(Reuters) - A top Mexican government official said Thursday that the long-awaited but highly controversial approval of genetically modified (GM) corn fields on a commercial scale will drag into next year.
El Presidente Felipe Calderon was scheduled to approve a commercial scale planting of Genetically Engineered corn in Mexico, but now it appears he will leave office without giving the project his blessing. Incoming President-elect Enrique Pena Nieto, will be inaugurated on December 1st and his aides have indicated the approval is not expected for up to five months after that date.
This presents us, the anti-GMO forces, with a small slice of time to derail this approval. Mind you, I don't know if anything of the kind is in the realm of possibility, but I do know this has got to be our goal. This task, whether or not it is possible, has got to be the focus of everyone who harbors doubts about the veracity of human meddling in the DNA of our food. Mexico is home to the birth of corn, which means it is also home to a diversity of corn that is not possible to fathom; we do not know what there is to loose.
The government of Mexico is undoubtedly being offered economic bonuses to make this happen. But they should be wary: It is the Devil's bargain. For a few pesos, the amount of money is not relevant, Nieto can sell the pride of his county into a new, and more deadly, colonialism that will bankrupt the economy and throw the pride and dignity of Mexico onto a dung heap from which it may take another hundreds of years from which to recover.
Look at the business plan of genetically modified food production. You buy the seeds (or, as a drug dealer might suggest, “the first one is free...”) and plant them. You have to also buy the inputs necessary to make that crop produce. Look who sells the inputs! Whether the farmer gets a crop or not, he (or she) must invest in new seed next year and all the attending inputs. Mexico is betting these seeds, with all the fertilizers and pesticides, will produce enough food to make the bargain profitable. It doesn't.
A fifteen year study done by the US Department of Agriculture, itself practically a branch office for Monsanto, showed that genetically engineered corn did NOT out-produce the GM corn to any real degree. So, all of those inputs and their expense, were for naught. And this is the scenario President-elect Nieto considers throwing his county's farmers into. We also know the number of Indian farmers that have committed suicide after making this Devil's deal with GM cotton. The first bad harvest, the wife takes off her jewelry to sell for fertilizers and pesticides. The second year, with no jewelry left, the families go into debt and it's a debt many cannot recover from. Is this not just a chemical process of subjugation that imitates the slavery of colonialism?
But the stakes are so much higher than that. If countries were assigned wealth according to their genetic resources, Mexico would be one of the wealthiest countries in the world. Corn, one of the most important food crops of our world, has it's origin in Mexico. Nikolai Vavilov identified Mexico as one of the most important centers of origin of food because of the tremendous diversity of corn. This diversity is threatened by the introduction of genetically engineered corn.
When Monsanto was asking for FDA approval for their unproven product, the genetically altered corn, they stated in their application that corn pollen was viable for five miles. This figure is important because it lets one know how far away from the genetically engineered product a farmer must be if that farmer wishes to have none of the altered genes in his corn.
The figure, like so much of what Monsanto claims, was a lie. Research since then has demonstrated that corn pollen can be viable up to twenty miles from the source, or, four times as far as Monsanto had reported. Mind you, this figure represents ideal conditions, but until we can predict conditions in the future with pinpoint accuracy, this is the figure we have to have and use.
With the diversity of corn throughout Mexico, we cannot allow genetically modified pollen to spread through those fields! The DNA of every cell of the Monsanto (and allied corporations) corn plant, is modified, or engineered and therefore the pollen's DNA is also altered and whatever qualities has been engineered into the altered corn, will become manifest in the corn of Mexico. Imagine the so-called terminator gene being let loose in Mexico! Thousands of years of corn breeding could be terminated if that pollen was let loose.
It would be far worse than all the Spanish conquistadoras combined.
It would be a scar on Mexico's soul that nothing could ever heal.
It would be the Rape Of Mexico.
We cannot sit idly by and allow this to happen.