In July 2013, Sin Maíz, No hay País, a coalition of 53 individuals and 20 civil society organizations—including OCA’s Mexico team—filed a lawsuit challenging the Mexican government’s process for granting permits to Monsanto and other biotech firms for planting GMO corn. The lawsuit aims to prevent the damage that will be caused to future generations of Mexicans by the commercial planting of genetically modified corn in Mexico. (See our previous article for more details).
As we near the end of 2016, the lawsuit has been subjected to 102 appeals/contests of the federal government businesses on trial, 26 writ of amparos, 16 appeals, 15 complaints and seven objections.
Could it be that the Mexican governmental agencies such as SAGARPA (Mexico’s Secretariat of Agriculture, Livestock, Rural Development, Fisheries and Food Products) and SEMARNAT (Natural Resources Secretariat)—agencies responsible for protecting Mexico’s environment and the public health—are following the lead of U.S. regulatory agencies like the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)? By doing their best to wear down the coalition and its supporters? Rather than protect the public’s interests?
Support for this trial has come from many sectors of civil society who have joined the defense of native corn, including the community of the most famous chefs in the country (Enrique Olvera among them); singer Lila Downs; master Francisco Toledo, renowned painter who has spoken out against GM corn through various works of art, and of musical artists, filmmakers and theater producers.
The case has received tremendous support from various flagship organizations in Mexico, Latin America and other countries including, Greenpeace, the Union of Concerned Scientists, Yo no quiero transgénicos, Chile, Organic Consumers Association, and the group Environmental Biodiversity of Costa Rica, have all campaigned in defense of traditional corn.
But support from the Mexican government's regulatory agencies? Not so much.