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January 23rd, 2013 (InsideCostaRica.com) Although authorities have approved the planting of Monsanto’s genetically modified corn in Costa Rica, environmentalists say they have not given up, but rather are prepared to resist even more by taking legal actions.
Fabian Pacheco, representative for the Ecologist Federation in the National Biosafety Technical Commission (CTNBIO, in Spanish), said: “The dynamic and attitude of the majority of the members of the commission made their loyalty very clear. CTNBIO has no intention of changing its permissiveness towards transgenic crops, and will continue to be a simple paperwork department at the service of [multinational] companies.”
Environmentalists and others that formed part of a large resistance against the GMO corn in November, 2012 feel that there was a great deal of disregard and lack of consideration of the studies that were submitted, which they say contained numerous, convincing scientific arguments against the introduction of the GMO corn, in addition to economic, political, social, and environmental arguments.
The studies were presented by various sectors in Costa Rica, including academic and scientific institutions and various social movements.
“What really surprises us is that Costa Ricans do not act, and do not fight against this decision,” added Pacheco.
Ecological and environmental organizations say they have committed to fight the introduction of the genetically modified crop through all possible means, including legal and administrative actions against the decision, as well as “non-violent direct action,” against Monsanto’s modified corn.
Mauricio Alvarez, president of the Ecologist Federation, said that authorities must also still solve the issue of the Abangares municipality in Guanacaste, which has declared itself to be a “no-GMO,” zone. Alvarez said that the commission’s decision to grant permission for the GMO crops in that municipality violates the sovereignty of the municipality.
Other municipalities appear to want to keep out the GMO products, as well. The same day that the technical commission announced their vote, the municipalities of Aserri, San Jose, and San Rafael de Heredia announced their declarations against the introduction of GMO’s within their territory.
If the will of the municipalities is respected, it would mean that 20% of the national territory would be off-limits to GMO crops.
Meanwhile, there remains a pending request in the executive branch to deem Costa Rica’s native maize as part of the country’s national heritage.
Organizers say they will be announcing their plans both for legal action as well as protests in the next few days.