Campaign Against GMO’s Continues with Multi-Day Walk

In an ongoing effort to prevent the introduction of genetically modified corn seeds (GMO) into Costa Rica, a nine-day “Walk to Defend Our Corn” will begin in Guanacaste on Saturday, November 24th, and will proceed across the country to San Jose, finishing in La Sabana Park on Sunday, December 2nd. Donations of food and money are still needed and additional volunteers to walk are welcome.

As previously reported in The Costa Rica News, a loose confederation of environmental groups and individuals known as Bloque Verde held a demonstration on November 6 to put pressure on the Ministerio de Agricultura y Ganaderia (MAG) as they consider an application to use GMO corn seeds produced by Monsanto. On the same day the Biodiversity Commission, which will ultimately decide the issue, voted to delay any decision until early December. The multi-day Walk to Defend Our Corn is the next action the group is taking to further their cause. They also are circulating a petition online and in person to present to MAG as evidence of public opposition to GMO seeds in Costa Rica.

Protesters gather in front of MAG

On the final day of the walk, volunteers and supporters will meet in La Sabana Park, diagonal to Channel 7, to participate in art workshops to make signs, paint masks and create other visual paraphernalia with which to educate the public and to express their objections to GMO products. On Monday, December 3rd, the group will proceed at 8 a.m. to MAG where they will protest in front of the authorities.

At press time almost two dozen individuals had agreed to make the complete walk, with a number of additional persons joining in for different segments along the way. Walkers will be provided with lodging at each stop by host families that support their efforts. Organizers say the technique of a multi-day hike is one that was used successfully against the gold mine in Crucitas a few years ago and they hope for a similar achievement in encouraging the public to fight against the introduction of GMO seeds.

Tico farmers join protest

According to a report last year in Huffington Post, scientific studies have linked Monsanto’s GMO corn seeds to serious health issues in mammals. The study, which was published by the International Journal of Biological Sciences, showed negative effects on the liver and kidneys, two major detoxification organs in the body. In addition, “statistically significant disturbances” were found in heart, adrenal, spleen and blood cells of the test animals.

The Walk to Defend Our Corn organizers note that corn is an ancestral product in Costa Rica, the basis of Central American food supplies, and is based on open pollination of native plants. It is possible that such “transgenicos,” or GMO seeds, can contaminate ancestral plants and could thus damage indigenous agriculture and wreak havoc on family farms and organic farming.

The Walk will take the following route:

*Saturday November 24th, beginning by car from Feria Aranjuez to Fedeagua en Nicoya, Guanacaste

*Sunday 25: From Matambú-Nicoya to Las Juntas de Abangares, passing through the La Amistad Bridge.

*Monday 26: Walk from Las Juntas to Esparza.

*Tuesday 27: Walk from Esparza to San Ramón.

*Wednesday 28: Walk from San Ramón to Naranjo.

*Thursday 29: From Naranjo to Grecia.

*Friday 30: Walk from Grecia to Alajuela.

*Saturday December 1st: Walk from Alajuela to Heredia. Here there will be a big welcome at the National University (UNA) with concerts, activities, etc.

*Sunday 2: Walk from Heredia to La Sabana. Creative Workshop at the park to paint, create, make signs, etc. for the manifest on Monday, December 3rd, at 8:00 a.m.

*Monday 3: The BioCommission meets and votes on allowing the entry or not of transgenic seeds into Costa Rica.

Report by Kat Sunlove, M.A.
Kat Sunlove blogs about her life as an expat in Costa Rica at http://FabulistadeCR.blogspot.com

The Costa Rica News (TCRN)
San Jose Costa Rica

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