Nuevo Laredo, MEXICO,
August 18, 2003: Environmental-protectionist group Greenpeace
caught a trainload of US maize as it tried to enter Mexico today.
The group intercepted the train in response to suspicions that the
US was dumping genetically engineered crops across the border contravening
Activists suspended themselves from the train's axles to hang below
the railway bridge over the Rio Grande - the Mexican-US border -
while Greenpeace representatives negotiated with the Mexican Government
for a ban on the US dumping of genetically engineered maize into
Scientific analysis, released today, from an independent US laboratory
of US maize samples entering Mexico showed that almost a third of
the maize contained varieties from biotechnology giant, Monsanto.
The Cartagena Protocol, an international agreement on biotechnology
signed January 2000, clearly states that countries must take action
to prevent adverse effects of GE crops on the conservation and sustainable
use of biodiversity.
"Mexicans are being forced to swallow the destruction of our
number one food source, and the health and environment of the people
who depend on it, because governments around the world stand back
and allow the US to force their trade and biotechnology corporations'
interests on other countries," said Liza Covantes, campaigner
from Greenpeace Mexico.
There is growing concern among farmers and consumers over the contamination
of traditional seed by gm varieties as the two co-exist in ever
tightening quarters. International agreements like the Cartagena
Protocol were designed to protect biological diversity from the
potential risks posed by biotechnology.
The Protocol, which has currently been ratified by 54 countries,
including Mexico, was never signed by the US.