Monsanto invades Malvinas Argentinas

Monsanto invades Malvinas Argentinas

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By Prof. Dr. Raúl A. Montenegro

In New York, during the meeting between President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner and Monsanto executives, they informed her of their investment plan in Argentina for 1,670 million pesos. The experimental stations would be located one in Tucumán and the other in Córdoba.

Dedicated to Cristina Fuentes, in memoriam
A Mother from Barrio Ituzaingó Annex, a fighter

The title is not a play on words. Describe an impending reality. In 1956 the American company Monsanto entered Argentina as a plastics producer and in 1978 began its activities for the conditioning of hybrid maize seeds in Pergamino, Buenos Aires province. It currently has 5 plants in our country: two seed processors (María Eugenia Plant in Rojas, Pergamino Plant); a herbicide producer (Planta Zárate) and two experimental stations (Camet, Fontezuela) [1]. Now it intends to install a third factory in the province of Córdoba and two new experimental stations [2] [3].

Monsanto's headquarters are in the Creve Coeur neighborhood of Saint Louis, in the state of Missouri (United States). Founded by John Francis Queen in 1901, its first major activity was the sale of the artificial sweetener saccharin to the Coca Cola company. Since then it has generated and marketed hundreds of chemicals, including pesticides such as DDT and Agent Orange (a herbicide and defoliant with equal parts of 2.4 D and 2.4.5 T used in Viet Nam), aggregates for transformers. like PCBs and sweeteners like NutraSweet. He contributed to the development of the first atomic bombs through Project Dayton and Mound Laboratories and to the development of plastics and optical electronics. She entered the field of seed production and was a pioneer in the development of genetically modified organisms, GMOs (1982). GMOs have genes incorporated that make them resistant to the application of pesticides and even to the lesser availability of rain.

Unfortunately their irresponsible behaviors have been almost as numerous as their products. Countless courts in different countries have convicted Monsanto of data adulteration and other bad practices [1] [4]. Recently, the High Court of Lyon, France, convicted Monsanto because its Lasso pesticide harmed the health of a producer. Lasso has alachlor as the active ingredient and significant amounts of the solvent monochlorobenzene. Precisely, the biological samples taken from the affected person confirmed the presence of monochlorobenzene (2012).

It would be naive to view Monsanto as the only corporate threat. Although it handles 80% of the market for transgenic plants, it is followed by Aventis with 7%, Syngenta (formerly Novartis) with 5%, Basf with 5% and DuPont with 3%. These companies also produce 60% of the pesticides sold in the world [5].

Monsanto entered Argentina as a plastic industry first, and as a producer of non-transgenic seeds later [1]. However, its productive and commercial activities grew explosively as a result of the decision made by various Argentine public officials in an obscure meeting of CONABIA, the organism of the National Secretariat of Agriculture, on September 21, 1995 [6] [26]. That body considered that in terms of agricultural biosecurity there were no problems for RR (Round-up Ready) soybeans to be marketed. The letters had been sent without prior public debate or consultation. Argentina joined the hands of Felipe Solá and a group of unknown officials to open experimentation with genetically modified organisms. All of them approved the enigmatic plant of small stature on March 25, 1996 [6]. Monsanto's piracy, which had taken over the natural genes of soybeans by simply adding a cloned gene from the bacterium Agrobacterium CP4 (the CP4 EPSP gene), was entering the country legally. Regarding glyphosate, it had already been approved in 1977 by SENASA, which revalidated it in 1999 [27].

Towards the end of the 1990s, Argentina was beginning to pay the price of having public institutions and unserious officials, more concerned with pleasing international corporations than with protecting the health of citizens. Based on the lethal dose criterion 50 - absolutely inappropriate for classifying pesticides - glyphosate was already included internationally in Toxicological Class IV: "products that normally do not pose a hazard". This seemed to ward off any risk. The negative consequences of its low doses were not considered then, despite the fact that there was already enough literature and solid warnings. Servility and ignorance combined so that for the next 15 years people and ecosystems were part of an open experiment that would affect them silently. Hundreds of thousands of babies, children, adolescents and adults were transformed into involuntary guinea pigs without the right to protest. But they would not only receive glyphosate and its derivative AMPA [28], but also a long list of other pesticides, including the insecticides endosulfan and chlorpyrifos and the herbicide 2,4D.

The institutional doors of the country were thus opened for the massive cultivation of soybean TH (commercially RR), and its associated herbicide, all based on a meager file of 146 pages that contained information mostly provided by Monsanto. From then on, the local transgenic revolution followed the same paths of partiality and technical corruption that had already occurred in other countries. Glyphosate and its derivatives later began to interact with existing pesticides and with new products, all of them authorized by SENASA with the same clumsiness and technical insufficiency demonstrated by CONABIA. We all know the rest of the story. The dark administrative history was buried by growing areas of Argentine soil dedicated to industrial agriculture and by large private and fiscal revenues, the result of exports of soybeans and other transgenic crops.

Currently the patent for TH soybeans and other pesticide resistant species remains with Monsanto, but since 2000 it no longer owns the glyphosate formula. This explains why producing industries multiplied in various countries of the world. In Argentina, increasing amounts of Chinese glyphosate are used, and petrochemical plants such as Atanor –of the US group Albaugh– produce it locally (glyphosate II). Atanor also manufactures the dangerous 2,4 D pesticides; 2.4 DB; MCPA, trifluralin, atrazine, simazine and dicamba in addition to participating in the business of genetically modified organisms. Like Monsanto, Atanor is headquartered - Albaugh - in the state of Missouri. This diversity of glyphosate producers makes it increasingly difficult to control chemical compositions, which can vary even between batches from the same factory and origin.

Unfortunately, something was already wrong before the boom in transgenic crops. When applying pesticides, only lethal doses were taken into account - those that can directly kill a person - and the effects of low doses and chronic exposure were ruled out. In addition, in a country without records of morbidity and mortality from general causes, and without continuous and national monitoring of pesticide residues, everything seemed to indicate that the use of pesticides was harmless to health and the environment. As there were no measurements, the effects could not be detected [7]. This past of state irresponsibility continued unchanged, facilitating the uncontrolled expansion of industrial crops. Argentina was the ideal country for Monsanto and other companies. The weakness of the State and of society itself to protect native environments from deforestation did the rest. Argentina lowered its native biodiversity to alarming levels, but it also lowered its diversity of crops and agricultural products. During the period 1999-2006, the diversity of crops in the Argentine countryside decreased by more than 20% [8].

Livestock fields became soybeans, it was increasingly difficult to practice organic agriculture and traditional activities such as honey production entered into crisis. In Poland, for example, Monsanto's transgenic Bt corn (Mon810) was accused of causing Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) in bees. There were strong national protests from beekeepers and the government finally banned the cultivation of transgenic corn (May 2012). As it anticipated that this could happen, Monsanto acquired in September 2011 the prestigious company Beelogistics, specialized in this and another disease of bees, the IAPV virus. By monitoring Beelogistics' operations and therefore technical reports, Monsanto protects GMO maize from the cascade effect that the harsh Polish sanction could cause in other countries [23] [24].

In Argentina, we stopped giving priority to feeding human beings to mass feeding the livestock of the European Community and China, and to providing biofuels for their vehicles [9]. The use of the latter allows First World countries to argue that they use less oil and are therefore more sustainable, which is false.

Those who buy soybeans and soy derivatives in nations far from their territories thus take care of their soils, their waters and their health, since they transfer all the negative effects to the producing countries - in this case Argentina. Even today we continue to believe, erroneously, that the high international price paid per ton of soy compensates for environmental and health losses. Predictably, private and public greed fueled by soy are still associated, although governments and producers have shown strong confrontations. Meanwhile unrecorded illnesses and deaths, the loss of unique biodiversity and the formation of growing environmental repositories of pesticide residues continues scandalously [7]. Whoever believes that the State regulates and protects us is wrong. We are a country open to open agricultural experiments, a country that also contributes, and at low cost, with its own biotechnological developments. They invade us and we offer the invader patents for GMOs developed in local laboratories. Thus, the perversity of the mega-mining colonization is repeated, facilitated by the excellent geological studies of Argentine researchers. In this process, public and private universities are not exactly innocent, since they generate research, technological development and human resources that feed the extractive model.

Unfortunately, the governments of the Nation and the provinces still do not react to the "agricultural mega-mining" that depletes the soil of nutrients and increases diseases and deaths. While metal mega-mining creates slaughter zones on hundreds and thousands of hectares, agricultural mega-mining produces slaughter zones on millions of hectares of land. Everything seems to indicate that greed and complicity with the current agricultural model are stronger than sensitivity and reason. Although the Precautionary Principle is governed by law - according to Article 4 of the National Environmental Law 25675 - for now, only the Principle of Profit at Any Cost governs. Environmental and social.

Facilitating the invasion

Four facts will help us understand the suggestive silence of the Argentine governments and their officials, and why Monsanto can invade the Malvinas Argentinas without major obstacles.

1. The model of industrial agriculture or "intense short chains" that became general in Argentina has been able to develop practically without social obstacles because most of the people live in cities, where clearing is not perceived, nor is the expulsion of peasants and farmers. indigenous communities, nor the impoverishment of soils. Cities are also the places where most of the inputs of the extractive model are produced, from pesticides to agricultural machinery [10].

As was foreseeable, the ostensible impact on health in peri-urban neighborhoods exposed to pesticide contamination made one of the most negative aspects of the "intense short chains" become visible. Neither governments nor corporations could continue to cover the sun with their hands. Living near crops of soybeans, cotton, corn and many other species, transgenic and non-transgenic, could make you sick and even cause death in small doses. But the private productive apparatus and its strong partners of the State, mainly Secretaries of Agriculture, continued to ignore the scientific evidence and the Precautionary Principle for the most part.

During the trial that is taking place in Córdoba against two producers and an aerosol applicator, the Agrarian Federation organized a campaign to support the accused and protest against the judicial action (July 7, 2012). One of its promoters, visibly upset, publicly indicated that they had been applying pesticides for 30-40 years without people dying from that cause. It was an open confession. He acknowledged that they were only thinking about lethal doses. For them - and for the agronomists who write medical prescriptions - diseases and deaths from exposure to small doses do not exist. Simply because none of them knows the modes of action of low doses of chemical cocktails, nor their negative effects on embryonic development, the nervous system, the hormonal system, the immune system and other systems of the human organism [7]. It is no longer just a problem for corporations and governments, but also for ill-informed producers, universities, and professional training courses. For years, agronomists have given indications for the application of pesticides without taking into account the residues accumulated in previous campaigns. It was mistakenly operated as if the soils of the farms, chemically speaking, started each new year at zero. This explains why phytosanitary prescriptions continue to omit the previous accumulation of old chlorinates like DDT and recent ones like endosulfan.

2. Each pesticide is not only an active ingredient. It is a mixture of active principle with inerts, adjuvants and other additives, some of them as toxic or more toxic than the main pesticide. This is what we call cocktail 1. Factory mixes in unopened containers can also undergo chemical changes, creating new extremely dangerous chemicals. Isomalathion, a substance 7 times more toxic than the originally packaged pesticide, can form in closed containers of malathion phosphorus pesticide. This is what we call cocktail 2. Producers and applicators do not usually use pesticides directly, but they make highly variable mixtures and dilutions, thus generating new and unpredictable products. This is what we call cocktail 3. Finally, when this sum of cocktails - cocktail 1 plus cocktail 2 plus cocktail 3- is discharged into the environment, new substances are generated, eventually more toxic or more persistent or both. It is cocktail 4. AMPA is derived from the glyphosate-based cocktail and endosulfan sulfate is derived from the endosulfan-based cocktail [7] [16].

All these substances - not just an active product - reach people by numerous routes, including drift, by contaminated soil particles carried by the wind, by water and by food. How can producers and agronomists prevent small doses of these cocktails from reaching people, especially babies and young children, who, compared to adults, in relation to weight, consume more water, more food? and more air, and they have more exposed surface? They can not.

There is also the aforementioned aggravation that neither CONABIA nor SENASA considers. Farming fields retain old pesticide residues like DDT and HCH, and recent pesticide residues like endosulfan, and any new applications add to that "historical background." This creates a dangerous cocktail 5. But exposed people, in turn, are carriers of pesticides in their fat and blood tissues, with which any pesticide entry is "added" to existing biological deposits. It is the cocktail 6. Both the drift from the sprayed fields and the inhalation and ingestion of pesticide residues is added to those that each person stores in their tissues, and that came to them for years with food, air or contaminated water, or received from their mothers as embryos and fetuses (transplacental transfer) and infants (transfer during lactation). Given that these low doses of residues can alter the hormonal system, since many pesticides have estrogenic activity, and also affect the immune system, with which we become less resistant to viral and bacterial diseases, it is clear that the lethal dose 50 with which it is guide producers and agronomists is inadequate, and does not protect the health of exposed people.

3. The industrial agriculture export model not only exports grains and by-products, but also nutrients. The soils, devoid of their cover and their natural biodiversity - both eliminated in order to facilitate planting - thus lack sufficient physical and biological mechanisms to regenerate the nutrients that each harvest extracts. The ground accumulates voids and is impoverished. Foreign buyers pay for the grain they buy, but not the loss of soil, nor the water that should have been used for production, nor the lost health of the exposed people, nor the smaller area with a native environment that remains after agricultural expansion.

To produce one kilogram of soybeans, for example, the plant uses between 1,500 and 2,000 liters of water. Graciela Cordone, from INTA Castelar, maintains that in a ship loaded with 40,000 tons of soybeans, 3,576 tons of nutrients are exported, almost 10% of the total. If the cargo is wheat, it carries 1,176 tons, and if it is corn, 966 tons. That same researcher charted the loss: "We would need 300 trucks to load the nutrients that are exported on each ship." He added that of every three units of nutrients lost "only one is replaced." In Argentina, only 37% of the nutrients lost from the soil is recovered through the use of fertilizers [11]. Continuing to consider that direct seeding preserves the soil better is incorrect, since biological erosion - this is the extraction of nutrients by a crop plant - affects not only the structure of the soil but also the availability of nutrients. In this way, the wind and water erosion that affects important cultivated areas in Argentina is compounded by biological erosion, which is increasingly important and widespread [10].

In any country the natural factories of soil are the native forests, shrubs and grasslands with their thousands of living species. Agriculture spreads over important parts of these natural ecosystems after surface biodiversity is violently removed by mechanical clearing, fire, or chemicals. Hence, only the soil is preserved. Unfortunately, agriculture and especially industrial agriculture, including that practiced with fertilizers, demands more soil and nutrients than its impoverished system can produce naturally. In this context, the richest soils of the Pampean prairie can "resist" greater exploitation than the soils of the semi-arid Chaco, and these, in turn, much more than the fragile and poor red soils of the Misiones jungle.

In addition to the lag between export and regeneration of main nutrients (about 12), a growing loss of oligonutrients is also recorded in cultivated soils. If the impoverishment of soils coincides with the occurrence of other disturbances, such as drought, floods, and wind erosion, the combined effects become increasingly serious and definitive. Crops, already vulnerable to pests, show that they are also vulnerable to their own simplification. Ironically, the destruction of forests and other native environments, terrestrial and aquatic, ends up being lethal for agriculture. In Argentina future generations will inherit not only contaminated soils but also poor and desertified soils.

Given that part of the nutrients can be replaced with fertilizers, where do we get them? Phosphates, for example, must be bought en masse abroad. One of the world's largest suppliers is Morocco, where its government violently colonized the lands of the Saharawi people to exploit its enormous phosphate reserves without hindrance [12]. In this way, Argentina trades with impunity with a government that continues to murder children, adolescents and adults in Western Sahara.

Every day about 200,000 tons of phosphates are extracted in the occupied mines of the Saharawi people, part of which is bought by our country [12]. Despite the cruel origin of these inputs, there were almost no voices of protest when in February 2011 the installation in Argentina of the Moroccan Phosphate Office (OCP) was announced. Worse still, this company was authorized to create, together with its subsidiary Maroc Phosphore, the OCP importer from Argentina. We export soybeans and by-products to feed foreign cows and vehicles, and we import blood-stained phosphates. In this way, the large soy plantations and those responsible not only cause diseases and silent deaths in Argentina. By buying phosphates they also contribute, indirectly, to causing silent deaths in a country as distant and as close as Morocco.

4. Transgenic crops not only involve the sometimes irreversible looting of the soil, and the export of "virtual water" and nutrients to other countries, but also the dramatic reduction of the area covered with native environments. Only TH soy covers more than 18 million hectares that at one time were highly biodiverse ecosystems. The areas occupied by transgenic corn and cotton must be added, each in its forms Bt, TH and Bt x TH, which total more than 4.2 million hectares previously occupied by native environments (Campaign 2010-2011) [ 13].

It is impossible to have water, soil regeneration and environmental stability without conserving important surfaces of native, terrestrial and aquatic environments. Unfortunately governments and seed pools do not understand it, or it is not convenient for them to understand it. They prefer that the country ends up blowing up in the hands of future generations rather than reducing its profits. A forest does not have only trees, fungi, reptiles, birds and mammals, but a complex web of living beings. Some 1,500 million protozoa (microorganisms), 120 million nematodes (worms), 440,000 springtails (insects), 400,000 mites, 2,900 centipedes and millipedes, 500 ants, and live in one square meter of soil and up to 30 centimeters deep many populations of other organisms [17]. When the bulldozer or fire passes to plant soybeans, the surface biodiversity disappears. This "decapitated" environment stops making soil and has a very low capacity to retain water. The formation of 1 centimeter of soil in natural conditions takes hundreds to thousands of years, while its destruction can be achieved in just a few years or decades. On hard limestone and cold-temperate climate, one centimeter of soil takes 5,000 years to form. In tropical rainforests, the formation of 1 centimeter of red soil (oxisol) can take 1 to 2 million years [18]. Can we understand that agricultural ecosystems have almost no biodiversity? And that the atrocious silence and practically no animal life in a field cultivated with soybeans anticipates more dramatic silences, if we do not learn to balance agricultural production with conservation of natural environments?

The social and environmental stability of a country depends primarily on the surface area devoted to agricultural production and urban systems, and the area occupied by native environments, each occupying approximately 50% of the total area. In this way, the environmental resistance to environmental crises of all kinds is greater, from droughts to extremely rainy periods, fires and the entry of pests. If, on the contrary, the area dedicated to production grows disproportionately, and only National Parks and other protected natural areas remain, vulnerability becomes critical. This is what is happening in Argentina. But their social resistance also drops. With less diversity of crops and an inordinate dependence on the countries that buy soybeans, every time one of them imposes barriers or suspends imports, our economic system goes into panic. Instead of being an intelligent country with a good diversity of crops, and an adequate balance between the surface dedicated to production and the native environment (which means, it is true, less profits), we opted for the monoculture country and the unhealthy dependence of the buyers external grains. This combination of greed, lack of agricultural planning and commercial recklessness can cost us dearly on an increasingly volatile and unstable planet, also subject to global climate change.

In a province like Córdoba, which had 12 million hectares of forest environment, less than 5% of closed forest remains. If we remember that Córdoba is one of the provinces with the worst environmental management in Argentina (and the first with the largest area dedicated to transgenic soybeans) [14] [15], and that for the period 1998-2002 it had the highest rate of clearing in the country (-2.93%, a figure that contrasts with the world average for a comparable period, -0.23%), it is understood how we got to the current state of crisis. Watersheds collapse, but soy exports increase. Once again, cities, far from the places where crises are made, seem not to notice what is happening. But cuts in water supplies during 2011 and 2012 turned on a red light that is still on.

However, who speaks on behalf of those who lost and will lose their health and life due to low doses of pesticides? Who speaks in the name of the peasants expelled from the lands where they lived with the forest, now dedicated to industrial agriculture practiced by illegal landowners? Who speaks in the name of productive diversity, irrationally reduced by monocultures of soy, cotton, corn or rice? Who speaks for the native environments that no longer produce soil, water, or environmental stability? Who speaks in the name of a country and provinces that have been environmentally destroyed by bad government management and powerful corporate interests? Who takes responsibility for Argentina's depressed environmental resistance, the lowest in its entire history?

The answer is silence. In Argentina, so far the agribusiness model has triumphed, not sustainable agroecology. Although the surface dedicated to production could have been balanced with that occupied by the native environment, governments, corporations and even university sectors continue to favor destruction, the use of biotechnology and simplifying greed. Instead of Integrated Pest Management (IPM), mass poisoning of living organisms continues to be chosen, which collaterally exposes hundreds of thousands of people to low doses of pesticides. During 2009, for example, some 292 million liters of pesticides were dispersed throughout the country. In this context, the incorrect authorizations of pesticides by SENASA, the mediocre approval of genetically modified organisms from CONABIA and the absence of state controls reveal the inadmissible complicity of the State with the agribusiness model.

Monsanto in Argentina: from 5 to 8 plants.

Everything previously analyzed is an indispensable prologue to understand the new Monsanto invasions in Argentina. It is naive to assume that a seed processing plant is just an industry. It is also an indirect accelerator of monoculture, pollution and clearing processes, and above all, a consolidation factor of the basically predatory model installed in our country.

In New York, during the meeting between President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner and Monsanto executives, they communicated their investment plan in Argentina for 1,670 million pesos. The experimental stations would be located one in Tucumán and the other in Córdoba [1] [2].

Malvinas Argentinas is a town in the Colón Department located 14 kilometers northeast of the city of Córdoba and 10 kilometers from the Ituzaingó Annex neighborhood. According to the 2010 Census it has 12,484 inhabitants but the population continues to grow. Like other rural cities, its edges receive pesticides applied in adjoining fields cultivated with soybeans.

Fortunately, the news about the possible establishment of Monsanto in Malvinas Argentinas coincided with the strong social debate about the effects of low doses of pesticides on human health and the environment.

Además del juicio que se registra en Córdoba contra tres personas por aplicación ilegal de plaguicidas (2012), se reactivó en la justicia provincial la causa madre por contaminación en barrio Ituzaingó Anexo iniciada por FUNAM en 2002 [20]. Esta causa –en la cual están imputadas las mismas personas que hoy enfrentan el juicio, y donde seguramente se investigará a funcionarios públicos- analiza la asociación entre aplicación de plaguicidas y daños a la salud. Los querellantes de la causa madre son FUNAM además de 30 Madres y vecinos de barrio Ituzaingó Anexo [19].

Estas acciones, históricas, se suman al emblemático juicio finalizado en Paraguay hace siete años (2005), donde su Corte Suprema de Justicia dejó firme la condena de dos años de prisión impuesta a varios productores sojeros que produjeron la muerte de un niño (Silvino Talavera), y la intoxicación de su familia, tras aplicar glifosato en dos oportunidades (2003) [22].

Una planta para el acondicionamiento de semillas -como la planificada por Monsanto para Malvinas Argentinas- no puede disociarse de los campos que las sembrarían, ni del uso asociado de plaguicidas y sus efectos. Siendo Monsanto una de las empresas líderes en el mantenimiento del modelo extractivo, es inevitable predecir que una mayor presencia de la corporación agravaría regionalmente los efectos indeseados, esto es, expansión de la superficie cultivada, destrucción de ambientes nativos y sobre todo, más enfermedades y muertes por exposición a bajas dosis de plaguicidas.

El actual modelo agrícola extractivo que se practica en Argentina debería ser asumido como una variante muy extendida y superficial de la megaminería. En los cultivos no se extraen metales valiosos, sino nutrientes que luego se exportan como granos. Agricultura y megaminería tienen en común, además, el consumo de agua, mayor en la agricultura industrial, y la generación de pasivos ambientales. Mientras que la megaminería abandona colas de mineral y depósitos de estériles, la agricultura industrial deja acumulaciones diseminadas de plaguicidas que persisten por años y décadas.

La planta de Malvinas Argentinas, cuya puesta en funcionamiento se prevé para el año 2013, trataría y acondicionaría semillas de maíz hasta lograr una capacidad máxima de producción de 3,5 millones de hectáreas. Argentina tendría las dos plantas más grandes del mundo para el acondicionamiento de semillas, lo cual fortalecería el ya descontrolado modelo extractivo. Continuamente se registran en Córdoba operaciones de desmonte ilegal para seguir ampliando el área cultivable. Es previsible por lo tanto que las actividades de Monsanto no sólo induzcan la expansión de fronteras agrícolas, sino también procesos de uso más intensivo de los suelos.

La planta que Monsanto pretende instalar en Malvinas Argentinas no se dedicaría a la producción de plaguicidas. Pero incentivaría indirectamente su uso a nivel provincial. Al establecerse en Córdoba –y ampliar sus actividades en Argentina- consolidaría aún más la agricultura industrial para exportación. El dilema queda planteado. Los 400 puestos de trabajo previstos por Monsanto para la planta representan indudablemente un atractivo en zonas con desempleo crónico. Pero las actividades de la acondicionadora de semillas también tendrían efectos indeseados, como la consolidación del modelo extractivo, con su secuela de morbilidad y mortalidad, y la pérdida de puestos de trabajo en actividades incompatibles con los cultivos transgénicos.

Existen además obstáculos legales y administrativos muy importantes. Es inaceptable que una empresa como Monsanto anuncie sus inversiones desde Nueva York, y que anticipe además fechas de puesta en funcionamiento como si no hubiera Estado regulador en Argentina. También es inaceptable que la propia presidencia de la Nación permita ese juego colonial. Monsanto, como cualquier otra empresa, no debe decidir por sí misma lo que hará o no en un país que se supone soberano. Por el contrario, debe hacer la propuesta formal, iniciar el proceso de Evaluación de Impacto Ambiental en Córdoba y someter su proyecto a debate en Audiencia Pública. La Ley del Ambiente 7343 de la provincia de Córdoba, su decreto reglamentario 2131 sobre Evaluación de Impacto Ambiental y la Ley Nacional de Ambiente 25675 son de cumplimiento obligatorio e ineludible.

Las localizaciones no se deciden en Nueva York o Saint Louis, Estados Unidos, sino en Malvinas Argentinas, en Córdoba, con la participación de todos sus pobladores. Ningún funcionario público, por alto que sea su rango, puede asegurarle a Monsanto que se instalará. Como cualquier empresa pública o privada debe presentar formalmente su propuesta en Argentina, y someterse a la ley. Lo sucedido fuera del país volvió a mostrar el escaso respeto de muchos funcionarios públicos de Argentina y de la propia Monsanto por los procesos administrativos y por la opinión de personas que pudieran verse afectadas. No olvidemos además que esa empresa tiene pésimos antecedentes industriales. Como ya lo dijimos antes, participó del proceso de fabricación de las primeras bombas atómicas, produjo armas químicas que se usaron en Vietnam y violó normas de todo tipo en muchos países, todo ello en nombre de sus ganancias. De allí que Natural Society, una reconocida organización no gubernamental de Estados Unidos, declarara a Monsanto "la peor empresa del año 2011" tras considerar que amenazaba "la salud humana y el ambiente" [25].

Muchos pobladores de Malvinas Argentinas conocieron la posible radicación de la planta dedicada al acondicionamiento de semillas por los medios y no están dispuestos a que la propia Municipalidad, la provincia o la nación cercene sus derechos. Los debates ya empezaron, sobre todo en los colegios [21]. Apuntan críticamente al intendente y al gobierno de la provincia, pues sospechan que ya se habrían otorgado autorizaciones.

Cabría preguntarse ¿Por qué Córdoba? La decisión no es casual. Hay cuatro motivos visibles.

1) Tiene a nivel nacional la mayor superficie cultivada con soja transgénica y pese a que sólo conserva menos del 5% de bosque nativo, su superficie cultivada sigue creciendo.

2) Desde 1996 los sucesivos gobiernos nacionales y provinciales vienen apoyando esta redituable simplificación de la biodiversidad productiva para acrecentar la exportación.

3) Las universidades públicas y privadas producen cada vez más especialistas en ingeniería genética, y

4) Sectores importantes de la sociedad están convencidos –equivocadamente- que este modelo de producción es económicamente sustentable. Aunque Monsanto no lo explicite, estar cerca de los grandes consumidores de semillas transgénicas le permitirá fiscalizar y reducir el creciente uso irregular de "sus" semillas patentadas.

También existen cuatro motivos invisibles;

1) Argentina ejecuta una pésima política ambiental, más basada en la declamación que en los controles, lo cual tranquiliza a empresas como Monsanto

2) Los gobiernos locales y buena parte de la sociedad no advierten la fuerte degradación de los suelos productivos.

3) Las consecuencias sanitarias permanecen tan poco visibles como los efectos ambientales, y

4) Estado y Monsanto favorecen el mismo tipo de modelo productivo.

Esto es, un modelo extractivo basado en cientos de sustancias tóxicas, falta de controles estatales y ausencia de estudios epidemiológicos. Un modelo que genera cuantiosas ganancias públicas y privadas en el corto plazo. Un modelo que nos hace más dependientes y vulnerables a los compradores externos. Un modelo que le roba salud y estabilidad ambiental a las actuales y futuras generaciones. Un modelo que diariamente y en silencio aumenta la contaminación química de embriones, fetos, mujeres embarazadas, bebés, niños, adolescentes y adultos. Un modelo que en el nombre del progreso (de unos pocos) termina haciendo sufrir indeciblemente (a la mayoría). Un modelo donde por cada tonelada de soja exportada se invierte localmente en una tonelada de sufrimiento silencioso. Pero los sufrimientos silenciosos terminan por romperse. Y cuando el silencio social se rompe nada vuelve a ser igual.

Prof. Montenegro, Biólogo – Presidente de FUNAM, Profesor Titular de Biología Evolutiva en la Universidad Nacional de Córdoba y Premio Nóbel Alternativo 2004 (RLA-Estocolmo, Suecia).


[1] Pérez García, S. & H. Medina. 2008. "Informe de investigación sobre las operaciones de Monsanto en Argentina". Observatorio de las Empresas Transnacionales de FOCO, Reporte n° 5, 12 p.

[2] Nuestro Agro. 2012. "Monsanto invertirá 1.600 millones en su nueva planta de maíz en Córdoba". Editorial Nuestro Agro, Argentina, 18 de junio de 2012, 2 p. Ver la página Web:

[3] El Liberal. "Monsanto anunció inversiones por más de 1.670 millones en la Argentina". Diario El Liberal, Santiago del Estero, 16 de junio de 2012, 1 p.

[4] Robin, M. "Le monde selon Monsanto, de la dioxine aux OGM, une multinationale qui vous veut du bien". Ed. Decouverte & Arte Editions, Paris.

[5] Santamarta, J. 2004. "Los transgénicos en el mundo". World Watch, España, 5 p.

[6] Aranda, D. 2011. "15 años de soja: la prueba del delito". La Vaca, Buenos Aires, 11 p.

[7] Montenegro, R.A. 2006. "Informe sobre los efectos de los plaguicidas en la salud humana y el ambiente. Necesidad de prohibir el uso de plaguicidas agropecuarios en áreas urbanas y periurbanas". FUNAM y Cátedra de Biología Evolutiva Humana, Córdoba, 58 p.

[8] Aizen, M.A.; L.A. Garibaldi & M. Dondo. 2009. "Expansión de la soja y diversidad de la agricultura argentina". Ecología Austral, Vol. 19, pp. 45-54.

[9] WATT. "Soja argentina se destina a producir biodiesel". WATT Ag Net, Estados Unidos, 29 de abril de 2011, 1 p.

[10] Montenegro, R.A. 1999. "Introducción a la ecología urbana". CEVEqU-GADU, Universidad Nacional del Comahue, Neuquén, 190 p.

[11] Cordone, G. "La Argentina solo repone el 37% de los nutrientes del suelo". AIM Digital, Buenos Aires, 6 de julio de 2012, 4 p.

[12] Contra Punto. "El ‘campo’ y el ‘gobierno’ argentino unidos: ambos sectores son cómplices del saqueo en el Sahara". Contra Punto, Argentina, 8 de febrero de 2011, 4 p.

[13] Argen Bio, 2011. "Argentina: evolución de la superficie cultivada con OGM en miles de hectáreas". ArgenBio, 2011, 1 p.

[14] Rollán, A. "La soja en Córdoba superaría los cinco millones de hectáreas". Diario La Voz del Interior, Córdoba, 29 de noviembre de 2008, p. A 8.

[15] Econ Link. "Datos de la producción de soja en Argentina: provincias". Econlink, 1 p. Ver la página Web:

[16] Montenegro, R.A. "Latin American experiences in community based assessments. Joint works with Ituzaingo Anexo neighbors in Cordoba". Proceedings, 3rd. International Conference on Children’s Health and the Environment. London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, University of London (Gran Bretaña), p. 31.

[17] Citado por Primavesi, A. 1984. "Manejo ecologico do solo". Nobel Ed., Sao Paulo, Brazil, p. 142. Ver Cuadro 5.1, en base a trabajos de Dunger (1964) y Kevan (1965).

[18] Según J.J. Ibáñez, del Centro de Investigaciones sobre Desertificación (CSIC) de la Universidad de Valencia (España).

[19] En la causa madre y en la "tercer causa", esta última por loteo ilegal sobre suelos potencialmente contaminados con plaguicidas y demás sustancias tóxicas, el abogado patrocinante de FUNAM y de las Madres (y vecinos) es el Dr. Carlos Nayi. La causa madre y la "tercera causa" están radicadas en la Fiscalía del Dr. Carlos Matheu.

[20] En el juicio o "segunda causa" se juzga la aplicación ilegal de plaguicidas. FUNAM participó del debate y elaboración de la Ordenanza 10590/2003 que prohibió la aplicación de plaguicidas en barrio Ituzaingó Anexo, y logró –tras presentar un informe técnico a la legislatura de Córdoba- que ésta incluyera en la Ley de Agroquímicos 9164/2004 una franja periurbana de 500 metros vedada para la aplicación terrestre de plaguicidas de las Clases Toxicológicas Ia, Ib y II; de 1500 metros para la aplicación aérea de plaguicidas de la Clases Ia, Ib y II, y de 500 metros para la aplicación aérea de plaguicidas de las Clases III y IV. FUNAM solicitaba prohibición total de aplicación terrestre y aérea para una franja de 2500 metros. En ambos casos las propuestas técnicas de FUNAM fueron apoyadas por las Madres de barrio Ituzaingó Anexo. La violación de la ordenanza municipal 10590, de la ley provincial 9164 y de la ley nacional 24051 sobre residuos peligrosos son claves para el juicio que se sustancia en Tribunales II.

[21] FUNAM está acompañando la resistencia pacífica de grupos de vecinos, vecinas y estudiantes de Malvinas Argentinas que se oponen al proyecto, y que exigen el cumplimiento a rajatabla de las leyes vigentes.

[22] Ciciolli, R. 2007. "Se hizo justicia para Silvino Talavera. Dos años de cárcel para sojeros que envenenaron a niño campesino". UITA, Secretaría Regional Latinoamericana, 7 de julio de 2005, 2 p. Ver la página Web:

[23] Mathews, K. "Research firm blames Monsanto for bee deaths so Monsanto buys it". Occupy Monsanto, USA, 30 April 2012, 2 p.

[24] Huff, E.A. "Poland beekeepers kick Monsanto out of the hive, successfully ban bee-killing GM corn". Natural News, USA, May 29, 2012, 2 p.

[25] Gucciardi, A. & M. Barrett. "Monsanto declared worst company of 2011". Natural Society, USA, December 5, 2011, 3 p.

[26] CONABIA es la Comisión Nacional Asesora de Biotecnología Agropecuaria que funciona en el ámbito del Ministerio de Agricultura, Ganadería y Pesca de la Nación. Se creó por Resolución 124/1991.

[27] SENASA es el Servicio Nacional de Sanidad y Calidad Agroalimentaria del Ministerio de Agricultura, Ganadería y Pesca de la Nación. Se creó por Ley Nacional n° 23899/1990.

[28] El AMPA (ácido aminometilfosfónico) es un derivado químico del herbicida glifosato.

Video: Audio real - Misión del 25 de Mayo (May 2022).


  1. Voodoogor

    it is possible to argue so infinitely.

  2. Kajit

    Let's Talk.

  3. Balduin

    Is very similar.

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