Time is on my side, yes it is!
Another year is ending in which the struggles of the peoples of corn, in various ways, continue to impede the release of genetically modified [GM] corn in Mexico, its center of origin. It is an issue of global importance and a breath of fresh air in the face of such disaster that the country is living through, with a State that massacres daughters and sons, young people, peasants, indigenous people.
Corn is one of the three main staple food grains across the planet, and it is the greatest agricultural feat that humanity has inherited. The foods we eat were not originally as we know them today. All the seeds cultivated in the world are the result of collective care, of the mutual breeding that indigenous and peasant communities have been doing for centuries, converting the seeds into the heritage of the peoples in the service of humanity, as reviewed in La Via Campesina [The Peasant Way]. From the teocintle, which is almost a grass, Mesoamerican communities created a plant with ears that presents an enormous variety of colors, sizes, flavors, properties, and that grows from the hotlands at sea level up into the cold mountains at altitudes of 3,000 meters [9,800 feet]. When the conquistadores arrived, corn was grown from Canada to Tierra del Fuego. Corn is a humanized plant: it neither exists nor multiplies without the action of human beings. But its pollen is spread on the wind and by insects and birds. Corn marries with other corn varieties, and those [hybrids] with still others, moving, brightening both themselves and us, coming back to grow again thanks to peasant hands that take in the corn, feed it and from it feed themselves and feed us.
Monsanto, DuPont-Pioneer, Syngenta, Dow, have about 95 percent of the global market for GM seeds. In turn, Monsanto and DuPont (through its subsidiary PHI Mexico) control 95 percent of the market for hybrid corn seed in Mexico. These powerful companies cannot believe that they have still failed to legalize the cultivation of GM corn in Mexico, especially when the official trend has been to deliver the nation’s wealth to the higher transnational bidder. The government authorized hundreds of thousands of hectares of GM cotton and soybeans and since September 2012, it wanted to authorize the commercial planting of GM corn. It came up against widespread resistance from the peoples, social movements and organizations, environmentalists, intellectuals, artists, scientist critics, consumers, both nationally and internationally, that blocked it.
Since then, these companies, together with SAGARPA [Secretariat of Agriculture, Livestock, Rural Development, Fisheries and Food] and SEMARNAT [Secretariat of the Environment and Natural Resources], have presented 90 appeals in various courts, trying to reverse the suspension. All have failed. This case of the State working with multinationals against the public interest and for the transfer of ownership of one of the country’s vital assets, is one of the examples that the TPP used to demonstrate the diversion of power systematically engaged in by the Mexican State.
“The Permanent Peoples’ Tribunal Mexico Chapter, is simultaneously witness and midwife of a new reality. They, up there, have the timepiece. You and us, down here, we have the time.”