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Blatant theft of biological, genetic and ancestral knowledge resources

Blatant theft of biological, genetic and ancestral knowledge resources

By Aníbal Ortizpozo

Dispossessions carried out with the appearance of legality through the registration of patents protected by the signing of multinational or bilateral agreements of the governments of the day, in complicity with transnational companies, scientific and environmental institutions? Of industrialized countries. The victims are generally located in poor countries and especially in indigenous peoples and communities. (1)

Venezuela has been, and continues to be, a victim of biopiracy, says the Venezuelan forestry specialist Julio César Centeno: “The recognition of the rights of indigenous populations in the 1999 national constitution, including the right to their ancestral territories, generates a close relationship between biodiversity, genetic resources and indigenous populations. The appropriation of genetic resources and ancestral knowledge of indigenous peoples, by corporations and transnational research centers, implies the dispossession of one of the most important resources of both indigenous communities and the Venezuelan nation.

Although it is true that the Venezuelan Constitution explicitly prohibits the registration of patents on genetic resources and ancestral knowledge of indigenous communities. “However, Julio César Centeno continues, the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity does allow them, thus protecting the criminal activities that proliferate uncontrollably in the South American rainforests on this matter.

Some Venezuelan organizations, branches or agencies of environmental transnational corporations, protected by alleged scientific, ecological or humanitarian initiatives, frequently contribute to the looting of the biological and genetic heritage of the country, or to the expropriation of the ancestral knowledge of indigenous communities " .(2)

It is said easy. All this looting and degrading treatment of indigenous peoples is solved by enforcing the Constitution and the Laws. The Constitution of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela recognizes and includes indigenous peoples as never before, Article 124 establishes: “The collective intellectual property of the knowledge, technologies and innovations of indigenous peoples is guaranteed and protected. All activities related to genetic resources and the knowledge associated with them will pursue collective benefits. The registration of patents on these resources and ancestral knowledge is prohibited ”. More clearly, "pour water". However, in practice, advances in this area are not as desired. Some of the territories have become "no man's land". The jungles of the Imataca, the Alto Orinoco, the Sierra de Perijá, the Delta Amacuro and many others, continue to be free avenues for abuse against indigenous peoples.

Finally, it is urgent to rectify policies that, on the one hand, claim to respect cultural diversity, ways of life, and think their own, and on the other, with regard to land tenure, ancestrally community, is subject to demarcations and handed over in small parcels, generating individual and family disputes, contrary to the community, traditional conception of social ownership of the land.

It is on the South American land of the indigenous communities where all these criminal acts are committed; almost all of them go unpunished, without penalties. Caught between the transnationals, large landowners and their hitmen and the bureaucratic state policies, the people hope that the regulations that prevent and penalize these blatant robberies will be enforced.

Notes
1- Some cases of patent registration and other illegalities Ayahuasca, sacred plant of the Amazon - International Plant Medicine Corporation USA - Patented in 1986 Quinua, cereal rich in protein - University of Colorado USA - Patented in 1994 Maca - Pure World Botanicals and Biotics Research Corporation USA - Patents 2000 and 2001 Corn, variety of Mexico - Dupont Company - Patented in 2001 Genetic and 'intangible' resources of the Yanomami - Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule (ETH) of Zürich, Switzerland - Contract signed in 1999 Private foundation FUDECI and its database BIOZULUA - Records of animal, vegetable and mineral resources of the communities of the Venezuelan Amazon, its geographical location through GPS positioning New Tribes - Destruction for decades of the mythological and religious cultural heritage of indigenous communities. Explorations to locate mineral and biological resources of a strategic nature. 2- Biopiracy in Venezuela, Julio César Centeno, Rebelión.org 2009

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Video: Genetic Circuits (May 2021).