The Fight Continues: GMO Corn Not Yet Banned in Mexico
Contrary to reports, genetically modified (GMO) corn has not been banned in Mexico. On October 10, a Mexican judge from the Twelfth Federal District Court for Civil Matters in Mexico City issued an injunction suspending field trails of GMO corn, however, a complete ban was not ordered.
Federal Judge Jaime Eduardo Verdugo’s ruling does order the halting of “all activities involving the planting of transgenic corn in [Mexico] and ends the granting of permissions for experimental and pilot commercial plantings.”
The order came in response to a class action lawsuit filed on July 5 by Acción Colectiva, a collective of scientists, farmers, scholars and activists who seek a ban GMO corn in Mexico.
Judge Verdugo cited the risk of “imminent harm to the environment” in issuing his ruling.
“It is impossible to contain transgenic corn and the irreversible accumulation of current and future transgenic packages could exceed the lethal threshold of tolerance of the plant and prevent its survival,” said Víctor Suárez Carrera, executive director of ANEC, an association of Mexican farmers who advocate for food sovereignty.
Acción Colectiva, ANEC, Sin Maíz No Hay País and others have argued the Mexican government has an obligation to protect Mexico’s unique place in the world as the birthplace of corn and the home to more than 20,000 native species.
Corn also plays a very big role in the Mexican diet, making the dangers linked to GMO corn a matter of food sovereignty and food safety.
“Corn tortillas are the staple of the Mexican diet, accounting for 40% of calories consumed in the country,” reads a report from Tufts University’s Global Development and Environment Institute.
According to Dr. Mercedes López of Vía Orgánica, a non-profit active in raising awareness on the health risks associated with GMO corn, 53% of Mexicans’ caloric intake and 22% of the protein of Mexico’s national diet comes directly from the consumption of nixtamalized corn.
“If the indiscriminate planting of transgenic corn is allowed, all Mexicans would be affected as each day new research that shows the health damage caused by GMOs is revealed,” says Dr. López.
“The judge’s decision is the first step toward the ultimate protection of our country’s biological diversity and a full recognition of a healthy environment as a human right of all Mexicans, to food quality and corn as a cultural patrimony,” posted Greenpeace Mexico.
For Mexicans, the fight to ban GMO corn in Mexico is a matter of cultural survival. And as a central staple of the Mexican diet, GMO corn is a threat too big to ignore. There is no other choice than to fight until we achieve a complete and permanent ban of the planting of GMO corn in Mexico.
We owe it to future generations to protect Mexico’s greatest contribution to humanity: Centli, Maíz, Corn!
Posts tagged Mexico
I know I’m a relentless purveyor of the Guardian.
Here are some Sunday links I found of interest.
- Latin America’s serious answer to the War on Drugs: there were 3 good pieces on the Guardian about this report from the Organization of American Sates (OAS) on the West’s ‘War on Drugs’ where the Latins put the West in their place and encourage the UN to re-evaluate. The report - headed by Juan Manuel Santos Calderón, the President of Colombia, where cocaine was recently added to GDP figure - has been called ‘gamechanging’. These Latin nations state resources are exhausted fighting cartels who provide drugs to the consumption-drive West, and that the human cost has exceeded the benefits of the War on Drugs. The Colombian president is scheduled to meet with leaders in Britain in three weeks (first week of June), and editorial responses have already begun. This one - an open letter from former Presidents of Brazil, Colombia, Mexico, and Chile, a former US Secretary of State, the former UN High Commissioner on Human Rights and President of the International Crisis Group, and Paul Volcker, former US Chairman of the Federal Reserve - demonstrates the gamechanging nature of the collective reports:
"For the first time, the majority of Americans support regulated cannabis for adult consumption. Nowhere has this support been more evident than in Colorado and Washington, states that recently approved new bills to this effect. This shift in public opinion presents a direct challenge to the US federal law, but also to the United Nations drug conventions and the international drug policy regime.
The Global Commission on Drug Policy, building on the call for a paradigm shift formulated by the Latin American Commission on Drugs and Democracy, has called loudly for precisely these kinds of changes since 2011. Twenty global leaders have highlighted the devastating consequences of repressive drug policies on people, governance and economies not just in Latin America, but around the world.
Our flagship report – War on Drugs – sets out two main recommendations: (i) replace the criminalisation of drug use with a public health approach, and (ii) experiment with models of legal regulation designed to undermine the power of organised crime.”
- ‘UK funds poll in Pakistan on US Drone Attacks’: It’s not so much the news that makes this link worthy of note, but rather the commentary from officials.
"It appears to be the first time that the government has revealed it has carried out opinion polls on the CIA drone campaign in Pakistan – a programme on which it has refused to comment publicly. Previously British ministers have said: “Drone strikes are a matter for the United States and Pakistan.”
However, there have been claims that the government has been complicit in the programme, sharing locational intelligence with US agencies to help them target the strikes.
"The UK should not need to carry out polling to determine that a campaign of illegal killing is wrong," said Kat Craig, legal director for the charity Reprieve, which campaigns for human rights around the world. …”Ministers must come clean on the role that UK intelligence is playing in supporting drone strikes, put a stop to it, and put pressure on the US to end its campaign.”
This is a significant break from the post-2003 dual invasion of Iraq security-partnership between the US and the UK. And it’s not just determining that drones are significantly unpopular in both Pakistan and the British government, but more NGO outspokenness that could lead to a potential international calling for an end to drone strikes.
- ‘Daniel Dennett’s seven tools for thinking’: Lifelong US academic and philosopher lays down some good advice; advice, that I can see now as a third-year PhD, but would have found difficult to internalise before. All text quoted from link.
1 USE YOUR MISTAKES -
I am amazed at how many really smart people don’t understand that you can make big mistakes in public and emerge none the worse for it. I know distinguished researchers who will go to preposterous lengths to avoid having to acknowledge that they were wrong about something. Actually, people love it when somebody admits to making a mistake. All kinds of people love pointing out mistakes.
Generous-spirited people appreciate your giving them the opportunity to help, and acknowledging it when they succeed in helping you; mean-spirited people enjoy showing you up. Let them! Either way we all win.
2 RESPECT YOUR OPPONENT - How to compose a successful critical commentary:
1. Attempt to re-express your target’s position so clearly, vividly and fairly that your target says: “Thanks, I wish I’d thought of putting it that way.”
2. List any points of agreement (especially if they are not matters of general or widespread agreement).
3. Mention anything you have learned from your target.
4. Only then are you permitted to say so much as a word of rebuttal or criticism.
3 THE “SURELY” KLAXON - look for “surely” in the document and check each occurrence. Not always, not even most of the time, but often the word “surely” is as good as a blinking light locating a weak point in the argument.
4 ANSWER RHETORICAL QUESTIONS -
Here is a good habit to develop: whenever you see a rhetorical question, try – silently, to yourself – to give it an unobvious answer. If you find a good one, surprise your interlocutor by answering the question.
5 EMPLOY OCCAM’S RAZOR - Parsimony: The idea is straightforward: don’t concoct a complicated, extravagant theory if you’ve got a simpler one (containing fewer ingredients, fewer entities) that handles the phenomenon just as well.
6 DON’T WASTE YOUR TIME ON RUBBISH - 90% of everything is crap… A good moral to draw from this observation is that when you want to criticise a field, a genre, a discipline, an art form …don’t waste your time and ours hooting at the crap! Go after the good stuff or leave it alone.
7 BEWARE OF DEEPITIES - A deepity … is a proposition that seems both important and true – and profound – but that achieves this effect by being ambiguous.
- ‘Overfed and Undernourished' from Mother Earth News (*swoon*) details how classical conditioning (chemical reward system in the brain) have chemically reinforced the habit of eating high-fat, high-sugar, high-salt processed foods, and adds the recent statistic by the USDA that Americans eat more processed food than meat. They further contributed that due to high-yield expectations and market demand, industrial agriculture has failed to produce food and meat that develops to maturation, offering essential vitamins and minerals lacking in our contemporary diet. The good people at Mother Earth News then detail the 7 lacking components of our contemporary diet and encourage us to seek out more of this good stuff. Calcium, Fiber, Folate, Iron, Potassium, Vitamin B12, and Vitamin D. See the link to learn what they are in and why you need them.
5 Things We Can Do to Reclaim Cinco de Mayo
It’s pretty much official. In the United States, Cinco de Mayo has become the Mexican version of St. Patrick’s Day.
Multi-national corporations like Budweiser and Kraft have effectively turned it into a pseudo-ethnic holiday used as another excuse to get drunk and consume. La Batalla de Puebla is hardly mentioned, including by many Mexicans.
Still fresh in our community’s collective memory, however, is a time before corporations even seemed to care about Mexicans and our traditions and when Cinco de Mayo was a day of community and cultural affirmation.
Kids would dress up as china poblanas and charros, folklórico and danza azteca groups would perform, grills would be ablaze and maybe a parade and a car show would entertain families on this day.
Of course, these traditions are very much alive and are still observed every year in our communities — as the photo above from West St. Paul’s Cinco de Mayo event shows.
Can we take back from multinationals something that has belonged to us for decades?
Can we reclaim Cinco de Mayo as a day that celebrates Mexico’s heroic victory for democracy and freedom over French imperialism in the La Batalla de Puebla?
Of course we can!
Here are 5 things we can do to make it happen:
1. Support events hosted by and for the benefit of local non-profits and community based organizations.
2. Don’t go to corporate Cinco de Mayo events. No matter how much free shit they give away.
3. Remind white people Cinco de Mayo celebrates the killing of white people!
5. Promote Mexico making Cinco de Mayo a national holiday, removing the silly claim it’s only celebrated in the US.
Photo: A dancer marches in the Cinco de Mayo parade Saturday, May 4, 2013 in St. Paul, Minnesota. Credit: MPR Photo, Nikki Tundel.
i’m still too exhausted for (much) commentary: though i support this proposal, i don’t think it will do much to hinder the cartel. the cartel operates with an authority more threatening than the italian mob of the 1930s. no recourse, no feeling of family, no concept of justice, just cruelty and ‘cartel capitalism’. is there any inititative, any proposal, that can stop/hinder/disempower the cartel?
Mexico Proposes Elevating Journalist Murders to Federal Crime
Via the Committee to Protect Journalists:
With near impunity in the murders of journalists a persistent reason for the terror and self-censorship among Mexican news organizations, legislators say the national Senate is on the verge of passing a constitutional amendment that would allow federal authorities to take over cases of crimes against freedom of expression. Passage would mean that the typically less corrupt and more effective federal police and prosecutors would move aside state authorities to tackle cases of murdered journalists or those living under threat.
Since 2006, more than 40 journalists have died or disappeared in Mexico, according to CPJ research. Due to a mixture of negligence and pervasive corruption among law enforcement officials, particularly at the state level, crimes against the Mexican press are almost entirely unsolved. The failure to investigate abuses has encouraged further crimes, forcing journalists to steer clear of sensitive topics such as violence, corruption and narco-trafficking. The result is that citizens have been stripped of their right to vital information.
Image: Poster used for a 2008 Knight Cabot conference on Journalism in Mexico.
Drug cartel death threats force police in Mexico’s most violent city into hiding
Some 2,000 police are hunkering down in hotels in Mexico’s most violent city of Ciudad Juarez after a drug gang threatened to kill an officer per day if their chief refused to resign.
Eleven police officers, including four commanders, have already been killed in the city across from El Paso, Texas, since the start of the year.
The city’s mayor this week ordered police to use several local hotels as temporary barracks to protect themselves from attacks on the way home from work in the city at the heart of Mexican drug violence that has left 50,000 dead in five years. (Photo: Jesus Alcazar/AFP/Getty Images)
- First, listen! David Lynch’s first album: listening right now. Its odd. Its Lynchian. Its good(ish). Karen O from Yeah Yeah Yeahs KILLING IT on track 1. Don’t know track number, b/c I did listen in full, but halfway through around minute 28:00, Lynch-synth gives a really messed up lecture on quantum mechanics and dental hygiene… I think. Title track is just…
- Second, Stephen Gill (York University) has published my PhD thesis. …well, what I mean to say is he beat me to it. Just published, Global Crisis and the Crisis of Global Leadership. So this could be a useful tool for my research - Does Executive Leadership Matter in International Organisation - or it could cause me to go back to the drawing board…
- Third, thepoliticalnotebook readbook today is ‘mamazing! See for a update on the Iranian actress sentenced to jail and lashings for her role in new film, My Tehran For Sale.
- Fourth, and more infuriating than my noon post (Anon and the Zetas), also from thepoliticalnotebook's readbook for today, but worthy of its own point - US drone base in Ethiopia is operational. Drones, and anyone involved in drone tech, are evil: base lesson. This coincides w US military wargame exercise in DC today…
I have mates that are harrowed from their arreset at Occupy, I have mates in Berlin conducting comparative research on street art as an expression of peace, I have loads of mates doing PhDs in AMAZING fields, but I’ve also got mates who hide in the woods and know how assemble automatic weapons, mates who stand up to home foreclosures, and mates who monitor US military wargames.
Tomorrow is both Dia de los Muertos and a worldwide General Strike in solidarity with Occupy(Oakland). Tomorrow is a day for unplugging. Tomorrow is a day to remove cogs from the capitalist machine (LANGUAGE!). BUY NOTHING! Tomorrow is a day for remembering (remebering). Remember your loved ones who have passed, and remember that you grant your government legitimacy.
You made a huge mistake in taking one of us. Release him, and if anything happens to him, you will always remember this upcoming Nov. 5.
Drug War of the Day: The hacker collective known as Anonymous released a video statement recently, warning Los Zetas — one of Mexico’s most notorious drug cartels — that it would release identities of its collaborators and names of its money-laundering fronts if the syndicate did not return a kidnapped member of the group to his home.
The alleged accomplices are taxi drivers, journalists, and police officers — referred to in the video as “police-zetas” — who Anonymous claims are working with the cartel, or against “honest authorities like the army and the navy.”
“We can´t defend ourselves with a weapon,” the statement goes on to say, “but if we can do this with their cars, houses, bars, brothels and everything else in their possession…It won´t be difficult. We all know who they are and where they are.”
The video appears to set November 4th as the last date for compliance with the ultimatum.
Austin-based global intelligence company Stratfor warns that Anonymous may be in over its head, and any publication of names would “most certainly” result in bloodshed.
The Zetas have a well-documented history of attacking online critics.
However, retired DEA international operations chief Mike Vigil calls the statement “a gutsy move,” and says the Zetas should take Anonymous seriously. “By publishing the names, they identify them to rivals,” he says, “and trust me, they will go after them.”