Chavismo Against GM Seed Contamination
by Stephen Lendman
Genetically modified (GM) foods and ingredients are hazardous to human health. In America alone, virtually all processed foods contain them. Consumers don’t know what they’re eating because Congress prohibited labeling.
The danger is clear and unequivocal. Independent studies show serious potential health problems are linked to their consumption.
They never should have been approved in the first place. They should be banned straightaway, their sales prohibited henceforth.
Instead, US and other consumers are part of an unregulated mass human experiment, the results unknown so far. When available, it’ll be too late to reverse the enormous damage done.
Science has no way to reverse contamination of over two-thirds of arable US farmland, its crops unsafe to eat.
Last year, Russia banned GMOs, urged more organic food production. China banned GMO corn. Dozens of countries require labeling.
In Venezuela, Monsanto and other Ag giants tried circumventing Hugo Chavez’s GM seed ban. A proposed 2013 seed law introduced by a ruling PSUV party member was criticized for allowing back door entry. More on this below.
A revised law entirely banned GM seeds. Chavez prevented the planting of 500,000 acres of Monsanto’s GM corn seeds alone. Venezuelan farmers overwhelming oppose all GM crops.
Article 27 of Venezuela’s Constitution states the following:
“It is the right and duty of each generation to protect and maintain the environment for its own benefit and that of the world of the future.”
“Everyone has the right, individually and collectively, to enjoy a safe, healthful and ecologically balanced life and environment.”
“The State shall protect the environment, biological and genetic diversity, ecological processes, national parks and natural monuments, and other areas of particular ecological importance.”
“The genome of a living being shall not be patentable, and the field shall be regulated by the law relating to the principles of bioethics.”
“It is a fundamental duty of the State, with the active participation of society, to ensure that the populace develops in a pollution-free environment in which air, water, soil, coasts, climate, the ozone layer and living species receive special protection, in accordance with law.”
At the same time, GM seeds weren’t specifically banned, nor the consumption of GM crops. In June 2013, PSUV National Assembly member Jose Urena introduced new seed legislation, banning transgenic crops – stating none may be used “without the corresponding certification of biological harmlessness issued by the National Seed Institute” – a glaring loophole.
Unequivocal prohibition is needed, no exceptions allowed. GMOs are too hazardous to human health to permit – in Venezuela or anywhere else.
On June 4, 2015, the Presidential Council on Communes, representing communal councils nationwide, comprised of citizen and government members, approved new seed legislation – for submission to National Assembly members for debate.
It was approved, affirming state authorities will promote sustainable, safe to human health, agriculture. It rejects production, distribution, sale and importation of GM seeds – henceforth banned in Venezuela.
A national seed institution will be created to audit and control seed supply and use – to identify, prevent and punish GM seed violators.
Peasant seed is protected, the result of natural cross-breeding, long part of Venezuelan culture. Post-December 6 elections, won by opposition party members, everything is uncertain going forward.
Chavismo faces its greatest challenge. Chavistas intend going all-out to protect hard-won gains, too vital to lose – including safe food to eat, free from GM contamination.
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