Big Pharma tyranny: Hungry US corporates are now bullying Mexico into buying GMO maize

Big Pharma tyranny: Hungry US corporates are now bullying Mexico into buying GMO maize


Today under a new – free but not fair – trade agreement, the US aims to force Mexico to not only accept genetically modified corn but also to overturn their ban on the herbicide Roundup (glyphosate), a probable carcinogen.

Corporate money has always corrupted the political process in order to create laws and trade agreements that protect corporate profits at the expense of not just US citizens, but citizens of the world.

We can find, perhaps, no better case in point than genetically modified organisms (GMOs).

Developed over the decades by seed and chemical companies Monsanto, Calgene, Dow, DuPont, Bayer and others, genetically modified (GM) corn, soy, cotton and canola were touted as the solution to world hunger, the key to increased farm profitability, lower pesticide use and a better environment.

It all sounded good, but none of it was true. The real truth was – and this was never mentioned – that these commodity crops were designed to produce vast corporate profit as they helped usher in a wave of corporate consolidation, loss of small farms, declining rural economies and a foisting of untested GM food on unknowing consumers.

While these GM crops dominate the fields of North America, the seed and chemical companies saw the world as their target for even more profit. Their grants to university researchers, lobbying pressure and campaign contributions to state and federal legislators made GM the so-called face of “progressive” and profitable farming.

Crop yields did go up with the increased application of fertiliser and pesticides, while farm crop prices went down. Farmers got bigger to survive, planted more acres and saw the GM bandwagon as the only way – to produce more cheap grain for a growing world market.

A market that would feed the growing confined animal feeding operations (CAFOs) that, hand in hand with the GM monocultures, were driving small farmers, not just in the US, but around the world off their land.

The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) pushed GM corn into the Mexican market, underselling Mexican farmers. Because they lost their way of life, many moved to low-wage factory work in the maquiladoras or across the border into the US, looking for work in the fields, CAFOs and processing plants of the North.

Not only were the livelihoods of Mexican farmers ruined by the dumping of GM grain, but the areas of origin of corn were also put at risk of pollen contamination from GM imports.

Growing corn is a part of Mexico’s culture. Domesticated 8,700 years ago it is sacred and a staple of the everyday diet. Mexicans didn’t want our GM corn, but in an economy pushed toward depression by NAFTA, people were forced to rely on what was available and affordable.

And NAFTA wasn’t the end of it. Today under a new (free but not fair) trade agreement – US-Mexico-Canada Agreement or USMCA – the US aims to force Mexico to not only accept GM corn but also to overturn their ban on the herbicide Roundup (glyphosate), a probable carcinogen.

Mexico wants neither, they want to grow their own non-GM corn and import only non-GM corn to meet domestic demand. Glyphosate also threatens biodiversity, not just of their native corn, but of pollinators – the bees, butterflies and birds that winter in Mexico – so why would they want either?

Yet under USMAC, the Biden administration, through the US Trade Representative, said they would take all steps to enforce US rights. The rights of the US and the rights of Mexico will, in all likelihood, come down to the trade tribunals and the bullying of the US government and its unending support of US corporations and agricultural trade groups.

The National Corn Growers Association (NCGA), noted that allowing the ban to move forward (or in simple language, allowing Mexico to protect their farmers, their environment and their culture) would be catastrophic to America’s corn producers – but their real concern lies not with a potential drop in US farm income, but rather a reduction of corporate profit.

America’s corn producers can grow the non-GM corn Mexico would like to buy and they would be paid a premium to do so. But the power of the seed and pesticide corporations, the multi-national grain companies, and industry trade groups like NCGA make growing and marketing non-GM corn more difficult.

Growers of non-GM corn must bear the entire burden of preventing any contamination and US farmers in general are trapped in a system of GM mono-cultures and CAFOs that are immensely profitable for agri-business while the growers produce commodities at prices so low their very survival depends on taxpayer-funded subsidy payments.

What right do we have to force our excess production on the people of Mexico who don’t want it?

What right does our government, our research institutions or a group of multi-national corporations have to tell anyone what they must eat, what chemicals they must use and that their culture and environment are of little concern?

Yet – as has been the case for over 30 years – sorry, but corporate profit outweighs anyone’s right to choose and the US government will do whatever it takes to keep corporate profits flowing.

  • The Defender report / By Jim Goodman
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