Guatemala mass mobilisations win in defeating the “Monsanto Law” pushed by US

Huge victory against GMOs and traditional knowledge loss in Guatemala, where mass mobilisation makes the Congress repealed the Monsanto Law


Description

In October 2014, after months of protests in the streets, the Guatemalan congress voted to repeal what was known as the ‘Monsanto Law,’ a Plant Variety Protection (PVP) law that would have made it illegal for farmers to reproduce seeds of privatised varieties. Prior to the announcement, the Constitutional Court had already agreed to suspend certain articles of the law. Farmers’ organisations had filed a lawsuit arguing that the law was unconstitutional because it violated Mayan peoples’ right to the traditional cultivation of their land and mass mobilisations started across the country. Taking the streets in the capital, farmers also blocked some of the main roads in the country. Even schools were closed in some communities so that the students could join the protests. Also artists and television celebrities have joined an online signature campaign to reject the law. The petition was addressed to the President, Otto Perez Molina, via the Avaaz website, and argues that the law is unconstitutional: "this law violates articles of the Constitution relating to the Protection of Individuals, Cultural Identity, Natural Heritage, Right to Health, the principles of the Economic and Social Regime, in addition to the obligation of the state to protect consumers."(1) The Monsanto Law had been introduced as required by the US-Dominican Republic-Central America free trade agreement (CAFTA) ratified by Guatemala in 2005. It is a free trade agreement between Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, the Dominican Republic, and the United States, which indeed requires signatories to adhere to the International Convention for the Protection of New Plant Varieties.

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Basic Data
NameGuatemala mass mobilisations win in defeating the “Monsanto Law” pushed by US
CountryGuatemala
Source of Conflict
Type of Conflict (1st level)Biomass and Land Conflicts (Forests, Agriculture and Livestock Management)
Type of Conflict (2nd level)GMOs
Biopiracy and bio-prospection
Intensive food production (monoculture and livestock)
Specific CommoditiesSeeds
Corn/Maize
Project Details and Actors
Type of PopulationRural
Start Date26/06/2012
End Date11/2014
Company Names or State EnterprisesMonsanto Corporation (Monsanto Co) from United States of America
Dupont from United States of America
Syngenta from Switzerland
Relevant government actors- Patriotic Party

- Renewed Democratic Freedom
Environmental justice organisations and other supporters- Rural Studies Collective (Cer-Ixim)

- National Alliance for Biodiversity Protection

- Millones contra Monsanto

- Association of Women Moving Sololá

- Asociacion Raxch’ och’ Oxlaju Aj (AROAJ)

- Colectivo Social por el Derecho a la Alimentación

- Indigenous Observatory

- Maya Ukux Be association

- Guatemalan Peasant Indigenous Workers Movement (MSICG)

- National Network in Defense of Food Sovereignty in Guatemala (REDSAG)

- Latin American Agroecological Movement (MAELA)
The Conflict and the Mobilization
Intensity of Conflict (at highest level)MEDIUM (street protests, visible mobilization)
When did the mobilization beginIn REACTION to the implementation (during construction or operation)
Groups MobilizingFarmers
Indigenous groups or traditional communities
Local ejos
Local government/political parties
Neighbours/citizens/communities
Social movements
Women
Ethnically/racially discriminated groups
Local scientists/professionals
Forms of MobilizationBlockades
Development of a network/collective action
Involvement of national and international NGOs
Public campaigns
Street protest/marches
Occupation of buildings/public spaces
Impacts
Environmental ImpactsPotential: Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Food insecurity (crop damage), Genetic contamination, Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation
Health ImpactsPotential: Exposure to unknown or uncertain complex risks (radiation, etc…), Malnutrition, Other environmental related diseases
Socio-economic ImpactsPotential: Loss of traditional knowledge/practices/cultures, Violations of human rights, Land dispossession, Increase in Corruption/Co-optation of different actors, Specific impacts on women, Loss of landscape/sense of place
Outcome
Project StatusStopped
Pathways for conflict outcome / responseCourt decision (victory for environmental justice)
New legislation
Project cancelled
Do you consider this as a success?Yes
Why? Explain briefly.Thank of the mass mobilisation, the Constitutional Court has intervened and has declared unconstitutional the Monsanto Law, forcing the Guatemala congress to vote to repeal the law.
Sources and Materials
Legislations

Decreto 19-2014, ¨Monsanto Law¨
[click to view]

Links

(2)GRAIN, Guatemala: mass mobilisations won a victory over a Monsanto Law
[click to view]

(1) Global Research, Guatemala Rejects U.S. Trade Law Protecting Monsanto and GMOs
[click to view]

Web site of the network Millones contra Monsanto
[click to view]

Colectivo Social por el Derecho a la Alimentación - Comunicado ante Ley Monsanto
[click to view]

Media Links

photo of an activist protesting
[click to view]

street protest against the Monsanto Law
[click to view]

street protest in Guatemala City
[click to view]

Nim Sanik, Maya Kaqchikel giving a press conference Chimaltenangro
[click to view]

Lolita Chavez, Maya Quiché outside the Constitutional Court in Guatemala City
[click to view]

street protests against seeds privatisation
[click to view]

In Sololá, hundreds of campesinos mobilised to oppose the “Monsanto Law”
[click to view]

Other Documents

Street protest against Monsanto law http://www.bilaterals.org/IMG/jpg/-96.jpg
[click to view]

[click to view]

Nim Sanik, Maya Kaqchikel giving a press conference Chimaltenangro
[click to view]

Lolita Chavez, Maya Quiché outside the Constitutional Court in Guatemala City
[click to view]

street protests against seeds privatisation
[click to view]

In Sololá, hundreds of campesinos mobilised to oppose the “Monsanto Law”
[click to view]

Street protest in Guatemala city
[click to view]

Meta Information
ContributorCarolina Modena
Last update05/08/2015
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