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Friday, November 23, 2012

GMO Corn•Maiz Protests - Nov. 24-Dec. 2

In an ongoing effort to prevent the introduction of Genetically Modified Corn Seeds (GMO) into Costa Rica, a
“Walk to Defend Our Corn”

will begin in Guanacaste on Saturday, November 24th, and will proceed across the country to San Jose, finishing in La Sabana Park on Sunday, December 2nd.

Donations of food and money are still needed and additional volunteers to walk are welcome.

As previously reported in The Costa Rica News, a loose confederation of environmental groups and individuals known as Bloque Verde held a demonstration on November 6 to put pressure on the Ministerio de Agricultura y Ganaderia (MAG) as they consider an application to use GMO corn seeds produced by Monsanto. On the same day the BioDiversity Commission, which will ultimately decide the issue, voted to delay any decision until early December. The multi-day Walk to Defend Our Corn is the next action the group is taking to further their cause. They also are circulating a petition online and in person to present to MAG as evidence of public opposition to GMO seeds in Costa Rica.

(Protesters gather in front of MAG)
On the final day of the walk, volunteers and supporters will meet in La Sabana Park, diagonal to Channel 7, to participate in art workshops to make signs, paint masks and create other visual paraphernalia with which to educate the public and to express their objections to GMO products. On Monday, December 3rd, the group will proceed at 8am to MAG where they will protest in front of the authorities.

At press time almost two dozen individuals had agreed to make the complete walk, with a number of additional persons joining in for different segments along the way. Walkers will be provided with lodging at each stop by host families that support their efforts. Organizers say the technique of a multi-day hike is one that was used successfully against the gold mine in Crucitas a few years ago and they hope for a similar achievement in encouraging the public to fight against the introduction of GMO seeds.

(Tico farmers join protest)
According to a report last year in Huffington Post, scientific studies have linked Monsanto’s GMO corn seeds to serious health issues in mammals. The study, which was published by the International Journal of Biological Sciences, showed negative effects on the liver and kidneys, two major detoxification organs in the body. In addition, “statistically significant disturbances” were found in heart, adrenal, spleen and blood cells of the test animals.

The Walk to Defend Our Corn organizers note that corn is an ancestral product in Costa Rica, the basis of Central American food supplies, and is based on open pollination of native plants. It is possible that such “TransGenicos,” or GMO seeds, can contaminate ancestral plants and could thus damage indigenous agriculture and wreak havoc on family farms and organic farming.

The Walk will take the following route:
Saturday  -  November 24th
          Beginning by car from Feria Aranjuez to Fedeagua en Nicoya, Guanacaste

Sunday  -  November 25:
          From Matambú-Nicoya to Las Juntas de Abangares, passing through the La Amistad Bridge.

Monday  -  November 26:
          Walk from Las Juntas to Esparza.

Tuesday  -  November 27:
Walk from Esparza to San Ramón.

Wednesday  -  November 28:
Walk from San Ramón to Naranjo.

Thursday  -  November 29:
Walk from Naranjo to Grecia.

Friday  -  December 30:
Walk from Grecia to Alajuela.

Saturday  -  December 1st:
Walk from Alajuela to Heredia. Here there will be a big welcome at the National University (UNA) with concerts, activities, etc.

Sunday  -  December 2:
Walk from Heredia to La Sabana. Creative Workshop at the park to paint, create, make signs, etc. for the manifest on Monday, December 3rd  -  8am.

Monday  -  December 3:
          The BioCommission meets and votes on allowing the entry or not of transgenic seeds into Costa Rica.

Report by Kat Sunlove, M.A.  -  Kat blogs about her life as an expat in Costa Rica at FabulistadeCR.blogspot.com

SOURCE:  TheCostaRicaNews.com/direct-action-alert-genetically-modified-crops-threaten-costa-rican-agriculture/13796


Marchers will tour country opposing modified corn
SOURCE:  AMCostaRica.com -  November 14, 2012

Opponents of genetically modified corn plan to march around the country from Nov. 25 until Dec. 2 when they will end up in a vigil at the Ministerio de Agricultura y Ganadería in La Sabana.

The object of the protest is corn produced by Monsanto that resists weed killers. That means a farmer can spray a product like Roundup on a field without killing the corn. The local subsidiary of Monsanto is seeking permission to use the seeds of this variety in Costa Rica. The appeal is to the Comisión Técnica Nacional en Bioseguridad.

Opponents argue that the pollen from the Monsanto corn will invade the genetic structure of local corn and that the corn is a health risk.

The opponents cite a September study by a French research team that has been generally dismissed as flawed.

The march is being organized by the Red por una América Latina Libre de Transgénicos. Also involved is the organizations Amigos de la Tierra and the Bloque Verde.

Amigos de la Tierra also is promoting on its Web site a march against what they say is police repression. The march is Thursday and stemmed from the confrontation between police and a group of protesters that included lawmakers and rowdy students last Thursday.

Amigos de la Tierra organization also opposes free trade and foreign investment.


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