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Huge victory against GMOs and traditional knowledge loss in Guatemala, where mass mobilisation makes the Congress repealed the Monsanto Law


<div class="horipane"><div class="title active">Description</div><div class="content"><table class="table"><tbody><tr><td class="fld"></td><td class="columns"><div class="less">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)</div><a class="seemore" href="#">See more...</a><div class="more" style="display:none">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.<br/><br/>The law would have meant that if farmers replanted, transported or sold PVP-protected seeds without permission they would be acting illegally. Under the law, they would have faced between one and four years in jail, and fines of between 1,000 and 10,000 quetzals (US$130-1,300).<br/><br/>Although the repeal of the ‘Monsanto Law’ has been hailed in the media as a major victory, Guatemalan organisations see it only as a partial one. There is still an earlier law, the Industrial Property Law, passed in 2000, that contains similar provisions. As a result, farmers – who make up 70 per cent of the population – vow to continue mobilising in order challenge the Industrial Property law and remain vigilant towards any reintroduction of a PVP bill.(2)<br/><br/><a class="seeless" href="#">(See less)</a></div></td></tr></tbody></table></div></div><div class="horipane"><div class="title active">Basic Data</div><div class="content"><table class="table"><tbody><tr><td class="fld">Name</td><td>Guatemala mass mobilisations win in defeating the “Monsanto Law” pushed by US</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Country</td><td><a href="/country/guatemala">Guatemala</a></td></tr></tbody></table></div></div><div class="horipane"><div class="title active">Source of Conflict</div><div class="content"><table class="table"><tbody><tr><td class="fld">Type of Conflict (1st level)</td><td>Biomass and Land Conflicts (Forests, Agriculture and Livestock Management)</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Type of Conflict (2nd level)</td><td>GMOs<br /> Biopiracy and bio-prospection<br /> Intensive food production (monoculture and livestock)</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Specific Commodities</td><td>Seeds<br /><a href='/commodity/corn-maize'>Corn/Maize</a></td></tr></tbody></table></div></div><div class="horipane"><div class="title active">Project Details and Actors</div><div class="content"><table class="table"><tbody><tr><td class="fld">Type of Population</td><td>Rural</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Start Date</td><td>26/06/2012</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">End Date</td><td>11/2014</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Company Names or State Enterprises</td><td><a href='/company/monsanto-corporation'>Monsanto Corporation <small>(Monsanto Co)</small></a> from <a href='/country-of-company/united-states-of-america'><small>United States of America </small></a><br /><a href='/company/dupont'>Dupont</a> from <a href='/country-of-company/united-states-of-america'><small>United States of America </small></a><br /><a href='/company/syngenta'>Syngenta</a> from <a href='/country-of-company/switzerland'><small>Switzerland</small></a></td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Relevant government actors</td><td>- Patriotic Party<br/><br/>- Renewed Democratic Freedom</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Environmental justice organisations and other supporters</td><td>- Rural Studies Collective (Cer-Ixim)<br/><br/>- National Alliance for Biodiversity Protection<br/><br/>- Millones contra Monsanto<br/><br/>- Association of Women Moving Sololá<br/><br/>- Asociacion Raxch’ och’ Oxlaju Aj (AROAJ)<br/><br/>- Colectivo Social por el Derecho a la Alimentación<br/><br/>- Indigenous Observatory<br/><br/>- Maya Ukux Be association<br/><br/>- Guatemalan Peasant Indigenous Workers Movement (MSICG) <br/><br/>- National Network in Defense of Food Sovereignty in Guatemala (REDSAG)<br/><br/>- Latin American Agroecological Movement (MAELA)</td></tr></tbody></table></div></div><div class="horipane"><div class="title active">The Conflict and the Mobilization</div><div class="content"><table class="table"><tbody><tr><td class="fld">Intensity of Conflict (at highest level)</td><td>MEDIUM (street protests, visible mobilization)</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">When did the mobilization begin</td><td>In REACTION to the implementation (during construction or operation)</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Groups Mobilizing</td><td>Farmers<br /> Indigenous groups or traditional communities<br /> Local ejos<br /> Local government/political parties<br /> Neighbours/citizens/communities<br /> Social movements<br /> Women<br /> Ethnically/racially discriminated groups<br /> Local scientists/professionals</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Forms of Mobilization</td><td>Blockades<br /> Development of a network/collective action<br /> Involvement of national and international NGOs<br /> Public campaigns<br /> Street protest/marches<br /> Occupation of buildings/public spaces</td></tr></tbody></table></div></div><div class="horipane"><div class="title active">Impacts</div><div class="content"><table class="table"><tbody><tr><td class="fld">Environmental Impacts</td><td><strong>Potential: </strong>Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Food insecurity (crop damage), Genetic contamination, Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Health Impacts</td><td><strong>Potential: </strong>Exposure to unknown or uncertain complex risks (radiation, etc…), Malnutrition, Other environmental related diseases</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Socio-economic Impacts</td><td><strong>Potential: </strong>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</td></tr></tbody></table></div></div><div class="horipane"><div class="title active">Outcome</div><div class="content"><table class="table"><tbody><tr><td class="fld">Project Status</td><td>Stopped</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Pathways for conflict outcome / response</td><td>Court decision (victory for environmental justice)<br /> New legislation<br /> Project cancelled</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Do you consider this as a success?</td><td>Yes</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Why? Explain briefly.</td><td>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.</td></tr></tbody></table></div></div><div class="horipane"><div class="title active">Sources and Materials</div><div class="content"><table class="table"><tbody><tr><td class="fld">Legislations</td><td><table><tr><td><p> Decreto 19-2014, ¨Monsanto Law¨<br/><a class="refanch small" href="http://www.minfin.gob.gt/downloads/leyes_acuerdos/decreto19_260614.pdf" target="_blank">[click to view]</a></p></td></tr></table></td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Links</td><td><table><tr><td><p> (2)GRAIN, Guatemala: mass mobilisations won a victory over a Monsanto Law<br/><a class="refanch small" href="http://www.grain.org/article/entries/5147-seed-laws-that-criminalise-farmers-additional-country-experiences" target="_blank">[click to view]</a></p></td></tr><tr><td><p> (1) Global Research, Guatemala Rejects U.S. Trade Law Protecting Monsanto and GMOs<br/><a class="refanch small" href="http://www.globalresearch.ca/guatemala-rejects-u-s-trade-law-protecting-monsanto-and-gmos/5400007" target="_blank">[click to view]</a></p></td></tr><tr><td><p> Web site of the network Millones contra Monsanto<br/><a class="refanch small" href="http://millonescontramonsanto.org/quienes-somos/" target="_blank">[click to view]</a></p></td></tr><tr><td><p> Colectivo Social por el Derecho a la Alimentación - Comunicado ante Ley Monsanto<br/><a class="refanch small" href="http://www.scribd.com/doc/236530194/20140811-Colectivo-Social-por-el-Derecho-a-la-Alimentacion-Comunicado-ante-Ley-Monsanto-pdf" target="_blank">[click to view]</a></p></td></tr></table></td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Media Links</td><td><table><tr><td><p> photo of an activist protesting<br/><a class="refanch small" href="http://www.bilaterals.org/IMG/jpg/-94.jpg" target="_blank">[click to view]</a></p></td></tr><tr><td><p> street protest against the Monsanto Law<br/><a class="refanch small" href="http://www.bilaterals.org/IMG/jpg/-96.jpg" target="_blank">[click to view]</a></p></td></tr><tr><td><p> street protest in Guatemala City<br/><a class="refanch small" href="http://revolution-news.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/BxHjuYHCMAA_8ka.png" target="_blank">[click to view]</a></p></td></tr><tr><td><p> Nim Sanik, Maya Kaqchikel giving a press conference Chimaltenangro<br/><a class="refanch small" href="https://intercontinentalcry.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/0-1-0-gmonsanto1.jpg" target="_blank">[click to view]</a></p></td></tr><tr><td><p> Lolita Chavez, Maya Quiché outside the Constitutional Court in Guatemala City<br/><a class="refanch small" href="https://i1.wp.com/intercontinentalcry.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/0-1-0-gmonsanto6.jpg" target="_blank">[click to view]</a></p></td></tr><tr><td><p> street protests against seeds privatisation<br/><a class="refanch small" href="http://www.bilaterals.org/IMG/jpg/-79.jpg" target="_blank">[click to view]</a></p></td></tr><tr><td><p> In Sololá, hundreds of campesinos mobilised to oppose the “Monsanto Law”<br/><a class="refanch small" href="http://wagingnonviolence.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/IMG_7488.jpg" target="_blank">[click to view]</a></p></td></tr></table></td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Other Documents</td><td><table><tr><td><p><strong>Street protest against Monsanto law http://www.bilaterals.org/IMG/jpg/-96.jpg </strong> <br/><a class="refanch small" href="https://file.ejatlas.org/docs/-94.jpg" target="_blank">[click to view]</a></p></td></tr><tr><td><p> <a class="refanch small" href="https://file.ejatlas.org/docs/-96.jpg" target="_blank">[click to view]</a></p></td></tr><tr><td><p><strong>Nim Sanik, Maya Kaqchikel giving a press conference Chimaltenangro</strong> <br/><a class="refanch small" href="https://file.ejatlas.org/docs/0-1-0-gmonsanto1.jpg" target="_blank">[click to view]</a></p></td></tr><tr><td><p><strong>Lolita Chavez, Maya Quiché outside the Constitutional Court in Guatemala City</strong> <br/><a class="refanch small" href="https://file.ejatlas.org/docs/0-1-0-gmonsanto6.jpg" target="_blank">[click to view]</a></p></td></tr><tr><td><p><strong>street protests against seeds privatisation</strong> <br/><a class="refanch small" href="https://file.ejatlas.org/docs/-79.jpg" target="_blank">[click to view]</a></p></td></tr><tr><td><p><strong>In Sololá, hundreds of campesinos mobilised to oppose the “Monsanto Law”</strong> <br/><a class="refanch small" href="https://file.ejatlas.org/docs/IMG_7488.jpg" target="_blank">[click to view]</a></p></td></tr><tr><td><p><strong>Street protest in Guatemala city</strong> <br/><a class="refanch small" href="https://file.ejatlas.org/docs/BxHjuYHCMAA_8ka.png" target="_blank">[click to view]</a></p></td></tr></table></td></tr></tbody></table></div></div><div class="horipane"><div class="title active">Meta Information</div><div class="content"><table class="table"><tbody><tr><td class="fld">Contributor</td><td>Carolina Modena</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Last update</td><td>05/08/2015</td></tr></tbody></table></div></div>
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