Federal Judge Upholds Mexican GM Ban after over ‘100 Appeals by Biotech’
As GMOs would cause 'irreversible damage'
Opponents of growing genetically modified corn in Mexico, the country known for over 30 varieties of non-GM maize, have prevailed. A federal judge upheld a GM ban that was put in place years ago.
Mexico is known for its biodiversity, which supports numerous varieties of maize. It is in fact considered their birthplace, and if GM corn had not been banned, corn developed over thousands of years would be in jeopardy of cross-pollination.
Fortunately, federal judge Benjamin Soto Sánchez, head of the second Unitarian Court in Civil and Administrative Matters of the First Circuit, upheld the provisional suspension that prohibits pertinent federal agencies from processing and granting the privilege of sowing or releasing into Mexico’s ecosystem any transgenic maize.
The federal suspension has been active since September 2013 despite 100 challenges by transnational agribusinesses like Monsanto, as well as biotech interests and the federal government.
The attorneys for the defenders of maize also argued that, in the case of GM soybean crops in Yucatán, the Court should consider Mexico’s unique center as the origin of such important staple crops. This specific argument has not been sued against biotech previously.
“[The] decision by Magistrate Soto Sánchez was issued today…within the appeals process that the community of citizens initiated this past August 19 after the Federal Judge Francisco Peñaloza Heras had refused to uphold the definitive suspension and two days later returned to temporarily suspend [GMO plantings] due to challenges by citizens.”
René Sánchez Galindo, lawyer for the Colectiva, explained that:
“Judge Soto’s resolution means the confirmation of suspending the planting of genetically modified corn stands until the court decides the ultimate appeal.”
Galindo further articulated that court should consider all previously supported facts about growing GMO “since the damage would be irreversible if transgenic crops were sown.”
The demand for collective action against the planting of genetically modified corn was presented in July 2013 and together with judicial suspension has endured a hundred appeals by the federal Government and transnational corporations in 17 different courts, including the Supreme Court of Mexico.
The group working to keep the GM maize ban, Acción Colectiva, is led by Father Miguel Concha of the Human Rights Center Fray Francisco de Vittoria; Victor Suarez of ANEC (National Association of Rural Commercialization Entertprises); Dr. Mercedes Lopéz of Vía Organica; and Adelita San Vicente, a teacher and member of Semillas de Vida, a national organization that has been involved in broad-based social action projects to protect Mexico’s status as a major world center of food crop biodiversity and as the birthplace of the original varieties of maize.
Christina Sarich is a humanitarian and freelance writer helping you to Wake up Your Sleepy Little Head, and See the Big Picture. Her blog is Yoga for the New World. Her latest book is Pharma Sutra: Healing the Body And Mind Through the Art of Yoga.