Cuba creates pro-GMO media campaign
July 19, 2016
Isbel Diaz Torres
HAVANA TIMES — With help from the government website Cubadebate, the
Castro administration has created a media campaign which supports GM
foods almost in silence, which is very in line with the imminent arrival
of US producers of GM crops.
In this month of July alone, Cubadebate has published two articles
(which both essentially say the same thing), which rally against
critical environmentalists who speak out against the use of Genetically
Modified Organisms (GMO) in farming, and who promote food sovereignty.
"Over a hundred Nobel Peace prize winners have accused Greenpeace for
acting against GM crops" (1) was one of the articles published on
Cubadebate on July 1st.
Without presenting any other details and ignoring the few debates that
have been developed in Cuba about the issue, they promote lies like GMOs
"help global biodiversity", "don't harm the environment", don't affect
human beings or animals and are "safe."
Of course, they focus especially on Greenpeace, ignoring the fact that
the majority of Latin American environmental, rural and indigenous
social movements have also opposed this imperialist common practice
On July 10th, Doctor Luis A. Montero Cabrera dealt with the subject of
"GMOs and Nobel Prizes" (2), and without giving any scientific or
philosophical argument to back himself up, he joined those who, sitting
on the global pedestal, try to criminalize environmental struggles,
driven by clear economic interests.
Of course, this isn't what the Doctor tells us; in fact he apologizes to
"life" and "diversity", adopting a viewpoint riddled with positivism,
while trying to confuse the line between mushrooming "artificial
selection" which us humans carry out, with what's known as "natural
selection" by evolutionists. Mainly because transgenesis isn't only
about simple selection, but about intervening in and manipulating the
natural process of reproduction itself.
In his series of outrageous points, the Doctor even goes so far to say
that "The revolution of GM crops has been just as important to the
well-being of humanity as artificial fertilizers were at the beginning
of the 20th century."
And just like that, years and years of Cuban bio-agriculture research
has been put down the drain. Now we're beginning to see the consequences
of never having elaborated a strong critique on the so-called "Green
Revolution" here in Cuba, which gave us the wonderful gift of "blasts"
(this is what Cuban specialists call the high dosis application of toxic
chemicals on crops).
Of course, it's always a good idea to fall back on Nobel prize winners
if you want to legitimize something (or the opposite). In this case,
exactly 25 physicians, 34 chemists, 41 doctors, 8 economists, one Nobel
Prize in Literature winner and one Nobel Peace Prize winner.
The last is no other than Jose Ramos-Horta, the former president of
Timor-Leste, who is famous for having supported the invasion of Iraq by
US troops in 2003. His Nobel Prize reminded me a little of the one given
to Obama: rather than acknowledging his merits, it was a request to
uphold world peace.
Richard Roberts and Phillip A. Sharp, also witnesses on the show, are
both businessmen in the biotech sector, so I don't think they're driven
by altruism either.
The truth of the matter is that, as much as our government wants to try
and sell us the idea that technology is "apolitical", GM seed patents
remain in the hands of multinational corporations Monsanto, BASF,
DuPont, Syngenta (which is already in Cuba), amongst others, which quite
frankly don't give a damn about our food security.
It's already been well established in this debate (even though pro-GM
opposing parties don't want to admit it) that this isn't only a question
about productivity or technology, but about bioethics.
The extensive single-crop farming technique based on agrochemicals,
which these Nobel Prize winners defend, wipes out culinary and
traditional farming techniques, forces entire families out of their
homes and creates mega-plantations which take over hectares and hectares
of land. In fact, 75% of farming land is used to produce fodder for
animals in the livestock industry and for the agrofuel industry, not for
According to the FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization), between 33%
and 40% of the food the global food industry produces is wasted; and
that would be enough to feed all of the world's poor which these
physicians and chemists supposedly defend (while giving way to the
system that creates this poverty).
Meanwhile, responding to the European Network of Scientists for Social
and Environmental Responsibility's call to action, over 300 scientists
have rejected the idea that GMOs are safe for agroecosystems and human
And who does the Cuban government choose to believe? Well, allies of the
global power, in line with the country's current process of catching up
to speed with the rest of the world, with the juicy promise that US
farmers will export their products to Cuba and invest in our
agriculture; now that the Europeans don't want to buy their GM seeds.
Therefore, the Cuban government is secretly creating a media campaign
among ill-informed Cuban readers.
By the way, Dr Luis A. Montero Cabrera forgot to mention the fact that
the letter from the Nobel Prize winners concerned about the hungry
South, was presented way up north, in Washington, as Congress was about
to vote on a law about labeling GM foods which would prevent States from
making their own decisions on the matter, leaving it completely up to
companies to decide.
Montero prefers to ignore all of the above and concludes his argument
"Some of the reasons that have been used against GMOs have been
political in nature. Certain multinational corportations are important
developers of these crops because of their commercial benefits. This may
be why it receives negative press from some institutions. However,
scientific truth can be used by a monopolist and exclusive organization
just as much as it can be used by a revolutionary biopharmaceutical
laboratory, which belongs to the people. The harmlessness and
humanitarian benefits of biotechnologies' products which have been
correctly and scientifically proven don't depend on their owners."
First of all: State-owned laboratories don't belong to the people, but
to the State. Secondly, if biotechnology results don't depend on their
owners, can we then assume that the results from one owner or another
will be the same? Yes, as an anarchist, I agree with this, but… do you?
Source: Cuba creates pro-GMO media campaign - Havana Times.org -