domingo, abril 30, 2006

Organic Bytes #80: Health, Justice and Sustainability News Tidbits with an Edge

  • By Craig Minowa and Ronnie Cummins
    Organic Consumers Association, 4/28/2006

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A nationwide network of nonprofit organizations, including the Organic Consumers Association, are mobilizing to stop Congress from passing a law that would enable telecommunications giants to control the flow of traffic on the internet. Companies like AT&T, Verizon and Comcast are pressuring Congress to pass the "Telecom Reform Bill" that would allow them to restrict or slow down your access to certain websites on the internet. As an example, last year, Canada's version of AT&T -- Telus -- blocked their internet customers from visiting a web site sympathetic to workers with whom Telus was negotiating. This controversial bill would create a similar situation in the U.S. whereby telephone and cable companies would have increased power to control how well (or poorly) specific websites, including those operated by nonprofit organizations, would function on your computer. The current construction of the internet allows everyone to compete on a level playing field. This is the reason that the internet is a force for economic innovation, civic participation and free speech. If the public doesn't speak up now, Congress will hand over control of the internet to these telecommunications monopolies.
Please take action:


A massive march and rally, organized by a network of peace, environmental, and public interest organizations, including the OCA, will take place Saturday, April 29 in New York City. Hundreds of thousands of demonstrators will call for an end to the war in Iraq, a massive reduction in greenhouse gases, and a transformation of the American economy to sustainable and organic production. If you can travel to New York, please attend the march, but you can also take part online by joining organic consumers across the country in calling for an end to the war in Iraq and a massive reduction in greenhouse gases.
Sign on as a "Virtual Marcher" here:


A new certification and labeling system has been launched in Western Montana that goes a step beyond federal "USDA Organic." The Western Montana Sustainable Growers Union has launched the "Homegrown" label, which guarantees that products sold to consumers are not only organic, but were also produced within a 150 mile radius. The Homegrown label also aims to promote fair labor practices. Farmers with the Homegrown certification are also urged to purchase supplies locally to keep money in the community. According to Lynn Byczynski, editor and publisher of Growing for Market, a national magazine dedicated to farmers' markets, "What they (the Growers Union) are doing there is not uncommon. There are groups like this bubbling up all over the place in response to the corporate takeover of organics."
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  • Kraft Foods bought small natural cereals producer Back to Nature in
    2004. The company is a subsidiary of Altria Group, which also owns Phillip Morris Companies Inc., one of the largest cigarette makers in the world. Kraft also owns Boca Burger Inc.
  • Odwalla Inc., which produces natural and organic fruit juices, was purchased by Coca-Cola in 2001.
  • Dean Foods Co., the largest dairy company in the U.S., bought out Horizon Organic in 2003, in addition to Silk soymilk and White Wave tofu.
  • Kellogg's has acquired several natural and organic brands: Kashi Cereal and Morningstar Farms.
  • General Mills purchased Cascadian Farm, in 2000. The brand consists of items such as frozen fruit, vegetables, granola bars and fruit spreads. General Mills also bought out Muir Glen, which produces ketchup, tomato sauce, and salsa.
  • Unilever bought out Ben & Jerry's for $326 million.
  • Colgate-Palmolive Co. is purchasing Tom's of Maine, which specializes in natural oral and personal care products.
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If you don't have one already, there's no better time than the present to start your own vegetable garden, whether it's on your own land or in a local community plot. According to the latest data from the US Department of Agriculture, the level of home food production is at its lowest point in US history. With the average food traveling more than 1500 miles from farm to fork, the environmental impact of big agribusiness foods is at an all time high. Concerned about global warming and peak oil? Consider the fact that it takes 400 calories of fossil fuels to transport a single 5 calorie strawberry from California to East Coast supermarkets. What's more, that flavorless non-organic strawberry was grown with methyl bromide, a carcinogenic and ozone depleting pesticide. In contrast, a perennial patch of strawberries in your yard grows back on its own every year, requires no fossil fuels and no pesticides, and tastes a whole lot better. The environmental benefits of growing some of your own food are staggering. The Organic Consumers Association is developing a new campaign to help turn every thumb into a Green thumb.
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Consumers are forcing the $35 billion per year lawn & garden care industry to make space for organics. Stores like Lowe's, Sears and Home Depot, which traditionally have only sold synthetic fertilizers and pesticides, are selling record amounts of organic soils and fertilizers this Spring. A recent survey from the National Gardening Association found that, while only 5% of U.S. households now use all-organic methods in their yards, some 21% said they would likely do so in the future. Studies over the past three decades have linked common lawn and garden chemicals with cancer and kidney or liver damage, particularly in children and pets. "Initially, it may feel harder, but in the long term, it's easier," says Scott Meyer, editor of Organic Gardening magazine. He likens using chemicals to "putting your yard on steroids." Over time, he says, "it weakens the system."
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The EPA has responded to the flood of public comments opposing the registration of the carcinogenic pesticide methyl iodide, thanks to the tens of thousands of Organic Bytes readers who responded to our alert in the February 10th issue and to the work of ally organizations like the Pesticide Action Network. In January, the EPA had indicated it would allow farmers to apply up to 400 lbs. of the carcinogenic chemical to each acre. Unlike many other pesticides, methyl iodide vaporizes quickly, causing it to drift far distances. Although the state of California has categorized it as cancer causing, and the EPA admits it causes thyroid tumors, the chemical was on the verge of being given the green light by the EPA but was stopped by the barrage of letters from all of you. Thank you!
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Just because they are bigger than they used to be, doesn't mean they're as nutritious. According to data collected by the USDA, non-organic vegetables have fewer vitamins and minerals than they did 50 years ago. On an overall scale of all produce tested, protein has declined by six percent, iron has declined 15 percent, vitamin C has dropped 20 percent, and riboflavin has fallen by 38 percent. An analysis of the nutritional drops was published in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition and suggests the loss is due to the increased cultivation of crops that were bred for high growth and production and not for nutritional value.
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A new survey in India has found genetically engineered cotton (Bt Cotton) is causing negative health effects among farm workers. The survey, covering six villages, reported, "All the evidence gathered during the investigation shows that Bt has been causing skin, upper respiratory tract and eye allergies among persons exposed to cotton." The people affected did not have previous histories of allergies to cotton. One woman in the report had such a severe reaction to the biotech cotton she had to be removed from the fields and was taken to Barwani District Hospital where she remained for 9 days.
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The Nestlé Corporation, the world's largest food manufacturer, has successfully secured a patent on genetically modified coffee. The company, with over $65 billion in annual sales, claims their biotech coffee has a higher level of solubility in water, thereby increasing flavor and caffeine levels per cup. Nestle is also in the process of patenting genetically manipulated yogurt bacteria and genetically modified cocoa. Nestle promotes genetically engineered foods while claiming "the Fair Trade approach is not a solution."
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jueves, abril 27, 2006

Proyecto de Bioseguridad de Puerto Rico
Edificio Darlington, Suite 703
San Juan, Puerto Rico 00925
Página web:

25 de abril de 2006

Líderes hispanos a favor de regular la industria de la biotecnología

Río Piedras- El Proyecto de Bioseguridad de Puerto Rico, participará como invitado especial de la 19na Conferencia Anual Legislativa Somos el Futuro, organización que agrupa a líderes puertorriqueños e hispanos del estado de Nueva York. El educador ambiental Carmelo Ruiz Marrero, director del Proyecto de Bioseguridad de Puerto Rico, está invitado por New York State Against Genetic Engineering of Food (NYSAGE), una coalición de cooperativas y comunidades agrícolas del estado de Nueva York, que defienden la agricultura sustentable y los alimentos sanos.

El tema del impacto a la salud humana y ambiental de los cultivos y alimentos genéticamente alterados, será asunto de discusión en la conferencia legislativa. El asambleísta estatal de la ciudad de Nueva York, el boricua Peter Rivera, radicó un proyecto de ley (A8344), para fiscalizar la industria de la biotecnología.

La conferencia legislativa, presidida por Peter Rivera, se reúne del 28 al 30 de abril en la ciudad de Albany. El grupo de trabajo denominado, Somos el Futuro, reúne a concejales, asambleístas y líderes puertorriqueños y latinos, para influenciar y desarrollar políticas públicas, leyes y reglamentos que atiendan las necesidades de la comunidad hispana.

El Proyecto de Bioseguridad, fundado en el 2004, tiene como propósito educar a la ciudadanía sobre las implicaciones de los productos genéticamente alterados, también llamados transgénicos.

Contacto: (787) 203-2615, 771-4473

Para mayor información sobre las organizaciones mencionadas pueden acceder a las siguientes páginas cibernéticas:

Proyecto de Bioseguridad de Puerto Rico
Conferencia de Somos el Futuro
New York State Against Genetic Engineering of Food

martes, abril 25, 2006



Given that the countries which have ratified the Kyoto Protocol have to fulfill certain obligations in relation to CO2 emissions, and that in other international forums they having committed to replace 20% of gasoline and diesel with other sustainable sources by the year 2020 (this is the case of countries members of the European Union), a series of industries have appeared, consultants and specialized firms working to convert these obligations into business.

What is foreseen for the future is that even though fossil fuels will slowly be replaced by other forms of energy the oil industry will continue to play a central role in its substitution, and the use of the infrastructure that they have today with some adaptations, for example in the distribution of fuels for vehicles and other forms of transport that require this form of energy.

Identified as alternatives to the motorized transport are the following forms of fuel: Natural gas, hydrogen, bio fuels, biomass liquid fuels (BTL) and liquid gas.


Various European countries have established goals that increasing use biofuels as a substitute to gasoline and diesel.

Biofuels include ethanol and biodiesel that are obtained from conventional agricultural crops such as sugar cane, cereals and oilseeds.

The European Union has established that by the year 2010, 6% of fuels will be biofuels and hopes that by 2020 the percentage will increase to 8%.

However it is unlikely that Europe will dedicate its soils to the growth of these types of crops.

In this new world scenario, the Third World Countries are playing an important role: they will provide the land and their fertility, cheap labour and will retain all environmental effects caused by large plantations from which the biofuels and refining.

In the same manner as occurs with the oil industry, the increasing European demand for biofuels means that countries of the Third World become the sources of supply of this new industry.

In effect currently the main supplier of bioethanol to the United Kingdom is Brazil.

Companies dedicated to the business of biodiesel have placed their sights on Latin American, African, Asian and Pacific countries, since they consider that these countries can obtain raw material at competitive prices. According to declarations made by the CEO of the DI Oils, they are working with plantations of crops known as Jatropha for the production of biodiesel from Ghana to the Philippines, passing through India, Madagascar and South Africa. Up till now they have established 267.000 Ha and have the intention of expanding to 9 million Ha in the future.

According to the British Crop Protection Council (BCPC) the use transgenic crops for the biofuel industry will be inevitable.

Currently President Lula of Brazil has declared transgenic soya to be used for biofuels and good soya for human consumption. Argentina is also advancing plans to transform transgenic soya into biodiesel.

The industry considers the for the processing of biofuels, large refining plants need to be constructed close to agricultural areas or forests which is where the raw material is found. This will depend on whether the biofuel is sold in its pure form or as a mixture. Generally biofuels are mixed with gasoline or conventional diesel. The forms of transport are similar to those used in the oil industry.

It is predicted that the oil industry with the aim of maintaining control over the distribution of fuels, will enter an agreement with these new companies since in many cases the production chain can be very complex.

To refine biodiesel a transesterification method is needed via a catalytic breaking of the acid oily chain of crude oil to transform it into alcohol ester (biodiesel) and glycerin.


Apparently this is a business in which everybody wins. The European emissions of CO2 decreases, third world countries increase their exports increasing the quality of life of rural populations.

However the reality is different.

In relation to climate change, it is said that during the growth of the crop, these absorb CO2. This is true only in relation to what was growing before the plantation was established. Since the industry has plans of growing exponentially, it is possible that they occupy primary or secondary forested areas, as already occurs with the plantations of soy in Argentina (where slowly forests of el Chaco have been displaced), Paraguay (where soy has replaced Pantanal, Atlantic Forest and Chaco areas) and even more dramatically in Brazil where Amazon forests, Pantanal, Atlantic forests have been replaced by soy. In this case the CO2 balance is negative.

On the other hand the moment in which the biodiesel is burnt CO2 is regenerated as product of the combustion.

Additionally other green house gases are generated as a product of the crop itself, the refining and distribution of the fuel. Therefore we can say that the use of biofuels generates CO2 and other green house gases.

In relation to the benefits to the producers of the raw material these can be extremely negative.

Firstly we have the destruction of forest and other original vegetation, as has been seen, but if we include the mass expansion of these crops it could threaten food sovereignty of local populations, because they would stop producing food crops for the population with the aim of producing "clean fuels" for European countries.

Argentina for example has planned to increase the production of soya to 100 million tons, which implies a huge environmental and social cost to the Argentinean people, such as the displacement from rural lands, growing deforestation and desertification of soils and therefore greater hunger and social inequity.

Large scale agriculture, such as is needed to comply with the demand for biofuels is highly dependant of oil derivates which apart from producing CO2 emissions are highly contaminant.

The predictions for Brazil are alarming, since this country could become the world leader in the substitution of fossil fuels for sources of renewable energy, with all the impacts this implies. Even though in Brazil biofuels have been obtained from sugar cane the increase expansion of soy (transgenic?) will make the substitution of this crop inevitable.

Recently the Spanish government of Zapatero announced that Repsol will install a biodiesel plant in Leon. It is predicted that the raw material will be obtained from oily crops and will come from regions where labour and land is cheap and where transgenic crops are permitted. This is in the Southern Hemisphere.

To look for solutions to the current energy model, it is not enough to think of technological solution or substitute one source of energy for another, but instead we need to think of new sustainable decentralized and just societies.


Grupo de Reflexión Rural. 2005. Argentina
Energy Institute. Petroleum Review. Suplemento Especial sobre nuevos combustibles. Septiembre 2005.
ASAJA Leon. 2005. 'Aquejados por la fiebre del biodiesel'. El anuncio de Zapatero de traer de la manos de Repsol una planta de biodiesel a Leon ha generado no pocas expectativas dentro y fuera del mundo agrario.


lunes, abril 24, 2006

La Jornada, México, 22 de abril de 2006

Rompiendo el silencio del desierto verde

Silvia Ribeiro *

El 8 de marzo pasado, 2 mil mujeres de Via Campesina entraron en un vivero de la empresa Aracruz Celulosa en Rio Grande do Sul, Brasil, destruyendo, según la empresa, un millón de plantones de eucalipto y su laboratorio. Según Via Campesina, esta acción, realizada en el Día Internacional de la Mujer, fue una protesta contra las graves consecuencias sociales y ambientales que causa la expansión del "desierto verde", como llaman a las extensas áreas de monocultivos de eucalipto que se extienden por varias partes del planeta, y que ahora también están invadiendo el sur de Brasil.

La prensa de ese estado y algunos diarios nacionales lanzaron un ataque virulento y mentiroso, acusándolas de vandalismo e inmoralidad; de estar contra el progreso y hasta de intromisión extranjera -por la supuesta presencia de miembros de Via Campesina internacional. Inclusive, un representante de la Rede Globo, la cuasi monopólica megaempresa de comunicaciones de Brasil, creó su propia "noticia" (falsa, pero aumentó el "rating") llamando a la policía desde una rueda de prensa de Via Campesina para que detuvieran a supuestos participantes de la acción, a quienes en realidad acababan de conocer en la conferencia. La policía estatal allanó brutalmente el local de las compañeras del Movimiento de Mujeres Campesinas (MMC).

Los medios que han atacado sin tregua la acción de Via Campesina, no consideran vandalismo que Aracruz, la mayor empresa global de plantaciones de eucaliptos para celulosa blanqueada, tenga un historial devastador de destrucción de tierras, biodiversidad y fuentes de agua en el norte de Brasil, o que haya provocado el desplazamiento de miles de habitantes de las comunidades negras (quilombolas) e indígenas de esa zona. Tampoco que hayan comprado los terrenos de sus plantaciones durante la dictadura a dueños ilegítimos que se habían apropiado de la tierra de los pueblos tupinikim y guaraní, y las comunidades quilombolas, o que para sus actividades hayan recibido préstamos del Banco Mundial y el Banco Nacional de Desarrollo de Brasil, que subsidiaron con dinero público sus inmensos lucros provenientes de la explotación arrolladora del ambiente, campesinos e indígenas.

O que apenas unas semanas antes de la acción de las mujeres en Rio Grande do Sul, en enero de 2006, Aracruz Celulosa, con apoyo de la policía federal del gobierno de Lula, atropelló con tractores dos aldeas de los indígenas tupinikim y guaraníes en Espírito Santo, dejando varios heridos y sin hogar a 100 familias, al parecer, para darle un toque "práctico" al litigio abierto por los indígenas sobre esa zona, en el cual la propia Fundación Nacional del Indio (órgano oficial) les reconoce la razón.

Las plantaciones de eucaliptos y árboles de rápido crecimiento son otra de las políticas del Banco Mundial en los países del tercer mundo, promovida y subsidiada con dinero público para beneficio de unas pocas megaempresas globales. Estos grandes monocultivos son altamente degradantes del suelo, agua y biodiversidad. Los eucaliptos crecen en periodos de aproximadamente siete años hasta un tamaño con el que pueden ser usados comercialmente. En general, pueden ser talados hasta tres veces, pero luego el nivel de agotamiento del suelo es tal, por la enorme absorción de nutrientes y agua, que dejan suelos muertos, con un desierto de tocones estériles, que no puede ser utilizado para ningún otro fin. Las plantaciones demandan cada vez más tierras y mayores niveles de uso de agrotóxicos, tanto para fertilizar como para combatir las plagas provocadas por la uniformidad. Los eucaliptos generan además sustancias tóxicas para otras especies, una forma "natural" de la planta para favorecer su propio crecimiento.

Según las comunidades quilombolas e indígenas de Espírito Santo, no solamente los han desplazado de los propios terrenos plantados, sino de todos los aledaños o rodeados por las plantaciones, por la sequía de los ríos y arroyos, la contaminación del agua y el suelo, la extinción de muchas especies vegetales y animales que utilizaban en su alimentación y la imposibilidad de seguir con sus propios cultivos debido a los químicos en el ambiente.

Como expresa el Movimiento Mundial de Bosques, las grandes plantaciones no son sino ejércitos industriales de árboles que impiden la vida a su alrededor.

El paso "lógico" siguiente son las plantas de celulosa, que de por sí conllevan nuevos y graves impactos ambientales. En ambos procesos la mano de obra es mínima, en su mayoría riesgosa, pesada, insalubre y con salarios de explotación. La mayor parte de este proceso tiene como finalidad la producción de papel que, contrario a lo que se podría pensar, no es para actividades culturales o educativas, sino para propaganda y embalajes que demandan las enormes cadenas de supermercados que han sustituido a los comercios locales. Sólo 15 por ciento del papel es usado directamente por los consumidores. En promedio, un habitante estadunidense consume 27 veces más papel que uno de países del sur.

Tanto papel inútil, violencia y ruido mediático ocultan el silencio sobre estos verdaderos y comprobados actos vandálicos. Mientras tanto, 37 mujeres y hombres de Via Campesina están en proceso de acusación legal por la acción contra el vivero de Aracruz, con riesgo de cárcel por romper el silencio del desierto verde. Varios movimientos sociales han promovido una carta de solidaridad con las y los acusados que se puede firmar en el sitio El manifiesto de solidaridad se titula "As mudas romperan o silêncio": es un juego de palabras -"mudas" también significa plantones.

* Investigadora de Grupo ETC
(con datos del Movimiento Mundial de Bosques,


domingo, abril 23, 2006

Cuando el pasado mes de febrero el presidente de Francia, Jacques Chirac, recorrió una serie de países del África francófona, habló mucho de agricultura. Se detuvo en Dakar, Senegal, y habló en un seminario donde otros seis jefes de estado de la región y cientos de representantes de agricultores lo escucharon atentamente. En esa oportunidad exhortó a reorientar el desarrollo agrícola en el sentido de la soberanía alimentaria. Para él eso implica que la agricultura debería recibir un tratamiento especial en el debate sobre la globalización, que es necesario respetar las tradiciones locales y que habría que tener en cuenta el grado de desarrollo de cada país. Sin embargo, en el mismo seminario argumentó fervorosamente que las políticas agrícolas actuales de la Unión Europea _muy criticadas por hacer dumping de exportaciones, fijar impuestos a las importaciones y socavar la agricultura de los pequeños agricultores de la Unión Europea y de todos lados_ no deberían ser consideradas enemigas de los países y agricultores pobres. ¿Pedir soberanía alimentaria, pero dejar el sistema alimentario mundial intocado?

Pocos meses antes de que Chirac viajara a África, GRAIN realizó la reunión anual de sus integrantes en una pequeña aldea cercana a Tangail, en Bangladesh. Nuestra anfitriona fue UBINIG, una organización no gubernamental (ONG) de base cuyo principal objetivo es promover "Nayakrishi Andolon", que literalmente significa "un nuevo movimiento agrícola". La agricultura de Nayakrishi evita el uso de insumos externos, utiliza una base de semillas locales enormemente diversa y, por encima de todo, considera que el cultivo de alimentos es una parte integral de su cultura, su independencia y la soberanía de las comunidades locales. Además, produce mayor cantidad de alimentos que cualquiera de los métodos agrícolas industriales que se están impulsando en el país.

Los anfitriones de nuestra reunión insistieron en mostrarnos su "Centro de Acopio de Semillas Comunitarias". El centro es admirable. Una cantidad increíble de cacharros de barro y botellas de vidrio contienen las semillas de cientos de variedades distintas de docenas de cultivos diferentes. Pero las mujeres a cargo del centro de semillas explicaron pacientemente que esto es tan solo la punta del iceberg de la red de semillas de la que forman parte. Cientos de comunidades de variadas y numerosas partes del país utilizan las semillas en cada estación, las mantienen seguras en sus granjas y una sofisticada red de intercambio y monitoreo entre los aldeanos asegura que en todo momento y en algún lugar se están cultivando y manteniendo vivas cientos de variedades diferentes de semillas. En determinado momento de la charla alguien preguntó qué entendían por soberanía alimentaria. Una de las mujeres señaló el centro de semillas detrás suyo, sonrió y dijo simplemente: "esto".

La autonomía local es un concepto central de la soberanía alimentaria. Las mujeres de UBINIG están convencidas de que la pérdida de semillas en los hogares significa también la pérdida de poder para la mujer. La dependencia del mercado externo para las semillas les quita trabajo, poder y las desplaza del control del corazón del sistema agrícola. Lo que afecta a la supervivencia de las mujeres como agricultoras afecta también a la supervivencia de la agricultura campesina en general. La agenda neoliberal impone una agricultura en la cual los miles de millones de campesinos actuales no tienen cabida, y en la cual las empresas transnacionales _con el apoyo activo de las elites gubernamentales del Norte y del Sur_ controlan la totalidad de la cadena alimenticia, desde los insumos agrícolas y la siembra de los cultivos hasta la distribución, el procesamiento y la venta de alimentos en todo el mundo. El concepto de soberanía alimentaria cuestiona esta visión de la agricultura.

"La Soberanía Alimentaria es el derecho de los pueblos, comunidades y países a definir sus propias políticas agrícolas, pastoriles, laborales, de pesca, alimentarias y agrarias que sean ecológica, social, económica y culturalmente apropiadas a sus circunstancias exclusivas. Esto incluye el derecho real a la alimentación y a la producción de alimentos, lo que significa que todos los pueblos tienen el derecho de tener alimentos y recursos para la producción de alimentos seguros, nutritivos y culturalmente apropiados, así como la capacidad de mantenerse a sí mismos y a sus sociedades".

De: "Soberanía alimentaria": un derecho para todos, Declaración política del Foro de ONG/OSC para la Soberanía Alimentaria. Roma, junio de 2002.

viernes, abril 21, 2006

Michael Pollan
Courtesy of Michael Pollan

Michael Pollan, best-selling author and Knight Professor of Science and Environmental Journalism at UC Berkeley

Michael Pollan: The Truthdig Interview

Blair Golson

It became obvious to journalist Michael Pollan in the summer of 2002 that America had a national eating disorder. That July, The New York Times Magazine published an article titled "What if It's All Been a Big Fat Lie?" which reported that a growing number of respected nutritional researchers were beginning to conclude that perhaps Dr. Robert Atkins had been right all along: Carbohydrates, not fats, were the cause of America's obesity problem.

Almost overnight, in Pollan's estimation, bakeries went out of business, dinner rolls in New York restaurants went the way of the pterodactyl, and pasta became regarded as a toxin.

"These foods were wonderful staples of human life for thousands of years," Pollan told Truthdig, "and suddenly we've decided that they're evil. Any culture that could change its diet on a dime like that is suffering from an eating disorder, as far as I can see."

Pollan was well placed to make such an observation. The previous year, he had published a critically acclaimed, best-selling book called The Botany of Desire, an examination of humans' relationships to plants, and how plants shape human societies as much as we shape them. His writings on the natural world and food stretch back to the late 1980s. Early in his career, he was an editor at Harper's magazine, and since 1995 he has been a contributing editor at The New York Times Magazine. Over the years he won a gaggle of writing awards and fellowships from environmental, food and journalistic organizations, in addition to publishing two other books, on gardening and architecture.

So when Atkins-mania achieved terminal velocity in the summer of 2002, Pollan started to wonder whether it wasn't time to ask some fundamental questions about a country so apparently susceptible to the whims of a fad diet. Pulling together the threads of stories he had written in the past decade on topics ranging from the ethics of vegetarianism to the dangers of over-reliance on corn, Pollan set off on a journey to answer a deceptively sophisticated question: "What should we have for dinner?"

The search for an answer found expression in Pollan's just-published book The Omnivore's Dilemma. The title refers to the quandary faced by animals like humans (and rats and cockroaches) that, in order to stay alive, must choose from the bewildering array of edible and non-edible substances. We can eat a lot, but what should we eat?

The subtitle of his book is "A Natural History of Four Meals," which is Pollan's way of describing his exploration of four types of food that eventually terminate in some kind of human meal: food that he himself grew and hunted; organic or "alternative" food (found at farmer's markets); industrial-organic foods (much of the stock at Whole Foods); and industrial, or processed, food (the snack or cereal aisles at Safeway). Through this series of "food detective stories," the author found things to cheer and things to fear about the ethical, biological and ecological ramifications of the American way of eating.

Truthdig managing editor Blair Golson recently spoke with Pollan from his home in Northern California, where he is the Knight Professor of Journalism at UC Berkeley's Graduate School of Journalism. He discussed how the omnivore's dilemma had returned in the unlikeliest of places; the truth about so-called "free range" chickens; and how in the world food manufacturers can get away with labels that read: "This product may contain one or more of the following…."

To: Hon. Senator Efrain Gonzalez, Chair of Puerto Rican/ Hispanic Task Force and Chair Emeritus of the National Hispanic Caucus of State Legislators
To: Hon. Assembly Member Peter Rivera, Chair of Puerto Rican/Hispanic Task Force
To: Hon. Co-Chair and Executive Board Members of Puerto Rican/Hispanic Task Forces
From: NY-SAGE (over 35,000 safe food advocates of statewide food coops)
Re: Support for labeling of genetically engineered seed (S6522,A8344)
Date: April 12, 2006

Dear Honorable Chair and Honorable Task Force Members:

We want to address issues involving biotech crops and food, especially with respect to Puerto Rico. First, some background facts about biotech, if needed, for your review.

Biotech (GM, GMO, GE, transgenic) crops have been prematurely marketed during the last ten years in that no health and safety testing has been required by the federal government, and in that almost no peer-reviewed independent or long term health testing has been done.
Biotechnology is imprecise in that genes are transferred across natural species barriers (creating combinations like a flounder gene in a tomato, a toxin-producing gene in corn, or a human saliva gene in rice), but scientists cannot guarantee stable expression of the gene in the new genetically engineered organism. Additionally, an antibiotic gene and a virus promoter gene are always added to each genetically engineered cell of any biotech crop.

Biotech crops are used mostly for animal feed, but biotech soy, corn, canola and cotton seed are also ubiquitous in most processed foods as sweetener, lecithin, starch and oils. And are probably ubiquitous in eggs and meats from animals fed biotech grains. There is also evidence, despite industry claims, that novel GE genes, or transgenes, and proteins transfer into human tissue.

No federal law exists to regulate biotech crops. The FDA has declared this food “substantially equivalent” and thereby safe, ignoring the warnings of its own scientists. Further, the FDA accepts voluntary-only testing by industry (though novel genes, including the antibiotic-resistant gene used as a marker, are permanently added to each cell, and these genes will propagate and mutate as all living things do.)

The USDA approves almost all field trials without requiring environmental impact assessments. This includes open field testing of biopharmaceutical crops, as rice with three human genes to produce a drug to treat diarrhea, and corn containing spermicide genes.

The EPA has licensed biotech corn as a pesticide. This corn contains in each cell a gene which produces Bt toxin that, although it targets the corn borer, could, according to preliminary studies, end up in human tissue.

Farmers are currently suing the USDA to withdraw its approval of biotech alfalfa (used as cow and horse feed in NYS) because it is a perennial crop and is open-pollinated by bees, which can travel for two miles. Cross-contamination, farmers claim, can soon end conventional and organic alfalfa production in this country.

The $1 billion Starlink corn recall of 2000 demonstrates the potential of crops to transfer their traits and contaminate by drift, by mistaken planting of a variety, by contamination through shared machinery, etc. Starlink corn was voluntarily marked as not for human consumption by its manufacturer, yet led to many people needing emergency care for extreme allergic reactions to tacos and corn chips. A non-profit organization, and not the FDA, tested supermarket corn and discovered the Starlink contamination. But Starlink corn, banned for human consumption, continued to contaminate corn exports to Japan four years later. And Starlink corn turned up in 80% of samples of food aid shipments to six Latin American and Caribbean countries five years later, in 2005.

Second, we would especially like to inform you of our concerns re the impact Puerto Rico faces from these novel food crops and biopharmaceutical crops.

Puerto Rican farmers use the 3-4 annual growing seasons to produce biotech soy and corn for commercial seed. However, labeling seed in NYS is unlikely to affect this commercial production and the biotech job market in PR. Seed labeling anywhere will only prevent organic and conventional farmers and gardeners from inadvertently planting a GE crop.

USDA documents show that, no state (with the exception of Hawaii) has as many outdoor experimental biotech crop test plots per square mile as does Puerto Rico. And the USDA approved over 47,000 field test sites through Dec 2004, rejecting only 3% of applications submitted.

USDA authorized field tests include experimental biotech foods (as avocado, banana, sorghum and sugar beets) as well as many biopharmaceutical crops, most of which will not become marketable but may remain in the ecosystem and even enter the food chain through cross-contamination.

Field tests are “outdoor, uncontrolled experiments….And experimental GE crops aren’t even subject to the cursory rubber-stamp ‘approval’ process that commercialized GE crops go through -so I think the high concentration of experimental GE crop trials in Puerto Rico is definitely cause for concern.” (Freese, Friends of the Earth)

The large scale of biotech commercial seed production in PR is a threat to biodiversity on this island because it is basically monoculture (corn and soy), because it is extensive in the use of agrochemicals, and because cross-contamination of natural crops is inevitable.
We fear that health and environmental problems associated with these crops will be disproportionately great for the population of Puerto Rico, including higher risks of allergy, antibiotic resistance, etc. (There has been documentation of Filipino farm workers sickened when harvesting biotech corn).

We also have grave concerns about the shipping of unlabeled biotech foods to the Caribbean, Central and South America and Africa, as both commerce and food aid. US biotech corn has already been found to have contaminated heirloom or ancient Mexican corn.

Many consumers and farmers assume incorrectly that there is substantive government oversight of biotech crops. Please offer NYS consumers and farmers the minimum protection of mandatory seed labeling.


Eduardo Gonzalez and Fabiola Simpson (Park Slope Coop, Brooklyn); A. Rodrigo (Honest Weight, Albany); Ana Ortega (High Falls Coop); Sam Koprak (Flatbush Coop, Brooklyn); E. Karabinakis (Green Star, Ithaca); B. Strother (Natural Foods, Cobleskill); E. Hartz, NYSAGE Buffalo; K. Marsiglio (Green Earth, Oneonta) et al.

Note: See for a collection of reports and articles from varied sources, as
“Prohibited Gene-Altered Corn Found in Latin American & Caribbean Food Aid Shipments”
“More on Banned GE Corn Contaminating Food Aid to Central America & Caribbean”
“Latin America: Transgenic Crops Make Their Mark”
“Puerto Rico: Biotechnology and the “Knowledge Economy”
And “Raising Risk: Field Testing of Genetically Engineered Crops in the US”. April 2005. US PIRG Education Fund
And “Report on the Puerto Rico Project on Biosafety”. www.genet-info/genet/2004/Jul/msg11183.html


miércoles, abril 19, 2006

The following is an excerpt from the book
Organic Inc.: Natural Foods and How They Grew
by Samuel Fromartz Published by Harcourt;
April 2006; $25.00US; ISBN 0-15-101130-3

Copyright © 2006 Samuel Fromartz

A Spring Mix: Growing Organic Salad

My definition of fresh is that the perfect little lettuces are carefully hand-picked from the hillside garden and served within a few hours. --Alice Waters, 1982

It would be hard to miss the corporate offices of Earthbound Farm, the largest organic produce company in the nation. The operation is just off Highway 101, a half-hour inland from the central coast of California and five minutes from San Juan Bautista -- a picturesque small town best known for the nineteenth-century Spanish mission tower James Stewart warily climbed in Alfred Hitchcock's Vertigo. Beside green fields that stretch for miles toward the Gabilan Mountains to the east sits a squat 205,000-square-foot processing plant -- the biggest of five the company has erected at a cost of more than $110 million. Out back, a row of refrigerated semitrailers lines up, waiting to pick up the twenty-two million servings of organic salad the company sells each week. In front, a huge refrigerated truck idles while a forklift unloads plastic bins of cut lettuce fresh from the fields. The bins whiz by me, headed for a submarine-sized vacuum cooling tube. Within twenty minutes the lettuce is chilled to thirty-six degrees, beginning a cold chain that will continue as the salad is washed and bagged and sent to supermarkets around the country, where it is sold within seventeen days.

I'd come to the plant to talk with Drew and Myra Goodman, a couple in their midforties who founded Earthbound on a two-and-a-half-acre garden plot two decades earlier. From these humble roots, they created a company with $360 million in sales, ranked fourth-largest in the $2.5 billion bagged-salad industry. With a 5 percent share of the packaged salad market, they have triple the market penetration of most organic foods. Earthbound bagged lettuce could now be found in three out of four supermarkets. The Goodmans grow produce on nearly twenty-six thousand acres, mostly in California and Arizona, but also in Mexico, Canada, Chile, and New Zealand (for Kiwis).

But for all their success, their company was controversial in organic circles. Myra, a svelt and casually fashionable woman with long dark hair and a New York accent, mentioned that Earthbound employees attending California's Ecological Farming Conference, the premier annual event, had covered up or removed their ID badges to avoid open hostility from other attendees. "They felt like Jews in Nazi Germany, like they shouldn't be there," Myra said. When she complained, the conference organizer pleaded with her to remain a top sponsor.

What irked the organic critics wasn't simply Earthbound's size -- clearly antithetical to the ideal of the small diversified farm -- but the way the Goodmans had achieved it. "They were aggressive and predatory," one farmer told me. The accepted story seemed to be that they had stolen the organic salad market from smaller farmers, overproducing and dropping the price until these competitors were driven out. If true, this version of Earthbound's corporate history could be read as a parable for the mainstreaming of organic food, altering the character, ideals, and practices of the founding generation. Would this move toward industrial-sized organic farming undermine the identity of organic food itself?

The Goodmans felt no need to apologize for their success or sidestep the criticism when I brought it up. Drew, a broad-shouldered man who was friendly, though less effusive than Myra, said he simply felt Earthbound was in a different market than small farms since its customers were Safeway and Wal-Mart, not white-tablecloth restaurants or farmers' markets. In these mass markets they had to compete on price with other mainstream players. Plus, the couple made clear, they had never really sought to become Big Organic. It just, well, happened. They had even thought about selling the business and returning to "a simpler life." Their PR pitch emphasizes these roots: Young couple just out of college starts out on a small organic farm in Carmel Valley, selling baby lettuce to chefs and at a farm stand; a light bulb goes off; they put the lettuce in ziplock bags and become the first to sell bagged spring mix to stores. It's a huge hit. Their company grows like crazy -- partnering with big farmers, winning supermarket-chain accounts -- until it becomes the number-one organic produce company (and third-largest organic food brand after Horizon Organic milk and Silk soy milk).

Behind their obvious marketing smarts, the Goodmans had entrepreneurial zeal, making the right moves to expand at the right time -- perhaps because they came into the organic world without a heavy ideological bias. The couple believed in the premise of organic agriculture but were not going to limit their horizons by remaining small, local, and tied to natural-food stores. They replaced the organic idealists' counterculture baggage with practicality, growth, and business. Jeff Larkey of Route 1 Farms, in nearby Santa Cruz, told me that in the 1980s, Drew would drive to his farm in an old Volvo station wagon to pick up lettuce. "You could even sense back then that they had this business mentality, you could kind of see it, so in a way it's not surprising what happened," he said. But if the Goodmans were different, they were not unique in the organic movement: Many of the founders pursued growth and the mainstreaming of organic food in order to have a larger impact on agriculture and on consumers. (This is, after all, how I slipped into the movement: through the attractive entry point of Whole Foods.)

But to make sense of how two college kids raised on the Upper East Side of Manhattan -- the son of an art dealer and the daughter of a jewelry manufacturer -- ended up with the biggest organic produce business in the nation, if not the world, it's necessary to leave them for the moment and take in the landscape. Because the issue of where they started, it turns out, was as crucial to their success as all that followed. Had they begun farming on the East Coast, they would probably still be selling at a roadside stand, or at a farmers' market, if they were still farming at all. But they hadn't begun on the East Coast. They had pursued a decidedly Californian model. This was only something I understood after visiting the Salinas Valley, the Salad Bowl of the World, where it all began.

Copyright © 2006 Samuel Fromartz

Author Samuel Fromartz is a business journalist who has written for Fortune, Business Week, and Inc. This is his first book. He lives in Washington, D.C.

For more information, please visit



Christopher D. Cook, April 15, 2006

When president bush suddenly embraced wood chips and biofuels on national television, renewable energy producers received a prime-time injection of hope. Ethanol backers forecast a boon for farmers and the environment. Yet serious questions remain about whether ethanol merely enables our addiction to an unsustainable auto-centered society --- unless it's part of a broader shift in consumption and production.

Equally critical is the matter of what a carbohydrate economy means for America's two million farmers (by no means a monolithic lot), and for the future of sustainable agriculture. Will biofuels benefit smaller growers, or just large-scale producers and agribusiness?

How will pressures for increased production and reduced energy prices effect farmers? Would small and mid-sized growers fare any better in the energy economy than they have in a rapidly consolidating food economy that has driven so many off the land and into poverty?

The stakes are significant: Protecting smaller-scale, diversified farms is intrinsic to ecological stewardship and rural economic health, sustainable farming advocates (and some biofuels proponents) argue. A major biofuels expansion could spur yet more large-scale industrial agriculture, which often relies heavily on petroleum-based fertilizers and pesticides and deploys fuel-guzzling farm machinery. Pressures for large-volume production and cheap energy might ultimately harm smaller farmers and the environment --- unless there are explicit policies to protect both.


lunes, abril 17, 2006

Las enseñanzas de Doña Celulosa. Los silencios del conflicto argentino-uruguayo

Por Víctor Ego Ducrot *

Pareciera que el presidente de Uruguay, Tabaré Vázquez, se desentendiese del futuro ambiental de su país y de la región, mientras que su homólogo y amigo argentino, Néstor Kirchner, fuese un cruzado en favor de la economía no contaminante. Pero Buenos Aires y Montevideo tienen más coincidencias que desacuerdos.

La paradoja como figura política. Respecto de las plantas pasteras sobre el río fronterizo, Buenos Aires y Montevideo tienen más coincidencias que desacuerdos.

En esta redacción nadie se volvió loco. Pareciera que el presidente de Uruguay, Tabaré Vázquez, se desentendiese del futuro ambiental de su país y de la región, mientras que su homólogo y amigo argentino, Néstor Kirchner, fuese un cruzado en favor de la economía no contaminante. Así de simple.

Sin embargo, todo eso es apariencia o, en el mejor de los casos, apenas el resultado de una mirada superficial sobre la crisis que ambos países vienen transitando hace meses, como consecuencia de la puesta en marcha, en Fray Bentos, Uruguay, y frente a la ciudad argentina de Gualeguaychú, de dos megaemprendimientos para la producción de pasta de celulosa.

Detrás de la mutuas acusaciones y de los amagues en torno a la utilización de tribunales internacionales, sean estos los de La Haya o los difusos que prevé el Mercado Común del Sur (MERCOSUR), los gobiernos de ambos países llegaron a esa situación porque ninguno de los dos se opone en serio al modelo de "desarrollo" económico que prevé el esquema neoliberal. O dicho de otro modo, porque ninguno de los dos está dispuesto a discutir, entre ellos y de cara a sus respectivas sociedades, un paradigma diferente para el futuro de la región.

Así las cosas, todo parece reducirse al simplismo enervante de los malos guiones televisivos de Sony TV. o de cualquiera de las productoras locales que controlan los espacios de entretenimiento barato en las programaciones que pululan por estos parajes: buenos contra malos, feos contra lindos.

Pero la vida real (y los guiones en serio) no son así. Por ejemplo, amparándose en la afirmación de que las pasteras que se proponen explotar las corporaciones Botnia (Finlandia) y ENCE (España) representan la inversión directa mas importante de la historia de Uruguay, el gobierno de ese país bate el parche de la supuesta supergeneración de empleos que provocarían esos proyectos. Sin embargo, tanto las documentaciones específicas de Botnia y ENCE como la experiencia internacional del sector demuestran que esos puestos de trabajó serán muchos menos de lo que se dice, y además provisorios.

De lado argentino pareciera que estuviesen dispuestos a jugarse el todo por el todo para proteger la salud ambiental de área pero nada se dice de los efectos contaminantes de la red de pasteras que actúan en este país, y menos que una de las más importantes tiene una amplia participación de capitales uruguayos.

Por supuesto que tampoco nade se dice en contra, sino que por el contrario se fomenta como causa nacional, respecto del monocultivo de soja (y de bosques implantados para la producción de pasta de celulosa) que se ha impuesto en Argentina (y en la región), pese a las nefastas consecuencias ambientales y económicas sobre las que alertan ambientalistas e integrantes de la comunidad científica.

Pero atención que sobre escenario Argentina y Uruguay están muy bien acompañados. Los otros dos socios del MERCOSUR también tienen lo suyo. El gigante llamado Brasil acaba de cederle el paso legal a un inminente proceso de privatización del Amazonas -objetivo codiciado por las corporaciones de Estados Unidos y del resto de los países centrales-, con lo cual se prevé el desmonte de enormes superficies de bosques nativos ricos en biodiversidad y culturas originarias, con la declarada intención de expandir las fronteras productivas de la soja y de los arboles que se convertirán en papel. Paraguay nada dice al respecto porque también pertenece a la llamada "República de la Soja", pese a la sacrificada lucha de sus campesinos más pobres.

Desde hace varias semanas, los argentinos -y seguramente el mundo todo, gracias a la "magia" de las cadenas globales de televisión- pueden ver como pueblos enteros de Tartagal, en Salta, provincia norteña de este país, sus habitantes y economía están sucumbiendo ante el lodo que deja el paso desbordado de los ríos, sin que ninguna de las medidas tomadas hasta ahora hayan podido impedir o subsanar la catástrofe.

El diario argentino La Nación -desde su páginas especializadas, empedernido portavoz y promotor de la "República de la Soja"- debió admitir esta semana que el desastre de Tartagal obedece en forma especial a los desequilibrios ambientales que provoca el desmonte sistemático de la región, necesario para disponer de tierras nuevas ligadas a la producción sojera.

Para abundar sobre el tema recomendamos la lectura de los artículos que APM viene elaborando; los mismos pueden encontrarse en la sección Soberanía Alimentaria de esta misma página electrónica. Asimismo, sugerimos consultar la producción especializada de la Cátedra Libre Soberanía Alimentaria de la Universidad Nacional de la Plata (UNLP), parte de la cual está a disposición de los lectores en el mismo sitio.

También llama la atención que las corrientes académicas, ambientalistas y sociales en general que en Uruguay se oponen a la instalación de las pasteras en Fray Bentos tengan tan poca presencia en el debate y en los medios periodísticos, salvo casos de honrosa excepción, como lo es el de la revista Brecha, de Montevideo.

Por el otro lado, resulta al menos curioso que las combativas Asambleas ciudadanas de Gualeguaychú y Colón, en Argentina, focalicen sus legítimas y justificadas protestas con cortes de carreteras internacionales casi exclusivamente sobre las pasteras de Fray Bentos, llegando en algunos casos a proponer que se construyan y funcionen en otro lugar, alejado de sus ciudades.

En principio es comprensible que, como toda movilización popular, ésta se centré en demandas específicas, para fortalecer así el movimiento y evitar dispersiones. Sin embargo, sería saludable incorporar el principio de que la contaminación ambiental no es sólo un problema local, sino que es justamente global y paradigmático, consecuencia inmediata del modelo de "desarrollo" ecocida que los países centrales pretenden imponerle a América Latina y al mundo en desarrollo en general.

De esto sabe mucho el pueblo mapuche, que en Chile encabeza la lucha contra las huestes de Doña Celulosa. Esta está arrasando con los bosques de la región Andina Pacífico Sur, a partir de lo cual ese país se ha transformado en el principal proveedor de la industria papelera japonesa.

Como consecuencia de esa realidad,el pueblo mapuche está siendo privado de sus tierras y de sus cauces de agua, de su agricultura y de su modo de vida. En tanto, el Estado chileno responde con represión, pues decenas de dirigentes indígenas se encuentran prófugos, otros habitan en las cárceles de la "democracia vigilada y concertada que la dictadura de Augusto Pinochet nos legó". Otros, por último, debieron abandonar su país en calidad de refugiados.

Las ultimas noticias relevantes sobre la crisis argentino-uruguaya informan que el Banco Mundial (BM) suspendió la ejecución de los créditos con que cuentan Botnia y ENCE para la instalación y puesta en marcha de su plantas sobre el río Uruguay, mientras no se hagan los ajustes sobre previsiones ambientales recomendados por una comisión de expertos contratados por el propio BM. Está previsto que representantes de las empresas se reúnan el próximo 21 de abril con técnicos de Corporación Financiera Internacional (IFC), perteneciente al BM.

Botnia y ENCE cuentan con financiamiento privado y del IFC, pero para que el mismo se ponga en marcha, el proyecto debe contar con los avales del BM. Además, y como explicó este jueves la corresponsalía en Montevideo del diario argentino La Nación, "el apoyo es considerado fundamental (por la empresas) para despejar complicaciones político-sociales, como también para acceder a un seguro de otra unidad de ese organismo internacional, la Agencia de Garantía de Inversión Multilateral (MIGA). En este caso se trata de un seguro de riesgo político por 300 millones de dólares para la planta Orión (de Botnia)".

Para que este entramado funcione, Uruguay debió firmar Tratados de Protección de Inversiones con los países a los que pertenecen las empresas (lo hizo el gobierno anterior con la oposición del entonces opositor Frente Amplio, ahora en el gobierno). Según esos compromisos, Montevideo renuncia a su jurisdicción legal, que queda en manos de la decisión empresaria y de BM, hasta el punto de hacerse responsable de los "daños" que sufriesen los inversionistas extranjeros por eventuales protestas sociales y políticas.

A fines del año pasado, Uruguay firmó un tratado similar con Estados Unidos, de la misma forma que lo habían hecho en diversas oportunidades casi todos los países de la región, entre ellos Argentina, pues se trata de lo que podríamos llamar el "capítulo financiero bilateral" que surge del programa marco de los TLC (Tratados de Libre Comercio), considerados estratégicos por Washington. Dentro de es esquema es donde juega un rol determinante la estructura del BM.

Respecto de otro escenario, México, pero siempre dentro del mismo esquema estratégico, los académico John Saxe-Fernández y Gian Carlo Delgado describen en detalle el funcionamiento del Banco Mundial, como pieza clave del sistema hegemónico.

En el libro "Imperialismo Económico en México: las operaciones del Banco Mundial en nuestro país" (Debate, México, 2005), ambos especialistas revisan la trayectoria histórica de ese organismo multilateral, controlado por Estados Unidos, y, en el capítulo "Los programas verdes del Grupo del BM y otros", sostienen que "para inducir la privatización de los activos estratégicos, en particular el de la biodiversidad y el agua (los programas del BM y del Fondo Monetario Internacional -FMI-), propician su saqueo con el acceso, administración y conservación permitido a Organizaciones No Gubernamentales (ONG) relacionadas con éstos (...). Se penetra la esfera de toma de decisiones, incidiendo en la correlación de fuerzas dentro y fuera del gobierno. En México dicha injerencia se materializa gracias al crónico endeudamiento del país y por medio de la manipulación de las legislaciones nacionales referentes a los recursos naturales, y a través de proyectos de conservación funcionales (que benefician a las corporaciones de Estados Unidos y de la Unión Europea -UE-)".

En sus conclusiones, Saxe-Fernández y Delgado afirman que la presencia del BM, "que se deriva de la condicionalidad y sinergía de sus préstamos, fue determinante en la privatización de los ferrocarriles y en los esquemas de privatización de facto del sector petrolero (...). Se observa en el manejo y usufructo de los espacios geográficos y territoriales (...), pero también de la explotación del conocimiento y fuerza de trabajo de la población que ahí habita; todo a favor de las corporaciones multinacionales y de las economías capitalistas centrales, cuyos intereses el BM promueve y subvenciona, al funcionar como instrumento de proyección de poder de Estados Unidos y sus aliados europeos".

Cualquier coincidencia con los que sucede en el escenario del la cuenca del Río de la Plata NO es mera coincidencia. Todo ello abona la convicción de que, en realidad, entre los actuales gobiernos de Argentina y Uruguay hay más coincidencias de las que parece, sobre todo una: no estar dispuestos a revisar el modelo dependiente, insustentable y ecocida que propone el esquema de poder del sistema capitalista-iperialista en su etapa actual, llamada globalización.

Por eso es que, de alguna manera, ambas partes se escudan en los informes del BM, tratando de obtener ventaja sobre tal o cual párrafo, a favor de una o en contra de la otra, cuando en realidad podrían sentarse a conversar sobre como salir juntos de tamaña trampa histórica.

De proceder así, estarían colaborando, además, con una reformulación del proceso de integración regional en danza, puesto que éste -llámese MERCOSUR o como se llame-, si continúa marchando por los carriles impuestos por el bloque de poder, terminará muerto de toda muerte. Sobre sus cenizas se impondrá el Acuerdo de Libre Comercio para la Américas (ALCA) -en cualquiera de sus variantes- y Sudamérica habrá perdido otra oportunidad. Vázquez y Kirchner deberían hacer oídos sordos a las enseñanza de Doña Celulosa.

* Víctor Ego Ducrot
Desde la Redacción de APM -