Monsanto Assault Meets Aztec Resistance (Video)

Monsanto has a map for conquering the world and Mexico is in the center of it.

For nearly two decades the transnational corporation that manufactures the pesticides used across the planet has been trying to take over the global seed market with genetically modified (GM) seed. If successful, most of the food we grow and eat would have to be purchased annually as seed from Monsanto. The mutant plants would grow up addicted to Monsanto herbicides. Local varieties would disappear, and in their place standardized, genetically modified food–doused with chemicals–would fill supermarket shelves and corner stores.

More than sixty thousand farmers and supporters from workers’ and environmental organizations marched through Mexico City on Jan. 31 to avoid this fate. It was one of the largest mobilizations to date to reject the Monsanto game plan, and it’s no coincidence that it took place in the heart of the Aztec Empire.

Olegario Carrillo, president of Mexican small farm organization UNORCA, addressed the crowd in the central plaza, “During the last 30 years, successive governments have tried to wipe us out. They’ve promoted measures to take away our lands, our water, our seeds, plant and animal varieties, traditional knowledge, markets. But we refuse to disappear.”

“For peasant farmers, GMOs represent looting and control,” he stated.

With tens of thousands of people shouting “No genetically modified corn in Mexico!” and “Monsanto get out!”, the march showed the muscle of an unusual grassroots movement to protect small farmers and consumers. It also revealed the remarkable success of decades of public education and organizing on an issue that Monsanto and other major biotech firms hoped would slide under the radar of the people most affected by it.

 Photos: Alfredo Acedo

Conquering the Center of Origin

Monsanto–along with Pioneer, Dow and other chemical/biotech firms– has been pushing hard to take over production of the world’s third major staple crop: corn. Small farmers in the U.S. have long experienced the pressure exerted to move them out of the way. Monsanto predicts that its corn seed will be planted on 96 million acres in the United States this year. But the key to its plans to conquer the market lies south of the border.

The powerful corporation, the largest seed seller in the world, desperately wants permission for unrestricted planting of its GM corn in Mexico. If GM corn is planted in Mexico, it will accelerate the transfer of acreage and water rights from small farmers to corporate GM corn cultivation, thus transferring control of the national food supply as well. Widespread open planting of GM corn will lead to contamination of native varieties. This is a scientific fact. Mexico has already detected many native cornfields contaminated by GM corn during the period when open planting was prohibited—a strong indication of the impossibility of controlling open pollination between native and GM varieties.

 Photos: Alfredo Acedo

This has huge implications. Mexico is the center of origin of corn, and the home of hundreds of varieties developed by indigenous communities over centuries. To lose in situ preservation of these varieties is to lose a wealth of agro-diversity that has major importance for sustainable food production, and to eventually become dependent on Monsanto and other large corporations to feed ourselves.

The Mexican government first legalized GM plantings through what has come to be known as the 2005 “Monsanto Law”, which the farmers are demanding be revoked. It then began issuing permits, first for experimental plantings. Having passed that phase, Monsanto has now requested permits to begin all-out commercial production. It has filed to sow some 700,000 hectares of genetically modified corn in the state of Sinaloa alone.

 Photos: Alfredo Acedo

But Mexico could be Monsanto’s Waterloo. Thousands of small farmers, many in indigenous communities—Nahuatl, Maya, Mixteco–are fighting back. Stubborn in the face of a government clearly allied with the transnationals and corporations determined to wear down their resistance, the farmers are defending their right to use the traditional maize seed that their ancestors developed over millennia. They are also defending their way of life and, ultimately, global access to safe and affordable food.

Gene-splicing and the laboratory land grab

For years, Monsanto, Pioneer-Dupont and Dow and other companies in the biotech business have insisted that genetic modification is just like nature, only better. Their claim is that genetic mutations happen in natural settings so making them happen in a lab setting is just giving nature a nudge in the right direction.

They try not to mention that genetic modification of plants uses genes from animal and other foreign species that would never end up in the plant (or our food) on their own. They also do everything possible to bury studies on the negative health impacts of GM foods, including cancer.

And what they really hoped would never come up, is the plan to conquer the world– or at least its food systems–conveyed in a tiny Trojan seed.

If GM corn were planted in Mexico and widely promoted, access to native seed would dwindle, as fewer farmers planted or saved it. Legal offensives based on hyper patent laws contained in free trade agreements are even trying to make seed-saving illegal. Although some countries ban cultivation of certain types of GM crops, these crops already cover nearly 10% of the arable surface of the world.

For the communities that refuse to give up using native seed, the final assault is genetic contamination. GM corn contaminates nearby fields. The irony of this invasion is that once native corn is shown to have been contaminated (and thus ruined) by GM corn, Monsanto can come in with lawsuits claiming that its product is being used without required usage fees.

Mexico’s new government led by President Enrique Peña Nieto now finds itself wedged between the biotech offensive to release commercial planting permits and the thousands of small farmers and their allies fighting to defend the food supply. So far, it is reluctant to risk citizens’ ire by granting Monsanto use of Mexican soil for its GM maize expansion.

The campaign has gone international as food rights groups from around the world supported Mexico’s farm leaders in the week-long fast that preceded the march.

More than corn is at stake here—it’s a question of recognition and respect. A “Maize Manifesto” released by the farmers’ organizations states,

“We reject that the government sacrifices consumers and small farmers to support transnational corporations that produce GM seed and agro-toxins. We the farmers, not the transnationals, are the ones who feed the population.”

 Photos: Alfredo Acedo

Responses to "Monsanto Conquest Meets Aztec Resistance"

  1. D Lin says:

    Monsanto ... meet Idle No More!

  2. Anonymous says:

    America is no longer a free country because it has chosen to hourd it's material weath and take what is not hers to take and made the people blind to their self richeousness.. but these people who still have so little, have a heart and wisdom to stand up for goodness and fair play.. these they look down upon and judge.. now who is reaping what they sow?

  3. Anonymous says:

    I am so deepened by the fight that you all are doing!!!Monsanto,The Demon of ALL,Thank you so much for the Tribute to save our corn,,,Thank you,I buy all GMO FREE,I buy All ORganic I thank you and love you!!!!Joan

  4. Chrys says:

    Seed saving since 1999. Delighted to learn Mexican corn is GMO free. I will seek some good mexican corn. to eat and to grow. Beat Monsanto!

  5. We are doomed. If we don't let them plant their mutant corn, they will bomb our fields with its pollen. Theirs is a war of attrition and control, aimed at the golden calf (acquiring the earth's assets). We will be enslaved until we are all destroyed by their war to steal from all life. Then the new, bleak world will spend a few million years attempting to rebuild a palette of sanity.

  6. Anonymous says:

    It starts with a seed.. a genetically modified seed with foreign species that would never end up in our food in the first place. Those fight against it and stand up for their native seed... gets even contaminated . Once the corn grows and proves to be ruined ..monsanto comes in and throws law suits claiming its being used without required usage fees!!!!!!! those tricky assholes. The campaign has gone international as food rights groups from around the world supported Mexico’s farm leaders in the week-long fast that preceded the march. "We the farmers, not the transnationals, are the ones who feed the population.” On another note, They also do everything possible to bury studies on the negative health impacts of GM foods, including cancer. Can you believe this shit? because they want to capitalize on the seed that is genetically modified that also causes cancer, they are poising our food, plants, seeds, ground it grows on and they are also poising you!!!!!!!!! btw ..If you would like to make a difference instead of just reading bout this, find out if the places you purchase your food is G.M/ causes cancer... Costco is one of them, Walmart ofcourse!

  7. Anonymous says:

    These are role models for us all. I believe in Europe, France has continued to resist these frankenseeds. which of the US politicians support Monsanto, Dow and other multinational corporations? It is time the American people took a decisive step against this new form of monopoly.

  8. Anonymous says:

    gmo sucks. mosanto is the devil.

  9. Anonymous: Don't believe Europe to be good and free of the possibility of evil, their governments too have been bought off by a variety of companies. It is only a matter of time before Monsanto gets to them.

  10. Anonymous says:

    Yes Europe is being sold out to Monsanto and friends -- we must stop this now

  11. Anonymous says:

    This GMO corn and soybean seed is contaminated with pesticides that are injected into the seed and designed to burst a insect's stomach. So many people here in the U.S. who eat this crap suffer from stomach cancers, pancreatic cancers, intestinal problems, acid reflux, diverticulosis and much pain and suffering all because the U.S. Government was suckered into beleiving the lies of Monsanto and refused to listen to the testimony of scientists and doctors who did studies on this montrosity. Now they seek to create more GMO crops and even living creatures. SHUT THEM DOWN. Sue them for billions.

  12. Carlos Flores says:

    Obama just put one of the head guys of Monsanto as the head of the FDA in the US. Obama is a dissappointment!

  13. Anonymous says:

    Stay strong and united and you win.

  14. Anonymous says:

    This is so encouraging. As more people wake up to the harmful self-interests of corporations, and then take the time to collectively organize and protest them, we just might start to realize the just, sustainable, vibrant world I know so many of us hope for.

  15. Anonymous says:

    We are lucky. we have a little land to grow our own veggies, in Alabama. We will buy non-Monsanto varieties this year. so scary.

  16. Amin says:

    Lt's call GMO what it is: An invasive species. The Department of the Interior, Commerce and and customs need to act together to stop it at the borders, confiscate it, and fine those cartels that traffic in it!

  17. Anonymous says:

    Viva Mexico. Fight Monsanto and save the world. With out healthy, gm free, genetically diverse food, free of chemicals we are all doomed. And the same goes for diverse populations of people with traditional cultures providing strong leadership in opposition to run-amok-dog-eat-dog greedy capitolism and corporate hegemony. Viva Mexico!!!

  18. Anonymous says:

    Monsanto should be charge for the biggest genoside in the U.S. All the cancers that are pestering the U,S. are produced by cntaminated foods from Monsantos experiments with their pesticides, herbicides, etc. Human bodies are not made up to handle this chemicals, and people is dying thinking is some kind of punishment. NO is Monsantos experiments.
    Cancers, and all the new digestive, and nervous disorders are nothing else but Monsantos diabolic experiments.

  19. Unknown says:

    Monsanto: The ''Great Beast'' of the Bible at it's worst :-(

  20. Anonymous says:

    Monsanto isn't America. None of these corporations are. Big business has damaged and corrupted the system in America so that it does not work at all. Case in point: the banks trash the economy out of their greed, the government declares that the American taxpayers (the very ones who live in houses they can no longer afford and are jobless thanks to those very same banks) must support the poor banks to the tune of 85 billion a month. Libraries are underfunded, schools are going without structural repairs, police and firehouses are shut down, the most people have not seen a pay raise in years even though the cost of gas and food are increasing, the costs of college is increasing and the government raised the rates on student loans, all so the banks get their money. The banks can take out a 0% interest loan anytime they want, hell the government pays them money to borrow money. And then they underwrite the loans. It is crazy. Monsanto has corrupted the system here to the point that if a judge puts a court order on the planting, buying, or selling of their GM food,(as in the case of waiting for tests relating to said foods causing cancer) the company has the legal right to ignore that judge. The head of the FDA is a former Monsanto VP. Don't say it's America, it is not. America is a beautiful nation full of some of the best people you can find anywhere on the planet. It is the corporations, and they are not us.

  21. Anonymous says:

    Monsanto MUST go .......we do not want to eat fake food ........ please keep up the good fight and lets try to get rid of this corporate bully.

  22. Anonymous says:

    I don't know who the June 29, 2013 8:08 PM Anonymous commenter was, but he or she is absolutely right. Americans who are awake are appalled at what is going on here and we are frustrated and stymied trying to find a way to fix it. The banks and corporations have absolute control and we are monitored 100% of the time. So many here are brainwashed on a longstanding television and religious mind control program that those of us who are awake find ourselves running around shaking our neighbors by the shoulders begging them to wake up and they look at us, hypnotized by the media and think we are the crazy ones. Americans are good people - but many are terribly misled and programmed - like children wandering around led by a bad person who need a good teacher to rescue them. When they do wake up, they are horrified at what the country is doing. Being such a large country, it is hard to get nationwide communication and people out in the streets protesting. But that time will come - we can no longer feed our families, many are starving here in the US, many are homeless now, many have lost their cars or are out of money for public transit. When you have nothing left to lose, fear goes away. The tipping point is not far off.

  23. Anonymous says:

    We are NOT doomed! No where NEAR doomed. This planet has incredible capabilities far beyond our greatest expectations. And so do we. We must begin to unite daily in prayer... whatever or whoever your god is, or if you have no god and only believe in you, we must send out our prayers. A call to the Great Mother and the universe to let all know We Are Ready...

  24. Anonymous says:

    To paraphrase Martin Luther King, Jr.: I have a dream. A dream that one day we will all band together and burn Monsanto and every last GMO crop to the ground.
    The time for peaceful resistance is past. Monsanto has declared war on the peoples of the world. It is time we declare war on them and wipe them off the face of our planet! And while we are at it, we ought to shrug off our oppressive governments that serve the interests of the moneyed and not the people. Blood may flow, but I'd rather die fighting than cowering in fear!

  25. Anonymous says:

    Slay the greedy dragon before it devours us all!

  26. Anonymous says:

    Control world food supplies and you controll the world. Kick Monsanto out before it is too late. Keep up the good work Aztecas - ¡Ometeotl!

  27. Anonymous says:

    There is a chain of people that Corporations like Mad Monsanto count on. It is everyday people that work in their plants, scientists & their students that learn to genetically engineer DNA from unsafe sources to our vulnerable food supply.It is farmers who still plant GMO seeds. It is stores & grocery chains that buy & stock food products that contain these poisoned foods &&&&&&& the consumers that still continue to buy them. It is the truck drivers that drive these poisonous pesticides from the plants where "workers" from the community make them so they can pay the rent & feed their children. It is all of us & our neighbors that for a moment in time we "choose" to aid the growing of the chain for or against poisoning ourselves & our loved ones.The farmers must be a solid wall of non compliance with Monsanto madness. We must support any ethical ORGANIC farmer & food producer. NO MONIES to those producers of poisoned & genetically modified food crops or any other poisonous products. We must all help Indigenous peoples protect their lands, & culture. They have held true the longest against all tyranny.In every town, country, job, home,workplace,wherever!!!!!!WE THE PEOPLE must each look at our own part in this scenario of survival for ourselves, our children, our neighbors, friends, community, humankind.There is not one simple solution. It is a lifestyle of long term choices for each of us. Today begin somewhere, somehow to make small changes to go in the direction of health,& the natural abundance of LIFE.Much will be asked of us. No matter your personal beliefs, put them aside & know that without clean air, water, food, & stability, we cannot survive.We all have a piece of the solution. We are not ants. We are the caretakers of OUR MOTHER EARTH, & of each other.We are not robots, we can still appreciate our uniqueness, & share the incredible bounty meant for all. A minority of greedy ego maniacs ruling any community, never mind the country & the world is unacceptable in any form. We are in the net of fear, we must make holes in the net & free ourselves, take off the blinders, & remember who we really are & act accordingly.We must never give in or give up, until WE THE PEOPLE SHARE THE NATURAL ABUNDANCE OF OUR MOTHER PLANET WITH EACH OTHER!!!!!!PROTECTING EACH OTHER AS WE GO.Every human will play a part in the final outcome of this power play for generations. It will impact life as we have never been witness to. WE have the power to turn this around with LOVE IN ACTION! War is NOT the answer. There are many actions as options that are non violent.Begin there!!!

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