Argentina Protests Monsanto Toxicity and GMO Plant

Activists mobilized across the country to stand in solidarity with communities affected by Monsanto and reject the eviction of a Monsanto protest camp.

Hundreds of demonstrators took to the streets in Argentina to protest Monsanto following news of an impending eviction at a key resistance camp blocking a huge Monsanto GMO seed plant in the agricultural province of Cordoba.

Protests in Buenos Aires and other major cities on Friday slammed Monsanto over the dangers of widespread use of toxic agrochemicals on large-scale export crops like GMO soy and corn that cover large swathes of agricultural areas, shouting slogans like “Monsanto, get out!”

“Buenos Aires says no to Monsanto!”

The protests stood in solidarity with the Monsanto blockade in the Malvinas Argentinas municipality in the province of Cordoba, where a resistance camp has managed to suspend construction of a new Monsanto GMO seed plant.

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The camp was recently handed down an eviction notice, prompting the day of action against Monsanto’s project in Malvinas Argentinas and ongoing presence across the country.

Activists set up the blockade in 2013, self-organized under the banner of being “in favor of food sovereignty and life.” The camp has successfully blocked the completion of the GMO plant.

“In Rosario we also say “Out with Monsanto!” Against agrochemicals, for food sovereignty and our people!”

The latest wave of anti-Monsanto protests come after Buenos Aires Governor Maria Eugenia Vidal appointed former Monsanto executive Leonardo Sarquis as the Minister of Agriculture in the province. Sarquis was the general manager of Monsanto's vegetable seed division for Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay from 2005 to 2007.

President Mauricio Macri has also shown his support for big agribusiness in his first month in office. In a move he promoted as a boost to agricultural production, Macri scrapped export taxes on big agricultural corporations producing corn, wheat, and beef, and lowered taxes on soybeans, eliminating a key funding source of social programs and infrastructure governments under his Kirchnerist predecessors.

“Malvinas resists for life!”

Argentina is the world’s largest soybean producer, and Monsanto sees the country as a target for future growth.

According to activists, the province of Cordoba where Monsanto wants to build the GMO plant is suffering an “environmental emergency.”

The movement against Monsanto, agrochemicals, and GMOs in Argentina is part of a larger mobilization of social organizations and researchers across Latin America that have also spoken out against Monsanto products in pursuit of wider ban of the biotechnology company in the region.

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Published 9 January 2016