The genetic erosion caused by the introduction of transgenic maize varieties has led to a hybridization of indigenous varieties, endangering the future of native maize and thus handing over the food chain to pharmaceutical and agro-industrial multinationals that have been trying to enforce global production of transgenic food plants.
On September 14, 2004, an anthropomorphic jade figurine of the god of corn, Hun Nal Ye, considered a world heritage site, was stolen from the Museum of the Republic, in the former Presidential House of Honduras, while the wedding was taking place there. of members of the national oligarchy. The statuette of the God of Corn was carved in jade and found in 2001 by the Japanese archaeologist Seiichi Nakamura, when more than 30 tombs and bones belonging to 16 Mayan kings were discovered.
For the inhabitants of the territory known as Mesoamerica, corn is the basis of our culture. As we know from reading the Popol Vuh, the sacred book of the Quiche, Hun Nal Ye goes down to the underworld in search of the hidden mountain of maintenance, the place where the ears of yellow corn, sapalotes, red, chalk, black were kept. and white. Hun Nal Ye himself is a central character at the time of Mayan genesis, when he travels in the crocodile canoe and waters the seeds of corn (the Pleiades) on the hearth of the universe (Orion). This astronomical phenomenon repeats itself twice a year (February 3 and August 11) and marks the creation of the world and the beginning of the Mayan New Year.
The deplorable loss of the anthropomorphic piece of jade is nothing compared to the genetic theft that is being perpetrated today, and that has been brewing for decades. The genetic erosion caused by the introduction of transgenic maize varieties has led to a hybridization of indigenous varieties, endangering the future of native maize and thus handing over the food chain to pharmaceutical and agro-industrial multinationals that have been trying to enforce global production of transgenic food plants.
Since 2002, Mr. Pepe Lobo planted the B Th maize variety in the Guayape Valley, Olancho, without taking the precautionary measures required by an open-pollinated plant, especially in the place of origin of the species. At the same time that the WFP (World Food Program) has distributed among its donations the BT 1 and Starlink maize, which was withdrawn from the United States market, as it was considered unfit for human consumption. Biodetection tests carried out in Guatemala, Nicaragua, Colombia and Bolivia, have indicated the presence of starlink maize in WFP donations.
If this last assertion is verified in the case of Honduras, we can say that most of the local species have already been contaminated with a maize not suitable for human consumption, a situation that we can dare to call a sabotage of the diet of the Honduran people.
On the subject of biofuels misnamed biofuel, especially corn-based ethanol, last year triggered the withdrawal by the United States of 40 million tons of corn. It immediately involved a shortage of supplies that led to a sudden increase in price, a situation that affects the poorest strata on the planet. Ethanol production in the USA is absorbing the corn surpluses that have already served for years to invade local markets and put indigenous people and peasants in a more than precarious situation.
The export of subsidized corn from the United States for decades has wreaked havoc among local producers, who gradually abandoned the production of the cereal, given the unfair competition that arose. Now ethanol is becoming the new market for corn, while the tortilla in Mesoamerica is skyrocketing at prices unknown to a people that is sinking deeper into poverty every day.
The position initially assumed by the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock (SAG) in the middle of this year to stop the production of transgenic corn in the country, was modified given the pressure of the agro-industrial transnationals and the Ministry of Natural Resources (SERNA ) that invoked the Free Trade Agreement with the United States (CAFTA) to suspend the SAG initiative.
The loss of food security in recent decades has been exacerbated by the skyrocketing rise in oil last year. The boom it has caused in the production of agrofuels weighs on the diet of the poorest countries, which see an increase in the sowing of oilseed plants, sugar cane and corn, destined for energy production, leaving food to a low level. background.
The era of agrofuels promotes the cultivation of transgenic corn, and of course it is the opportunity that the pharmaceutical and agro-industrial transnationals - especially Monsanto - that produce genetically modified seeds were waiting for, to flood Mesoamerica with transgenic varieties of corn, of the same the way they did with soy in Argentina.
One of our biggest concerns is health. The cases that have been presented with Starlink corn and Libertylink rice, transgenic products in which the damage they cause to human health has been corroborated.
At the last meeting of the Central American agriculture ministers, they determined the zoning of the planting of transgenic corn in the countries of the isthmus. Planting by departments is not a guarantee to avoid the transfer of transgenic seeds and contamination to the areas supposedly designated as "genetic islands". At the same time as maize distributed as part of food aid, it can be the source of severe genetic erosion. When the Central American ministers met, they ignored the application of Convention 169 on Indigenous Peoples, which gives the peoples the power to decide on the form of development that is beneficial to them.
The assertions of scientists associated with agricultural research centers (Zamorano), which exclude the risks that the planting of transgenics may entail; they are unaware of cultural and ancestral factors. Corn was not invented by MONSANTO, it is the product of hundreds of years of innovations made by the original peoples of Mesoamerica, who transformed the grass known as teosinte into what we know today as corn. Consequently, the intervention of pharmaceutical and agro-industrial companies is nothing more than a blatant theft of our traditional knowledge. This theft is a flagrant violation of Articles 8j and 10c of the Convention on Biological Diversity and Convention 169, which have been signed and ratified by the State of Honduras, and incidentally, is binding.
Honduras signed the Biosafety Protocol, known as the Cartagena Protocol, however it has not ratified it. This is an essential international agreement to avoid the massive introduction of seeds and to regulate the importation of processed food that contains GMOs and thus avoid the introduction of food products that contain traces of GMOs.
Hun Nal Ye, one of the creators of the world, is about to become the property of Monsanto, Dupont, Aventis, Bayer and other pirates of life. The sons and daughters of corn, copal and land, from Iselaca and Lempira, demand respect for our biodiversity, our millenary heritage such as corn, our culture, ancestral knowledge and health, we demand that the import, transfer, cultivation and commercialization of transgenic seeds, especially transgenic corn and we demand an end to transnational looting and national businessmen.
For the Lenca People,
Civic Council of Popular and Indigenous Organizations of Honduras, COPINH.
With the ancestral strength of Iselaca, Lempira, Etempica and Mota, our voices of life, justice, freedom, dignity and peace are raised!