh.
Colombia signed a Free Trade Agreement with the United States. Obeying the commitments acquired in that act, the government approved the so-called Resolution 970 according to which no seed of any crop may be sold, not even exchanged or used in Colombian territory that has not previously been certified, obviously, by the structures themselves of the government subject to NAFTA and the corporations.
Scandalously, tons of Creole seeds have already been seized from small and medium farmers who oppose this regulation, cornering them so that they must use transgenic seeds approved en masse and with eyes closed by the government.
The recent Colombian National Agrarian Strike of last August managed to shake the government that had no choice but to promise to "freeze" Resolution 970. Just a few months later it is promoting a new text that peasants and trade unionists consider "even worse than the previous one" .
The first question is: does anyone doubt that the goal of the corporations in Colombia is to impose an agricultural model in which a few transnationals monopolize the production of basic foods?
The second is: does anyone doubt that disseminating this model on a planetary scale is the next goal?
The third: will they succeed?