The United States used to stand for something – back when it was a republic, at least. But presently, the centralized U.S. government has been forcing GMO trade agreements on South American and other countries. It’s a good thing that the highest court in Guatemala has suspended the insane ‘Monsanto Law,’ part of a trade agreement that insulates transnational seed corporations, communicating clearly to Monsanto and the governments who have sold out to this behemoth that they’ve had enough toxic genetically modified food.
Should Guatemala or any other nation have to listen to the demands of the U.S. by honoring their trade agreement laws? Big Ag and Big Biotech would severely threaten international food sovereignty. More than 40 countries have already realized this possibility, banning GMO crops. GE-Feee zones abound in the world, just not on American soil – YET.
The food and agricultural practices, especially of indigenous people, are threatened by biotech seed monopolies, patents, and the cross-pollination of heirloom seed varieties that have been cultivated for thousands of years. Seed varieties not cultivated with biotech technologies which alter DNA (and are harmful), but rather by cross-breeding as mother nature does with sexually compatible plants – NOT say, a frog and a potato or a corn plant and BT toxins..
Guatemala will refuse the ‘Law for the Protection of New Plant Varieties,’ dubbed the ‘Monsanto Law’ by critics for its formidable seed-privatization provisions, as an obligation for all nations that signed the 2005 CAFTA-DR free trade agreement between Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, the Dominican Republic, and the United States.
It requires signatories to adhere to the International Convention for the Protection of New Plant Varieties, giving producers of transgenic (GM) seeds, often lying corporations like Monsanto, strict property rights in the event of possession or exchange of the original or harvested seeds.
They have essentially tried to patent mother nature, and make farmers completely reliant on their GM varieties like a crack addict on cocaine. And while sales for both glyphosate and GM seeds meant to withstand this toxic brew are up, more and more farmers are realizing the claims made by the biotech industry are patently false.
Suspending the controversial ‘Monsanto Law,’ an included provision of a US-Central American trade agreement, is Guatemala’s way of saying ‘NO WAY’ to biotech and its bought-out politicians.
It goes into effect on September 26 – following the filing of a writ of amparo by the Guatemalan Union along with the Indigenous and Peasant Movement, which argued the law would harm the nation. Indeed.
The Court’s choice to suspend the trade agreement followed opposition from several Guatemalan parliamentarians from both the governing Patriotic Party and the Renewed Democratic Freedom party which said they would consider repealing the law after an outcry from a diverse cross-section of Guatemalans.
Within this law protecting Monsanto and other biotech companies, it was written – a breeder’s right extends to “varieties essentially derived from the protected variety,” thus, a hybrid of a protected and unprotected seed belongs to the protected seed’s producer.
The Rural Studies Collective (Cer-Ixim) warned that the law would monopolize agriculture processes, severely threaten food sovereignty – especially those of indigenous peoples – and would sacrifice national biodiversity “under the control of domestic and foreign companies.”
The National Alliance for Biodiversity Protection argued that the law is unconstitutional “because it violates the rights of peoples. It will benefit transnational seed companies such as Monsanto, Duwest, Dupont, Syngenta, etc.”
“According to this law, the rights of plant breeders are superior to the rights of peoples to freely use seeds,” the Alliance said in a statement.
The best part? Anyone who violates the law, wittingly or not, could face a prison term of one to four years, and fines of US $130 to $1,300.
Though the U.S. could drop Guatemala from its trade for this action, it would be a small price to pay to protect food sovereignty.
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.