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In Argentina, a March on the ‘Global Day of Action Against Monsanto’

Protesta del año 2014 contra Monsanto en Buenos Aires. Fotografía tomada de Wikimedia Commons.

Protest against Monsanto in Buenos Aires, in 2014. Photo by Wikimedia Commons.

On May 23, a protest march against the multinational Monsanto was held simultaneously in several cities across Argentina, bringing together environmental groups and activists on a “Global Day of Action Against Monsanto.”

Monsanto is a multinational company dedicated to the production of genetically modified seeds (GM) and chemical products for industrial-scale agriculture. One of its foremost products is glyphosate, the main component of the herbicide brand Roundup. Critics say Roundup has toxic effects on plants, livestock and people.

Beyond Argentina, a similar protest is being organized by the international movement Occupy Monsanto and the campaign Millions Against Monsanto, both of which began in the United States. Since information about the negative effects of glyphosate and GM seeds came to light over a decade ago, the marches have become more frequent each year.

In the megacity of Buenos Aires, the protest marches usually take place on the Plaza San Martin, near the multinational's main country office. The following video shows images from the protest that took place in May 2014, featuring folk and cultural expressions from regions in the country where Monsanto spraying is most prevalent.

The fight against GM crops has been carried out since the turn of the millennium in many countries after several studies by independent research centers and universities cast doubt over their safety.

As early as 2002, the blog Ecoportal published a report on the Toxicology of Glyphosate by Dr Jorge Kaczewer, founder and medical director of the Argentinian Institute of Neural Therapy and Integrative Medicine, wherein the author accused Monsanto and related laboratories of corruption:

The toxicological studies on glyphosate officially required for registration and approval, have been associated with fraudulent practices.

La "fantasía y la realidad". Foto de la página de Facebook  "Millones contra Monsanto".

“Fantasy and Reality”. Photo from Facebook page “Millions Against Monsanto”.

Kaczewer concluded:

Junto con la ayuda alimentaria de enormes raciones de soja elaborada como milanesa, hamburguesa, albóndiga, fideo, raviol, leche, yogur, y queso “de soja”, ahora, casi 17 millones de argentinos empobrecidos y hambrientos también recibirán su dosis masiva de glifosato…. La implacable estrategia comercial de la industria nos permite anticipar cómo ésta visualiza su camino hacia un próspero futuro…. a costa de la salud de millones de personas ni siquiera todavía informadas de la existencia de este tipo de productos.

Along with food aid that includes a huge amount of soybean products that are prepared as breaded soy meat, hamburgers, meatballs, spaghetti, ravioli, milk, yogurt, and soy cheese, almost 17 million Argentines, impoverished and hungry, will also get their massive dose of glyphosate…. The industry's relentless business strategy allows us to anticipate how it will forge a path to a prosperous future…. at the  expense of the health of millions that still do not even know about the existence of such products.

More recently, in September 2014, the environmentalist blog BWN Argentina published a report by Ignacio Diego Mur where he describes ‘the 12 most terrible products’ created by Monsanto, analysing its effects on the Argentinian agribusiness economy, where the ‘Monsanto model’ has been widely adopted:

En lugar de frutos sanos, verduras, granos y animales alimentados con hierba natural, las granjas industriales de Estados Unidos y Argentina producen un exceso de comida chatarra de ingeniería genética para ocasionar enfermedades cardíacas, derrame cerebral, diabetes y cáncer, con el respaldo de subsidios agrícolas, mientras que los agricultores orgánicos no reciben dichas subvenciones.

Instead of healthy fruits, vegetables, grains and natural grass fed animals, the factory farms in the United States and Argentina produce an excess of genetic engineering junk food that causes heart disease, strokes, diabetes and cancer, with the support of agricultural subsidies, while organic farmers do not receive such subsidies.

Glyphosate toxicity is a political hot potato in Argentina involving multiple stakeholders (governments, companies, laboratories, farmers, workers, trade unions and consumers), numerous vested interests and plentiful misinformation.

Amid the furore are the people living near sprayed areas or consuming food containing residues of the product.

In #Argentina 300 million liters of glyphosate are sprayed annually across 28 million hectares of plantation, affecting more than 10 million people.

Given the low level of support from government agencies and the mainstream media, the movement is turning to blogs and social networks to disseminate information on the reasons for lawsuits against the company and its products. It also shares research, cases studies, articles and images:

The Argentinian Pediatric Society of Hematology-Oncology (among others) has asked for action to be taken against the use of #glifosato

There are also popular figures from the music world supporting the fight against the company, such as Argentine pop singer, Axel, who stated via his official Twitter account:

#NoaMonsanto is largely responsible for diseases, climatic disasters, and other things.

Social networks have become the campaign's main medium to share information. The Facebook page “Millones Contra Monsanto” with more than 55,000 likes, shared the invitation to join the protests in different cities across the country. On Twitter people are exchanging information and views through hashtags like #fueramonsanto, #noamonsanto, #stopmonsanto and others.

23 Mayo 2015 Marcha Mundial contra #Monsanto. En todo el Mundo en todas sus plantas #fueramonsanto via @Noamonsanto

— Lluís Ahicart (@lluisahicart) May 21, 2015

May 23, 2015 Global March against #Monsanto. Around the World and in all of its plantations #fueramonsanto.

  • britbob

    And still they persist with the Malvinas myth. Google: ‘Argentina’s Illegitimate Sovereignty Claims’ to discover why.

  • B. Alvn

    It’s a bad situation and it’s getting worse. It may take more than marches to solve this problem…the next step would be boycotts. Boycotts, or even just the threat thereof, have been very powerful in some arenas, and in this day and age, can spread like wildfire. Plenty of people in the US, Europe, Japan, Korea, and elsewhere are aware of these issues too…GMOs are becoming rapidly less popular (why do you think Monsanto and others are trying so hard to keep labelling laws from being passed? People won’t buy that stuff if they become aware of it…..) If boycotts don’t work, I guess …well people can think creatively. This is global terrorism of the worst order….poisoning millions (billions?) of else do you label that?

    • Stuart M.

      You and your paranoid rantings don’t have a scientific leg to stand on. You are killing and blinding 100s of thousands of people with your lies. Banana and cassava crops in Africa are being devastated by fungus and pests because your kind is blocking the introduction of GMO plants which were modified to be resistant. That is the real crime here. Exactly who has been poisoned? I can cite 53 deaths and thousands of cases of liver failure from organic bean sprout poisoning in Germany. Can you name one human being that has been documented to have died from GMO consumption or glyphosate exposure?

      Thanks to the lies spread about GMO, many people think there is something wrong with GMOs. This is based on prejudice, not science. Product labeling should provide consumers with information relevant to their health, not prejudices. What if some White supremacist demanded all products made by Jews and Blacks should be so labeled? People would scream in indignation!

      Okay, go ahead, play your “shill for Monsanto” card… Are you a shill for the organic industry?

      • MarkDonners

        I doubt, as a shill for Monsanto, that you care about anyone but yourself and your wallet. Just like Monsanto. Africa just like has done just fine with organic farming for thousands of years and can do so forever without killing themselves with lethal pesticides and frankencrops.

        • JoeFarmer

          Playing the shill card means you have no argument and are conceding.

          • Cletus DeBunkerman

            Pointing out the truth is not “the shill card”.

            Many of us know who the know “shills” are. They are not really shills at all, they are corrupt Mind controlled GMO pesticide industry disinformation operative who have been dispatched here and elsewhere to disrupt, deceive, and confuse the readers.

            Joe the fake farmer and Michael the dropout, and StuartM are all active GMO pesticide industry disinformation goons.

          • Ken Gallaher

            “spokesman” alert

        • Michael McCarthy

          “Africa just like has done just fine with organic farming for thousands of years ”
          Yeah, all that famine in Africa, seems like organic agriculture is working out marvelously.

  • Stuart M.

    Every serious scientific body from the American Association for the Advancement of Science, to the American Medical Association, the National Academy of Sciences, the British Royal Society, even the European Food Safety Authority has said over and over again that GMO foods are perfectly safe for human consumption and the environment. Yet, people still persist in this paranoid delusion that GMOs are unsafe. The “independent” research outfits alluded to in this article are nothing more than checkbook advocacy groups with vested interests in perpetuating the myths about GMO dangers. Is RoundUp (glyphosate) particularly more dangerous than any other pesticide on the market today? No, they are all toxic to one degree or another or they wouldn’t be pesticides, would they? RoundUp is actually less toxic and less persistent than pesticides used prior to its introduction. Thanks to Monsanto and the research done by many other private firms, farmers can produce higher yields with less work and less inputs of diesel and pesticides. 35% of American farmland is now being farmed without tilling the soil thanks to this technology. No, I am not a shill for Monsanto, just someone who bothered to inform himself.

    • Cletus DeBunkerman

      Your cites are just bogus GMO pesticide industry disinformation echo chamber spin.

      The AAAS membership does not claim GMOs are safe. The biotech controlled AAAS board of directors put out a press release that represented only the views of the board.

      The AMA only has 17% of physicians as members a large majority of the the rest of Doctors claim they don’t belong because the AMA does not represent their views.

      NAS : quote is from a summary of a 2000 report. Page R5 of the Full
      Report states, “Michael Phillips was involved with this study until
      7/13/99 and is currently employed with the Biotechnology Industry
      Organization” Biotechnology Industry Organization members include just
      about every major biotech company. Page R6 lists the BOARD ON AGRICULTURE AND NATURAL RESOURCES which includes,
      “ROBERT T. FRALEY, Monsanto Company” and, “THOMAS N. URBAN, Pioneer
      Hi-Bred International, Inc.”

      Royal Society of Medicine : this quote originates in an article in
      the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine and not from the Royal
      Society of Medicine. The article can bee seen here

      In the same journal there is a response from medical researcher David
      Schubert, which points out numerous errors in this article and states,
      “‘GM crops consumed… with no reported ill effects’ – therefore they are
      safe. This statement is illogical and the conclusion is not valid. There
      is no assay and there is no epidemiology. If any GM food product did
      cause harm it would be impossible to pick up within the constant
      background of disease, particularly since in the USA, the biggest
      consumer, there are no labelling requirements.”

      European Commission : the quote does not represent the European
      Commission since the report specifically states, “The views expressed in
      this publication are the sole responsibility of the authors and do not
      necessarily reflect the views of the European Commission.” the authors
      include people such as Marc Van Montagu who has an obvious conflict of
      interest considering he founded two biotech companies, Plant Genetic
      Systems Inc. and CropDesign and makes millions from GMO’s since he
      invented the Agrobacterium method.

      Funny how they picked out this one quote, but not other quotes from other authors in the report which say things like,

      “Currently, there is little known about predictability of adverse effects following market release of GM foods.”


      addition, the use of traceability systems for post-marketing
      applications requires new labelling systems that convey all necessary
      information on the presence of individual GMO varieties to the reader.”

      or mention the fact that the European Commission supports labeling.

      EC 1830/2003 report states, “It is necessary to ensure that consumers
      are fully and reliably informed about GMOs and the products, foods and
      feed produced therefrom, so as to allow them to make an informed choice
      of product.”

      EC 1829/2003 is, “Clear labelling,
      irrespective of the detectability of DNA or protein resulting from the
      genetic modification in the final product, meets the demands expressed
      in numerous surveys by a large majority of consumers, facilitates
      informed choice and precludes potential misleading of consumers as
      regards methods of manufacture or production.”

    • Cletus DeBunkerman

      Roundup/glyphosate has been declared a probable human carcinogen by The World Health Organization.

      Purdue University Professor Dr. Don Huber explains even though glyphosate is an herbicide, it was first patented as a mineral chelator. It mobilizes nutrients so that your body cannot absorb them. Since glyphosate was also patented as an antibiotic, it does double damage.

      He says: “When you take the good bacteria out, then the bad
      bacteria fill that void, because there aren’t any voids in nature. We have all of these gut-related problems, whether it’s autism, leaky gut, C. difficile diarrhea, gluten intolerance, or any of the other problems. All of these diseases are an expression of disruption of that intestinal microflora that keeps you healthy.”

      So glyphosate, which has been patented as both a mineral chelator and an antibiotic, both of which have tremendous implications, is being used willy nilly all over the world. All the while, the agencies which are supposed to protect public health continue to look the other way.

      The scientific journal Entropy, it was stated: “Contrary to the current widely-held misconception that glyphosate is relatively harmless to humans, the available evidence shows that glyphosate may rather be the most important factor in the development of multiple chronic diseases and conditions that have become prevalent in Westernized societies.”

  • Seeker John

    My biggest problem with Monsanto is how they claim “ownership” of the seeds and all subsequent generations of plant that may arise from them. And some fear even if by accidental mixing of a few seeds with a non-Monsanto crop they can be sued. And it is not just seeds… Google “Monsanto pig patent” for another farce. They are out of the pig business now, but they showed how they plan to approach “The Monsanto Owned” food business. A farmer used to grow a crop, sell most, and save some seed for next year. Monsanto wants to own every generation of crop farmers raise. I fear soon it will be DNA testing in cases of suspected cross pollination. They created a poison to kill bugs and plant “pests” then created a food source that is resistant to the poison. Sounds like they are creating a market that they only control… from beginning to end.

    • Michael McCarthy

      Farmers haven’t been saving seed for 80 or so years. And the rest of your post is equally filled with garbage, untruths and fearmonging.

      • Cletus DeBunkerman

        More corrupt GMO pesticide industry disinformation goon BS.

      • Rob Bright

        How can you speak such blatant bullshit and expect anyone to take you seriously, Michael?

        • Michael McCarthy

          Really, Rob, Please enlighten the rest of us on your vast knowledge. I stated farmers haven’t been saving seed for 80 years or so, when commercial seed production and patenting began. If this wasn’t the case, then why were seed companies so large BEFORE the advent of GMO? Why do they offer such a wide variety of seeds if farmers don’t buy them?
          Here’s a free lesson, learn when to stfu.

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  • MarkDonners

    GMO is a dangerous poison. Eating genetically modified corn (GM corn) and consuming trace levels of Monsanto’s Roundup chemical fertilizer caused rats to develop horrifying tumors, widespread organ damage, and premature death. rats exposed to even the smallest amounts, “developed mammary tumors and severe liver and kidney damage as early as four months in males, and seven months for females.” The animals on the GM diet suffered mammary tumors, as well as severe liver and kidney damage. Everywhere GMO is being grown, food allergies, disorders such as autism, reproductive disorders, digestive problems, and others have been skyrocketing in the human populations.

    There has been a drastic decline of crop-pollinating insects all over the world, and what this means for the future of the world’s food supply. Wild pollinators like bumblebees, butterflies, and beetles are basically disappearing. GMO industrial agricultural practices are causing this insect genocide. Pollinating insects in general, which include a wide range of insects and other animals, are simply vanishing from their normal habitats and foraging areas. That lower diversity and lower abundance of wild insects means less fruits and destruction of the diversity of plants and their fruits worldwide.

    GMOs cross pollinate and their seeds can travel. It is impossible to fully clean up our contaminated gene pool. Self-propagating GMO pollution will outlast the effects of global warming and nuclear waste. The potential impact is huge, threatening the health of future generations. GMO contamination has also caused economic losses for organic and non-GMO farmers who often struggle to keep their crops pure.

    GMOs increase herbicide use. Most GM crops are engineered to be “herbicide tolerant”―surviving deadly weed killers. Monsanto, for example, sells Roundup Ready crops, designed to survive applications of their Roundup herbicide. Between 1996 and 2008, US farmers sprayed an extra 383 million pounds of herbicide on GMOs. Overuse of Roundup results in “superweeds,” resistant to the herbicide. This is causing farmers to use even more toxic herbicides every year. Not only does this create environmental harm, GM foods contain higher residues of toxic herbicides. Roundup, for example, is linked with sterility, hormone disruption, birth defects, and cancer.

    GM crops and their associated herbicides can harm birds, insects, amphibians, marine ecosystems, and soil organisms. They reduce bio-diversity, pollute water resources, and are unsustainable. For example, GM crops are eliminating habitat for monarch butterflies, whose populations are down 50% in the US. Roundup herbicide has been shown to cause birth defects in amphibians, embryonic deaths and endocrine disruptions, and organ damage in animals even at very low doses. GM canola has been found growing wild in North Dakota and California, threatening to pass on its herbicide tolerant genes on to weeds.

    By mixing genes from totally unrelated species, genetic engineering unleashes a host of unpredictable side effects. Moreover, irrespective of the type of genes that are inserted, the very process of creating a GM plant can result in massive collateral damage that produces new toxins, allergens, carcinogens, and nutritional deficiencies.

    GMOs do not increase yields, and work against feeding a hungry world.

    Whereas sustainable non-GMO agricultural methods used in developing countries have conclusively resulted in yield increases of 79% and higher, GMOs do not, on average, increase yields at all. This was evident in the Union of Concerned Scientists’ 2009 report Failure to Yield―the definitive study to date on GM crops and yield.

    The toxins associated with GMO should never be tolerated. NEONICOTINOID PESTICIDE neurotoxins are absolutely the main factor causing the collapse of bee and pollinator populations along with other lethal chemicals, Agent Orange herbicides, glysophate, etc. When these poisons are banned as they were in Europe the bee populations start to recover. GMO neonicotinoids, roundup etc. MUST BE BANNED OUTRIGHT and all the farmers along with USDA, Biotech and chemical companies told to cease and desist from what they are doing.

    An even scarier prospect: the “BT” version of GMO soybeans and corn, (basically pesticides engineered directly into the plant )

    The “BT toxin” gene is put into the DNA of the corn in order for it to manufacture its own toxins that kill pests. The BT gene originated from a soil bacteria that also infiltrates the microflora (friendly digestive bacteria) in your gut. The Bt gene converts the microflora in your intestine into toxin-manufacturing machines.

    So, to be clear, eating GMO corn products can cause your gut (which is primarily responsible for keeping you healthy) to turn into a breeding ground for tiny little pesticide factories inside your body, actively creating toxins which are designed to kill living things. These toxins are found in the blood and are readily transferred across the placenta to developing babies in the womb.

    • JoeFarmer

      And you’re pasting this steaming pile of nonsense all over the internet. What a doof move!

      • Michael McCarthy

        The exact same post. 0 points for originality. 0 points for effectiveness. 0 points for facts and evidence. Grade F.

        • Cletus DeBunkerman

          The class dummy thinks he’s giving out the grades.


      • Cletus DeBunkerman

        Kind of like you posting your corrupt GMO pesticide industry disinformation goon troll insults all over the internet.

        You FAIL again fake farmer.

      • Michael McCarthy

        I got an upvote from Rob Bright. LOL

        • JoeFarmer

          Another reason for him to be called Rob Not so Bright!

      • Cletus DeBunkerman

        You are not the first corrupt GMO pesticide industry disinformation goon to say that.

        The only ones passing off nonsense here are you and the rest of the corrupt mind controlled GMO pesticide industry disinformation goons.

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