Monsanto, Bayer, Syngenta, Dow, Dupont, Nidera, Bioceres and seven other corporations that produce transgenic seeds and manufacturers of pesticides have already been notified of the unprecedented class action lawsuit that has followed them since June 2015 for environmental and moral damages - among others - produced by what the presentation calls "uncontrolled release into the open field of GMOs (genetically modified organisms, or transgenic)". The defendants also include the National State and the provinces of Buenos Aires, Entre Ríos and Santiago del Estero. This is how the burden of proof was reversed: "" Now those notified must answer and present evidence that what they are doing is safe, "he explained toCow Daniel Sallaberry, one of the lawyers driving the case.
After being notified, the corporations and the State have 15 business days to respond to this demand that requests, for example:
- that the Executive Power be ordered to suspend the commercialization of transgenic soybeans and the "uncontrolled release" of these products to the open field,
- that the authorization of all transgenic events be provisionally suspended until there is a scientific determination on their safety,
- in defense of consumers, that the mandatory labeling “perfectly visible and prominent to the human eye” be provided for mass-sold food products containing derivatives of GMOs.
- that the application of pesticides used for the cultivation of transgenics be suspended throughout the country until the safety of the same for the environment, ecosystems and the health of living beings is scientifically proven.
Attached, Prosecutor Fabián Canda's appeal in which he supports the suspension of the fumigations until it is proven that they do not harm
Sallaberry, along with lawyers Santiago Kaplun, Jorge Mosset Iturraspe, Graciela Vizcay Gómez, Horacio Belosi and Miguel Araya represent a group of victims of the effects of the fumigations. But those victims are in turn representing all Argentine citizens through the collective lawsuit or "class action" that enables mass trials, as is often the practice in countries like the United States.
“The 'class' affected, in this case, is the entire community” explains Sallaberry: “Judge Claudia Rodríguez Vidal recognized the plaintiffs as suitability and representation to act on behalf of the entire Argentine population as affected by the fumigations, but also in their character as consumers of transgenic foods whose effects are not known, for example, among other basic human rights that are affected by this productive matrix ”.
Suspension of spraying
The lawsuit was initiated before the Supreme Court of Justice, which referred it to the National Court No. 3 in Federal Administrative Litigation, headed by Judge Rodríguez Vidal. The lawyers requested a precautionary measure to suspend the spraying throughout the country, which was rejected by the judge.
But in December 2016, the federal prosecutor Fabián Canda appealed that rejection and ratified the request of the lawsuit: total suspension of spraying. And it clarifies that if the injunction is not made, it is requested that all aerial spraying be temporarily suspended while the trial is being resolved, and that land spraying of all glyphosate products be carried out more than 5,000 meters from urban areas, municipalities, settlements, towns, rural schools, orchards, beekeeping centers, rivers, streams, lagoons, water courses and bodies of water, as well as wells for the extraction of water for human consumption. The appeal must be resolved by the Federal Chamber in Administrative Litigation No. 3.
The lawsuit also seeks to condemn the National Executive, in particular the National Advisory Commission for Agricultural Biotechnology, CONABIA, and the National Service for Agrifood Health and Quality, SENASA, for breach of the duty of control. "Both the State and the defendant companies, aware of the reality and the rule of the cost-benefit relationship, devised a perverse system that made it possible to externalize the cost of environmental degradation and contamination," says the presentation. The state role in these matters has not changed since the case began, Cristina Kirchner administration, until now.
The complete class action lawsuit against 14 corporations and the State for environmental damage: COLLECTIVE LAWSUIT GIMENEZ A AND OTHERS (v1.6f)
How to repair the damage
The plaintiffs demand that the multinational biotechnology, seed and chemical companies, producers and marketers of GMOs, be sentenced.
- To the recomposition of “the totality of hectares sown with GMOs” (…) by hiring specialized persons or institutions to design and implement a recovery and regeneration plan ”.
- In cases where it is not possible to restore damaged assets (soil, water, fauna, flora), they are obliged to contribute monetarily to an environmental compensation fund or trust, which can be calculated according to international monetarization systems. of environmental damage to offset losses for a minimum period of 50 years. The lawsuit proposes to allocate the trust to implement INTA's Comprehensive Agrarian Plans, such as that of 2001/2003, which were not carried out and which contemplate "ecological and social sustainability."
- In the face of collective moral damage, compensation is proposed through a work directly related to the collective social-cultural heritage, for which a Railway Master Plan is proposed to rebuild the entire national railway network, renovate its buildings, stations, tracks and trains. Benefits: thousands of jobs; incorporation and creation of new productive areas far from consumption centers; improvement with respect to the anachronistic, risky and highly polluting land transport system; effective integration of the national territory; generation of high social profitability by reducing fatal accidents, reducing freight costs by 20% and shortening travel times by 30%.
- A conviction is also proposed for "punitive damage" equivalent in amount to non-pecuniary damage, a kind of fine or compensation. Explains Sallaberry: "Punitive damage occurs when another is harmed knowingly and without caring about the other, and the idea is to convey a message of reproof of human rights violations and to prevent these events from being repeated."
The economic value of this sanction could be based on the profits of the multinationals in recent years (there are estimates that put that figure at about 80,000 million dollars) or on ideas such as reinstalling the entire Argentine rail network, which is estimated at about 4,000 millions of dollars. Sallaberry: "We do not do the calculation, it already happened to us in the Riachuelo Cause (in which the five male lawyers who promote it intervened) in which, before a request for equivalence, we proposed to create a green corridor from the Riachuelo to Ezeiza".
Another argument of the lawyer: “The defendant companies and the State itself, via the Ministry of Agroindustry, want to disqualify our claim saying that we oppose biotechnology and its development and scientific advances to alleviate hunger in the world or combat diseases. Nothing further from reality. The lawsuit is not against scientific research developed in the laboratory for such purposes; Our demand goes against the sowing in the open field and without control of 30 million hectares outside the laboratory or experimental fields, and the fumigations that in each campaign spill more than 300,000,000 liters of pesticides, that is, poison, over 12,000. 000 people of rural population.
And the progress?
On the issue of supposed progress, Sallaberry directly quotes the Supreme Court: "Guarding or preserving the environment does not mean stopping progress, but on the contrary, making it more enduring so that future generations can enjoy it."
Another idea: “Here a whole is being affected, a community. That is not progress. Nor is it progress that we cannot even read on a container whether the product contains transgenics, so as to at least freely choose whether or not I want to consume. And if I am not falling short, we are talking about 90% of what we eat in the country ”.
In mid-March the days set for the companies and the State to respond to the notification will be fulfilled. “There are no environmental impact studies, they are the ones who should have proof of the safety of what they do. Meanwhile, we have shown all the works and studies, including those of the State itself through the Ministry of the Environment in 2008, in which it is stated that soy monoculture is harmful to the environment, produces deforestation, desertification, depopulation " .
Among the curiosities of the case it can be counted that a cause of such magnitude has had almost no media coverage. "It is that the conventional media promote the model that we are questioning in this lawsuit." In a sign of coherence, the silence encompassed both the official and opposition mainstream media, before and now.
By mid-March, both the State and the defendant companies should have answered and presented evidence that shows that there is no environmental damage. Sallaberry: “We'll see what they do. That's where the great battle will begin ”.
The note that tells the full case in MU 92:http://www.lavaca.org/mu92/juicio-y-castigo-2/