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National Union of Autonomous Regional Peasant Organizations (UNORCA)
By Krystal Kilhart
July 19th, 2016
Since its implementation in 1994 the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) has had a devastating impact on our partners and the people of Mexico. The trade agreement has resulted in the destruction of rural livelihoods and the environment, a decrease in jobs and wages, more economic and social inequalities and an increase in human rights violations.
NAFTA was promoted on the premise of creating more economic opportunity yet 52.2% of Mexican people live in poverty, approximately the same level as when NAFTA went into effect, and Mexico’s gross domestic product per capita has grown at an insignificant rate of 0.89 percent per year, much slower than almost every other Latin American country.
By Carol Schachet
October 31st, 2013
Carlos Henríquez can talk about fertilizer for hours. He knows what mix of ingredients will help certain crops grow better, the right “recipe” for creating well-balanced compost and fertilizers, the best ways to keep moisture in the soil even in dry spells.
In an unprecedented move last week, a Federal Mexican Tribunal suspended authorization for the planting of all genetically modified corn by transnational corporations such as Monsanto, Pioneer and Syngenta. The Tribunal recognized the legal interests of 53 individuals and 20 civil associations that filed a class action lawsuit against the Ministries of Agriculture and Environment, the federal government and the transnational corporations that applied for permits to plant transgenic corn. While this decision is not a permanent one, it is a groundbreaking victory in preventing commercial GMO plantations until the collective action lawsuit is resolved.
On May 13, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in favor of agro-chemical giant Monsanto and against small farmers on a seed patent case. This is just another example of the attacks faced by small farmers around the world. Our global partners have been fighting against international corporations like Monsanto for years—in Haiti, Mexico, and right here in the United States.
“The Conquistadors came and they subjugated us and they killed us, but they couldn’t make us disappear because we always had corn. Through corn, we survived and we kept our feet in our territories. With corn at the center of our homes we kept our languages, kept writing our histories. We continued as villages, as families, as workers, as fighters, as a community with our own government, because we had and because we have corn. Now, with the invasion of genetically modified corn they are trying to throw a mortal blow at our existence, the blow that they have not been able to throw in 500 years.”
--The Organizations and Communities of the Network in Defense of Maize (Translated from Spanish from the article El maíz, corazón de la esperanza de los pueblos—Corn, heart or the hope of the village—by Veronica Villa of the Red Maiz—Network in Defense of Corn)
Below is a letter from the National Union of Autonomous Regional Peasant Organizations (UNORCA) to officials in Mexico. UNORCA members began a hunger strike last week to prevent Monsanto from large-scale planting of genetically modified corn. They have called for international support in their efforts to protect their the biodiversity of this essential seed and staple of their lives.
Local residents from San Dionisio del Mar (Isthmus of Tehuantepec, Oaxaca, Mexico) are protesting the construction of a huge wind farm in their community. Their prolonged and energetic resistance has been met with violent repression and even death threats made against several opposition leaders.
To take action in support of the community, click here.
By Claire Gilbert and Saulo Araujo
By Alisa Pimentel
Among the almost 20,000 activists gathered in Detroit for the US Social Forum this week are several Grassroots International partners and allies. Grassroots International regularly provides funding to our partners and allies to participate in movement-building and leadership development gatherings.
Last month, I traveled to Cochabamba, Bolivia for a number of reasons. The main one was to attend the World People’s Conference on Climate Change and the Rights of Mother Earth. Many of Grassroots International’s partners from Latin America, Asia and Africa were also there – some of whom we supported to attend – and it was a great opportunity for me to meet with them and with many of our allies in one central location. They were all at the conference because for them the climate crisis is immediate in its impact and not some theoretical scenario for the future.