Plans for Genetically Modified Seeds Spur Protest
Speakers argued that the cultivation of corn is indigenous to Costa Rica and Central America. It is based on open pollination of native plants and small family farmers are determined to rescue “criollo” or native corn seeds from pollution by GM crops. Such transgenicos, or GM seeds, can be broadcast through the air to contaminate adjacent land and can have a negative impact on organic cultivation. According to Roca Verde, GM crops are bad for the environment, harmful to the health of the people and detrimental to the Tico economy. Leaders of the group led the protestors in chants of “Fuera Monsanto de Costa Rica” and “No maiz transgenico.”
According to Ignacio Arroyo, one of the group’s unofficial leaders, they had collected close to 5000 signatures in only three days and although the turnout was modest, he was pleased with the enthusiasm of the crowd and of the audience passing by.
“Today is only a short step in a much bigger global effort,” Arroyo said. “We understand the role Costa Rica plays in the global economy of corn and we know what steps other countries such as Brazil, Mexico, Argentina and Paraguay are taking as part of this movement. We know we are not alone.”
Arroyo said that the group plans to continue their campaign using the power of social media and networks and they hope to have a much larger demonstration in coming weeks. Interested persons can follow their activities on their blog, http://www.bloqueverde.blogspot.com and connect with them on their new Facebook page, http://www.facebook.com/bloqueverdecr.verde.
Report by Kat Sunlove
The Costa Rica News (TCRN)
San Jose Costa Rica