Joyce M. Eden
Special to El Observador
The Plaza de Cezar Chavez in San Jose was filled with the sound of chanting on Saturday. People chanted to protect maize and the food people eat. Children, dogs, people who are concerned about the consequences of genetically engineered food marched to show their opposition to this food and for support of family farmers, farm workers and real food. They stated, “All those are threatened by the commercial process to fundamentally change the genes of the food itself, in order to patent the seeds and crops and keep exclusive control of them. This prevents farmers from saving and planting their own seed. It also raises their costs.” Monsanto was the multinational chemical company most referred to.
The sun shined down on the marchers, as they held their signs up high. One sign stated, “La Milpa es Biodiversidad. No Necesitamos Monsanto.” A sign in a child’s wagon read, “Hijo de Maiz. Abajo Monsanto.” Another sign asked for, “No More Genocides. 1492 Columbus, Now Monsanto.”
Sergio Martinez, a founding member of La Defensa de Maiz, holding up colorful ears of ancient maiz, held the listeners attention as he spoke from his heart about the importance of protecting the children, the maiz, and future generations.
The San Jose Area coordinator of LabelGMOs spoke about the importance of stopping the Fast Track of the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP). Mexico is one of the 12 countries in the process of negotiating this treaty, which would override Mexican environmental, health, safety and workers rights’ laws and the democratic process of the country. The treaty is being negotiated with no public disclosure. Leaked documents appear to show that it is large multinational corporations such as Monsanto and Walmart that are influencing the treaty.
It was announced to great applause that just two days earlier a federal judge in Mexico City cited “the risk of imminent harm to the environment” from transgenic seeds and plants. He referred to “multinationals like Monsanto and Pioneeer,” which produce and patent the seeds which force genes of unrelated species into the DNA of plants, changing their genetics and the processes of every cell, with many unpredictable results.
He ordered the Secretaria de Agricultura and Mexico’s EPA to immediately “suspend all activities involving the planting of transgenic corn in the country, and end the granting of permission for experimental and pilot commercial plantings.” The article from Devon G. Pena also stated, “the judge emphasized that the government is obligated to protect the human rights of Mexicans against the economic interests of big business.”
As the rally wound down, the participants shared tomatoes and other non-transgenic traditional foods from a local farmers’ market.