Argentina: Activists Brings Monsanto Plant to a Halt*
By Christina Sarich
Argentina has won a historic court proceeding against Monsanto following heavy protest. The court has halted the construction of a 1.5 billion peso ($192 million) Monsanto GMO seed plant. Local authorities cite environmental impact as part of their refusal to let Monsanto expand their seed-monopoly.
The Cordoba province is offering some hefty inspiration to those who would like to halt Monsanto in their suicide-seed making plans.
Clashes with protestors since last March caused the construction project to be put on hold with only 30% of the work being completed. The office of Cordoba Governor José Manuel de la Sota said in a statement late Monday that the biotech company did not identify relevant impacts to the environment and resulting mitigating measures.
Monsanto seems undeterred though. Pablo Vaquero, Monsanto’s director of sustainability and corporate affairs for Latin America South, said in an interview that they were starting from scratch to try to prepare a new environmental assessment to meet the province’s standards. Likely it will be funded with dirty money, and hopefully the protestors will stay adamant that no new Monsanto seed plants should be built in their country.
Monsanto believes it can asses the air, soil, and water at the site ‘within a few months,’ to assure citizens that their seed is not an environmental hazard, but the long-term affects of Monsanto seed planting is just now coming to light. The extended harm of Bt cotton, for example, comes across in studies just now, though the crop has been planted across the US for more than a decade.
Small groups of environmental activists are camping outside the construction site in the mean time, blocking the road and preventing vehicles from coming in or out. It’s a small sacrifice to save the future of this planet, but a big statement in a country that is planted heavily with Monsanto seed already. This is a first-round win, but there will be more battles to come, since the biotech giant already has a strong foothold in Mexico, Argentina and other South and Central American countries.