April 21, 2004, as reported by Venezuelanalysis.com:
President Hugo Chavez Frias has announced that the cultivation
of genetically modified crops will be prohibited on
Venezuelan soil, possibly establishing the most sweeping
restrictions on transgenic crops in the Western Hemisphere.
Though full details of the administration's policy on
genetically modified organisms (GMOs) are still forthcoming,
the statement by President Chavez will lead most immediately
to the cancellation of a contract that Venezuela had
negotiated with the US-based Monsanto Corporation.
Before a recent international gathering of supporters
in Caracas, President Chavez admonished genetically
engineered crops as contrary to interests and needs
of the nation's farmers and farm workers. He then zeroed
in on Monsanto's plans to plant up to 500,000 acres
of transgenic soybeans in Venezuela.
"I ordered an end to the project," said President
Chavez, upon learning that transgenic crops were involved.
"This project is terminated." President Chavez
emphasized the importance of food sovereignty and security
-- required by the Venezuelan Constitution -- as the
basis of his decision. Instead of allowing Monsanto
to grow its transgenic crops, these fields will be used
to plant yuca (an indigenous crop), Chavez explained.
He also announced the creation of a large seed bank
facility to maintain indigenous seeds for peasants'
movements around the world.
Read the full article at http://www.venezuelanalysis.com/news.php?newsno=1254