By Gonzalo Acosta
DIARIOJUNIO interviewed this 47-year-old man from Basavilbaso, to give voice to a problem whose consequences are beginning to emerge, giving body to dire expressions such as: congenital malformation, leukemia, spontaneous abortion, atrophy, intoxication, allergies ... Affected and damaged, silenced by a productive matrix that reports millionaire profits, and that involves the political, corporate and healthcare establishment.
The current state of the victim, Fabian Tomasi
And as Fabián reveals to us: "Those affected come to be the secondary effects of the remedies, we are within the project of what should be, we are part of what is planned", so are we facing a health drama or a political problem? For now, the Agrochemicals Bill that was to be approved in the Senate of Paraná is at an impasse until September.
Among other obscure points, it was established that the minimum spraying distance was 100 meters for ground sprays, and 200 for aerial sprays, when the original distance was 500 meters. What happens here will be seen in the coming weeks, now we present a testimony of the negative consequences of the entrerriano agri-food plan. And as our interviewee warns, "Don't forget that this is just beginning, now those of us who were in the front line are falling, we are going to see what happens in the coming years. When life is wasting away there are no half measures, no nuances; this is the following interview.
Hand in hand with Fabián Tomasi, the mortal side of the Entre Rios agricultural model.
-What was diagnosed and how was the process?
-I was told I had toxic polyneuropathy. I went to ANSES, presented the studies and at no time did I tell them that I had agrochemical poisoning. Then they referred me to Paraná, and I was treated by a doctor named Basavilbaso, and the joints and atrophy of the hands caught his attention, and they determined a lot of things: such as decreased muscle capacity and dermatomatosis, but generalizing all that They decreed that I suffered from a toxic polyneuropathy or "Cobbler's Disease."
-You worked for the fumigation company Molina & Cía. SRL. That is, you constantly manipulated agrochemicals: glyphosate, endosulfan, 2,4-D, chlorpyrifos ...
-Yes, I worked with poisons, but now explain to me how a pregnant woman has spontaneous abortion, and it is not known why, that was demonstrated by the scientist Carrasco [The academic and neuroscientist Andrés Carrasco, who died in May 2014, verified and placed the glyphosate herbicide as responsible for malformations in embryos, presided over CONICET and denounced it for not investigating such issues, for having an agreement with Monsanto]. Carrasco's death was a very hard blow for us, I met him in Gualeguaychú, he was a man who was understood, because we all talk to talk, but to be understood later is something else. I even think Monsanto will have toasted.
They offered me money after the first doctors examined me. It is worth saying that at Molina & Cía. They had me working in black, I got retirement for PAMI thanks to my previous jobs.
-How is your treatment? -All my treatment is based on neural therapy or alternative medicine with procaine, they apply it to different parts of the body and that made the sores all close, and thus have the body without injuries, the truth is that it is less suffering. The progress of muscle loss is still in process, because I am getting thinner.
-What is your current situation, are they affected to consult you, because you have gained visibility in this fight and it should not be easy to show your face and more in small towns like Basavilbaso?
-Taking the step forward has brought me many problems. Here in Basavilbaso I am alone, imagine that we do not even get staff to help us with the housework, we are very frowned upon here, for having shown our faces. I suffer from chronic pain; I have to be bathed and dressed, I am totally aware of another person.
There are many affected people who come to see me and I tell them where they can attend, because they feel bad, and traditional medicine does not give them an answer. But nobody wants to show their face, it is not easy to be the shadow of success; it is easier to be in favor and say nothing so as not to create enemies. I don't have friends here in Basavilbaso, I live alone; Nobody comes to my house, I haven't left the house for four months, I live with my mother.
- Cases are appearing, without repercussion in the provincial press, or rather covered by omission, either in Bovril, in San Salvador, in Nogoyá or in Basavilbaso itself; of births with genetic modifications. Scholars say that this phenomenon occurs due to accumulation of toxic exposure: Do you have knowledge of the subject?
-Agriculture in Entre Ríos is a concentration camp, the other day I would go out to take off my clothes and outside there was a tremendous smell of poison, those who do not realize it do not feel, or feel it as natural. They are substances that act by accumulation, they get into your body and that is where your genetic field can modify, that is why spontaneous abortions, boys who are born with perforated palates, with cleft lips, with amputated limbs, with loss of the arm , and since they are general data, people will never relate it to agro-poisons. As it is cumulative, people get used to it and take it as one more disease. And therein lies the big mistake, because they themselves are dying with this but with the difference that with a full pocket.
Agriculture has never been so easy to practice as it is now, and it has never earned as much money as with soybeans, of course not the small producers that are destined to disappear, but the seed pools; that with the GPS they got rid of the problem of the banderilleros children.
-Patricio Eleisegui says that "we are within a perverse framework that forces victims to demonstrate the toxicity of what is killing them, when it should be the other way around- companies prove that what they sell does not poison us." How do you see the problem?
-Yes, the problem is that a doctor assures you that the causes that caused leukemia, for example, can be derived from agrochemicals, it is a very complex issue. If the doctors would be more committed and denounce what is happening, there would be more awareness and responsibility, because the patterns of diseases have changed in Entre Ríos in recent years from this form of production with agrochemicals.
-Yes, there are studies by Dr. Darío Gianfelici on the change in the profile of diseases in the last decade, he was one of the first to attribute these changes to the use of agrochemicals, it happened like Andrés Carrasco who were disqualified and silenced by the health authorities and the scientific community. In Argentina there are 25 million hectares with genetically modified crops in which 300 million liters of agrochemicals are applied. Why is it said that agrochemicals are remedies or phytosanitary?
-Don't forget that we got out of default, thanks to what soy generates.
So from that data it is happily said that agrochemicals are remedies to cure plants, that is an aberration, they are poisons that come from World War II, that killed people, where is the remedy? Calling them phytosanitary is a lie, they are poisons, the labels say: "Toxic", from moderate to very toxic, they are substances prepared to kill everything that the modified crop does not carry.
-There is a truth with a capital letter and it is that to criticize the use of agrochemicals, direct seeding and transgenics is to attack the backbone of Latin American economies. And to discuss the regulatory framework and its applications is to legitimize a production model that generates millions of dollars and that at the same time leads us to the destruction of both people's health, biodiversity and the earth itself. I think of the Agrochemicals Law that managed to stop in Paraná until September, because of the social struggle, there a law of criteria of distance or use was discussed, of whether there are products that are prohibited or not, but deep down the central point It is that we are running behind an already consolidated model and at the same time we tend to naturalize that the agricultural production model has devastating collateral effects.
-The activists stopped the law, it was a shame, they were only called agronomists, no environmentalists, everything was arranged according to distances. Now they left it to treat it in September because it had no support, the legislators did not know what to say, the politicians were pressed for it to be approved, there was so much resistance in Paraná that they decided to repeal it for a few months ... The truth is that it cannot come out, because there is no one left!
I would like to discuss with an agronomist, the sustainability of this agriculture. Here it is not a problem of a political party, it is of the political mass of the country, there is no other way out than to receive the money that soy generates. As long as that happens, SENASA will not see that it is worth, nor INTA that it is worth, they will continue to do things as they are done.
And do not forget that this has only just begun, now we who were in the first line fall, we will see what happens in the next few years. And those affected come to be the side effects of the remedies, we are within the project of what should be, we are part of what is planned.