Then help stop them and the other large multinationals (Bayer, DuPont, etc.) from establishing their farming practices and seed control in Mexico, the country of origin for corn.
The Crowd vs. GM Corn in Mexico
Stop Monsanto and other multinationals from growing genetically modified (GM) corn that will force all farmers to grow GM corn, will harm biodiversity, and ultimately puts Mexican cultural heritage and way of life at risk. Read more…
In Mexico, the classic staple – made with heirloom corn – is under pressure from mass production and modernity, but small torilla producers are pushing back.
TLAXIACO, Mexico — Petra Cruz González wakes at 6 every morning to make some 400 tortillas by hand. Despite a few modern advancements, like an electric flour mill and a metal hand press, she still cooks them over a wood fire as she learned to do when she was 8 years old.
Ms. González, 49, sells tortillas on the street and from her home. As the president of the Union de Palmeadoras in Tlaxiaco, which started in 1990 to organize this Oaxacan city’s handmade tortilla producers, she believes this is important work. The union’s 89 members (all but one a woman) are fighting to keep this millenniums-old tradition alive in the face of cheaper competitors.
Quality is suffering
Quality has suffered in the race for the cheapest tortilla; nearly half the supply is now made with industrially produced masa harina, or corn flour, like Maseca, but small producers are pushing back.
In October, 2018, the government of South Africa refused to authorize the GM Triple Stacked maize from Monsanto. They wanted to implement this for commercial growing.
The Executive Council through the GMO Act stated that the data provided by Monsanto were not convincing. The data did not demonstrate the significant claim that GM maize was drought-tolerant, insect-resistant, and would lead to better yields than conventional maize.
The African Centre for Biodiversity (ACB) is elated with the decision of the South African bio-safety authorities. They consistently disputed the accuracy of Monsanto’s claims of increased yield performance. ACB and more than 25 000 people, from South Africa and around the world, signed a petition to reject Monsanto’s application.
ACB’s Executive Director Mariam Mayet remains hopeful that South Africa may be taking an important lead, as evidence emerges of the failure of GM technology. Today, the ACB calls on all African governments to implement holistic strategies. These strategies already show effectiveness in the field to support small-holder farmers. These include various agro-ecological strategies such as inter-cropping, the ‘push-pull’ system, and integrated pest management strategies.
This approach can provide sustainable solutions. Other positive outcomes are that it will not further involve debt for the farmers. Additionally, it will not compromise their health or that of their surrounding environment.
GMO companies also want to pave their way into Mexico to grow GM corn at a commercial level. They want to force farmers to grow GM corn there. This will harm biodiversity and ultimately puts Mexican cultural heritage and way of life at risk. Maize originated in Mexico.
We have completed 5 years of litigation in 19 federal courts. This report complies with the legal requirement to inform the general public, as consumers of corn in Mexico and users of the environment’s genetic biodiversity, as well as the signatories of the class action lawsuit against the planting of transgenic corn, so that they be aware of the actions taken and the results achieved in the defense of Mexican native maize and its wild relatives.
Precautionary measures to suspend the planting of transgenic corn.
The class action lawsuit has succeeded in suspending the planting of transgenic corn throughout the country from September 2013 to the present.
Pre-commercial and commercial permits are suspended by the court’s order; however, since 2016, GM corn can be planted for scientific purposes. In the latter case, permits can be suspended again if, upon receiving federal government reports, the courts detect (or are presented with evidence) that biosecurity measures in place are ineffective. However, SAGARPA (Mexico’s Agriculture Agency) has NOT issued any permits of this type.
The defendant transnational companies (Monsanto, Syngenta, Dow Agrosciences and PHI Mexico, known worldwide as Dupont), and SAGARPA have, together, filed fifteen injunctions (amparo lawsuits) requesting to be allowed to plant transgenic corn. These injunctions sought the lifting of the suspension that we have obtained. We have won eleven of these amparo lawsuits and there are still four cases pending resolution. Thanks to these court victories, the SUSPENSION of GM corn planting is maintained.
The First Chamber of Mexico’s Supreme Court of Justice decided that it will analyze, within the next six months, the precautionary measures currently in place. However, the court has not yet stated whether it will decide only the constitutionality of the laws on which the measures are based, or if it will also examine the questionings against the judicial order.
PHI Mexico has challenged the constitutionality of article 610, section IV, of the Federal Code of Civil Procedure, because the precautionary measures have (i) defined what type of transgenic maize crops are judicially suspended and which ones are NOT; and (ii) ordered the government to submit reports that could lead to the general suspension being reinstated.
On the other hand, between May 2016 and June 2018, SAGARPA and SEMARNAT (Mexico’s Environment Agency) have submitted monthly reports to the court (some of them extemporaneous), in which )they report that they have NOT granted any type of permits for the planting of GM corn.
Had these agencies issued a permit (for scientific purposes) it would be subject to the control and supervision of the federal judge, before, during and after the planting authorization. The scientists of the class action lawsuit have the right to be informed on, express their opinion about, and challenge the judge’s vigilance on the use of the glyphosate herbicide, the unauthorized presence of transgenics, the terms scientific research, etc.
Class Action Lawsuit against transgenic corn
Remedy Sought n
That federal courts declare that the release into the environment or planting of transgenic maize will damage the human right to the biological diversity of native maize of the current and future generations, as well as the rights to food, health and the rights of indigenous peoples. Consequently, the remedy sought is that courts deny all requests to release or plant GM maize.
Case in Court
In five years we have overcome the following procedural phases: preliminary admission of the lawsuit, certification of the claim (phase in which the decision in our favor was challenged by additional eleven amparo lawsuits filed by the federal government and the transnational companies), conciliation (in which an agreement was not reached by the parties), and gathering and presentation of evidence. We are currently presenting motions in relation to evidentiary matters.
For example, we have detected that the defendant multinational corporations intended to justify the use of their technology by mutilating scientific articles through incomplete translations; we have questioned it just after the companies presented these documents and before the court accepted them as evidence. The court was request to verify the correction of these documents.
On the other hand, the defendants have also questioned, long after the court had accepted them, some of the documents the plaintiffs have presented as evidence. rDespite a denial to a similar request from our side, the companies´ motion to reject some of our evidence was granted. We have challenged this decision with a revocation appeal.
Because the judge granted to the companies the same request that was denied to the plaintiffs, we have filed a writ of amparo that has been recently been admitted by the court. Collective actions are designed to allow access to justice to those who DO NOT have the means to litigate before the courts. To achieve this, judges must balance the lack of means of the class, against the disproportionate power of commercial corporations, and NOT the other way around.
In addition, in 2018 we have proposed and obtained the acceptance as evidence of new scientific studies. One of them, an official document already accepted by the judge as evidence, proves that the illicit (NOT allowed) dispersion of GM corn causes a combination of transgenes that have never been analyzed nor evaluated. The same study demonstrates the inadequacy of the government monitoring on this issue. Another study that has not yet been accepted by the court brings a meta-scientific analysis that demonstrates that modern biotechnology or genetic engineering produces unexpected consequences in crops.
For more information please write to: firstname.lastname@example.org
– January 5, 2018 (Translated from the original in Spanish)
by René Sanchez Galindo
According to Mexican Law, the plaintiffs in a class action are required to provide periodical reports on the status of the lawsuit to the entire class. In order to fulfill this requirement, the present document brings an update on the class action against genetically modified (GM) corn crops to all members of the class, that is, all users (or consumers) of corn biodiversity as an environmental human right in Mexico, countrywide. This update refers to the most recent lawsuits filed and rulings released by the federal courts. In this class action, we defend native corn landraces and wild relatives from the risk of planting GM corn. This is the case¥s 54th month of litigation with ramifications in 17 federal courts.
Temporary Injunction Against GM Corn Crops
Since September 2013, when the first injunction was granted to halt all permitting of GM corn crops countrywide, it has been challenged numerous times, but each and every appeals court called to review it has upheld the injunction, which remains firm up to this date.
Since 2013 the defendant transnational corporations, together with SAGARPA, have filed a total of 15 constitutional challenges (amparos) attempting to allow the planting of GM corn. The transnational industry and the federal government have tried to have the courts protect them against the judicial suspension of sowing. We have won 11 of these challenges and have managed to maintain the suspension in force.
This semester the First Collegiate Court in Civil Matters of the First Circuit partially resolved the package of 4 amparos that were pending to be resolved. In the public session on November 24, the three judges of this Court determined they lack the competence to decide whether a federal law is constitutional, or not; and taking into account that one of the transnational defendants challenged the constitutionality of Article 610, section IV, of the Federal Code of Civil Procedure, judges decided to send the case to the National Supreme Court of Justice.
Possible granting of some types of permits under judicial oversight
– In summary, all commercial and pre-commercial crop permits remain halted as a result of the court ruling; while permits with containment measures and with a scientific research purpose, could be suspended if judicial oversight demonstrates the ineffectiveness of the biosecurity measures.
– Between May 2016 and December 2017, the Mexican Agriculture and Environment Agencies (SAGARPA and SEMARNAT) have filled monthly reports to the federal court, although on some occasions we have had to request the court to order the delivery of reports for delays incurred.
– The government agencies state in their reports, including those submitted in December of 2017, that they have not granted or updated procedures for any type of permits for releasing or sowing GM corn.
– In case SAGARPA grants any of the authorized types of permits, such a permit will be subject to judicial control and oversight before, during and after the authorization. Scientific experts presented by the plaintiffs will have access to the judicial monitoring process and will be entitled to express their opinions and to challenge this process of various grounds including the utilization of Glyphosate, the presence of non-authorized GM corn, the scientific research itself, etc.
Summary of the Class Action Lawsuit
A declaratory judgment in the sense that if GM corn genes are found in native maize, then this will damage biodiversity, food, health, and the indigenous, rights of present and future generations. It also aims to deny all permits for the release or sowing of GM corn in Mexico.
Who filed the class action lawsuit?
53 people, scientists, peasant farmers, beekeepers, human rights groups, environmental activists, artists, and civil organizations, consumers all of them.
After 54 months of litigation, three stages have been completed: preliminary opening, lawsuit or class certification (in this stage we succeeded in 11 amparo lawsuits filed by the federal government and the transnational industry), and conciliation hearing where no settlement was achieved. Currently, we are in the phase of the legal challenges that the parties have promoted within the period of proposal and preparation of evidence.
In this semester we continue with the defense of the evidence that the Judge has refused to accept. We raise the need for an exhaustive judicial debate on the subject. We will maintain our legal actions until the end of the class action to defend that the Collectivity fully accesses justice.
As part of these actions, we are litigating two revocation challenges in which we request a response regarding the procedure that will be followed in our opposition to the translations offered and ratified by the defendant companies.
“Amidst a local court ruling to rescind the ban on GMO corn in 2015, the fight between the large agribusinesses companies like Monsanto and some locals persists over the growing of genetically modified (GMO) corn in Mexico.”
Mexico’s XII District Court has overturned a 2013 ruling that prevented biotech companies, including Monsanto and Syngenta, planting genetically modified (GM) maize in Mexico.
The decision has been appealed by Acción Colectiva del Maíz and will not come into force until the appeal/s have been heard and ruled on.
The tragic ruling follows two years of 93 appeals by the Biotech Industry after the planting of GMO Maize was banned in September 2013 by the Twelfth Federal District Court for Civil Matters of Mexico City. Judge Jaime Eduardo Verdugo J. cited “the risk of imminent harm to the environment” as the basis for the decision.
The 2013 judge’s ruling also ruled that multinationals like Monsanto and Pioneer were banned from the release of transgenic maize in the Mexican countryside” as long as collective action lawsuits initiated by citizens, farmers, scientists, and civil society organizations are working their way through the judicial system.
The group fighting for the GMO 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 extraordinary status as a major world center of food crop biodiversity and as the birthplace of the original varieties of maize.
(Article published in Sustainable Pulse, 20 August 2015)
MÉXICO, D.F. (apro).- El Juzgado XII de Distrito en Materia Civil del Primer Circuito canceló hoy la medida precautoria que impedía desde septiembre de 2013 a empresas transnacionales, entre ellas Monsanto y Syngenta, sembrar maíz genéticamente modificado en México.
The Mexican cultural heritage and way of life is at risk by genetically engineered corn. Corn is part of the daily lives of all Mexicans. Now and in the past. It is not only the staple food of Mexico, but it also has immense cultural value. Over a period of 8,000 years, Mexicans cultivated over a thousand types of corn that originated in this country only. The video shows what is at stake.Continue reading “Watch the video how genetically engineered corn is destroying Mexico”→