Guatemala Just Says No
The government of Guatemala has repealed legislation dubbed the “Monsanto law”, which was approved last year to grant the biotech giant special expansion rights into ecologically sensitive territory, after widespread public protest. The demonstrations included groups of indigenous Mayan people, joined by social movements, trade unions and farmers’ and women’s organizations. Following political party battles, the Guatemalan Congress decided not to just review the legislation, but instead cancel it outright.
The Monsanto law would have given exclusivity on patented seeds to a handful of transnational companies. Mayan people and social organizations claim that the new law would have violated their constitution and the Mayan people’s right to traditional cultivation of the land in their ancestral territories.
Lolita Chávez, of the Mayan People’s Council, states, “Corn taught us Mayan people about community life and its diversity, because when one cultivates corn, one realizes that a variety of crops such as herbs and medicinal plants depend on the corn plant, as well.”