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Zapatista Red Alert

DeanO | 23.06.2005 13:51 | Zapatista

Since Sunday 19 the Zapatista National Liberation Army (EZLN) has been on general red alert with EZLN troops called into the mountains of Chiapas, and Zapatista communities advised to flee by their Juntas de Buen Gobierno (Governing Councils), amid fears that war in Chiapas is likely to resume. The Zapatista "Caracoles" or "centers of zapatista autonomy" have also been closed [Pics of the Caracoles La Garrucha and Morelia]

A communique from the Clandestine Revolutionary Indigenous Committee General Command (CCRI-CG) of the EZLN declared a general red alert throughout all Zapatista territory. Members of the autonomous administrative bodies are being evacuated from the various autonomous municipalities and internationals are being urged to leave.

On Monday 20 another communique explained the red alert as a precautionary defensive measure in response to the Mexican governments continued attacks and betrayal, stating that the EZLN is 'returning the word it gave on the first of January of 1994'.

On Tuesday 21 the next communique reassured that the Zapatistas have re-organised so as to survive an attack on their clandestine leadership by government forces or paramilitaries: 'the CCRI-CG of the EZLN is letting it be known that conditions are in place to continue leading the Zapatista struggle even if it were to lose, be it through jail, through death or through forced disappearance'. On the same day, Subcomandante Insurgente Marcos addressed the national and international civil society with another "letter of explanation and/or, perhaps, farewell" that, amongst other things, states that the Zapatistas are not preparing a military ofensive. It starts with: 'This is not a letter of farewell. At times it is going to seem as if it is, that it is a farewell, but it is not. It is a letter of explanation. Well, that is what we shall attempt. This was originally going to go out as a communique, but we have chosen this form because, for good or for bad, when we have spoken with you we have almost always done so in this most personal tone.'

On Sunday 26 another communique is published by the EZLN which states that "The CCRI-CG of the EZLN is informing you that it has finished consulting with tens of thousands of support bases." and that "The results were that more than 98% approved the new step, and less than 2% decided not to support the EZLN's proposal."

On Wdnesday 26 the Six Declaration of the Selva Lacandona is published by the Clandestine Revolutionary Indigenous Committee – General Command of the Zapatista Army of National Liberation. The text does a balance of the last 12 years of Zapatista struggle for autonomy and indigenous rights, and points to the fact that "we have reached a point where we cannot go any further, and, in addition, it is possible that we could lose everything we have if we remain as we are and do nothing more in order to move forward", and that "the hour has come to take a risk once again and to take a step which is dangerous but which is worthwhile".

[Indymedia Chiapas | Radio Insurgente | FZLN (Zapatista National Liberation Front) | IMC UK Zapatista section | IMC-UK coverage of Zapatista Caravan to Mexico City]

UK solidarity groups:

Edinburgh Chiapas Solidarity Group

W.O.M.B.L.E.S' Cafe Rebelde Zapatista

Glasgow Zapatista Solidarity Group


Links in Spanish:

La Jornada. Zapatista coverage from the Mexican independent newspaper.

Falta lo que falta. An article by Luis Hernández Navarro that contextualises the current situation in Chiapas.

Viviendo la alerta roja desde San Cristóbal. Living the red alert in San Cristobal.

Zapatista Revolution calls!. An article in IMC-UK about a recent call for international solidarity by the Zapatistas.



Last Letter Marcos

24.06.2005 10:02

EZLN: A letter of explanation...or, perhaps, farewell

Originally published in Spanish by the EZLN
Translated by irlandesa

Zapatista Army of National Liberation


June 21, 2005.

To National and International Civil Society:

Señora, señorita, señor, young person, boy, girl:

This is not a letter of farewell. At times it is going to seem as if it is, that it is a farewell, but it is not. It is a letter of explanation. Well, that is what we shall attempt. This was originally going to go out as a communiqué, but we have chosen this form because, for good or for bad, when we have spoken with you we have almost always done so in this most personal tone.

We are the men, women, children and old ones of the Zapatista Army of National Liberation. Perhaps you remember us - we rose up in arms on January 1, 1994, and ever since then we have kept up our war against the forgetting, and we have resisted the war of extermination which the different governments have waged, unsuccessfully, against us. We live in the furthest corner of this country which is called Mexico. In that corner which is called "Indian Peoples." Yes, like that, plural. Because, for reasons we shall not give here, the plural is used in this corner for everything: we suffer, we die, we fight, we resist.

Now, as you know quite well, it so happens that, ever since that dawn of the beginning of '94, we have dedicated our struggle - first with fire and then with the word - our efforts, our life and our death, exclusively to the Indian peoples of Mexico for the recognition of their rights and their culture. It was natural - we zapatistas are overwhelmingly indigenous. Mayan indigenous, to be more precise. But, in addition, the indigenous in this country - despite having been the foundation of this Nation's great transformations - are still the social group which has been the most attacked and the most exploited. If they have shown no mercy against anyone with their military wars and the wars disguised as "political", the wars of usurpation, of conquest, of annihilation, of marginalization, of ignorance - it has been against the indigenous. The war against us has been so intense and brutal that it has become routine to think that the indigenous will only be able to escape from their conditions of marginalization and poverty if they stop being indigenous...or if they are dead. We have been fighting to not die and to not cease being indigenous. We have fought to be - alive and indigenous - part of this nation which has been lifted up over our backs. The Nation for whom we have been the feet (almost always unshod) with which it has walked in its decisive moments. The Nation for whom we have been the arms and hands which have made the earth bear fruit and which have erected the large buildings, edifices, churches and palaces that those who have everything take such pride in. The Nation of which - through word, look and manner, that is, through culture - we are the root.

Are we raining insult upon injury? Perhaps it's because we are in June, the sixth month of the year. Well, we just wanted to point out that the beginning of our uprising was not just a "Here we are", shouted to a Nation that was deaf and dumb because of the authoritarianism above. It was also a "This is what we are and shall continue to be...but now with dignity, with democracy, with justice, with liberty." You know this quite well, because, among other things, you have been accompanying us since then.

Unfortunately, after more than 7 years committed to that path, in April of 2001, politicians from all the parties (primarily the PRI, PAN and PRD) and the self-styled "three branches of the Union" (the presidency, the congress and the courts) formed an alliance in order to deny the Indian peoples of Mexico the constitutional recognition of their rights and culture. And they did so without caring about the great national and international movement which had arisen and joined together for that purpose. The great majority, including the media, were in agreement that that debt should be settled. But the politicians don't care about anything that doesn't get them money, and they rejected the same proposal that they had approved years before when the San Andrés Accords were signed and the Cocopa drafted a proposal for constitutional reform. They did so because they thought that, after a little time had passed, everyone would forget. And perhaps many people forgot, but we did not. We have memory, and it was they: the PRI, the PAN, the PRD, the President of the Republic, the deputies and senators and the justices of the Supreme Court of the Nation. Yes, the Indian peoples continue today in the underbelly of this Nation, and they continue to suffer the same racism they have for 500 years. It doesn't matter what they are saying now, when they are preparing for the elections (in other words, to secure positions that will make them profits): they are not going to do anything for the good of the majority, nor are they going to listen to anything that isn't money.

If we zapatistas pride ourselves on anything it's honoring the word, the honest and principled word. All this time we have been telling you that we will try the path of dialogue and negotiation in order to achieve our demands. We told you that we would make great efforts in the peaceful struggle. We told you that we would focus on the indigenous struggle. And so it has been. We have not deceived you.

All the help which you have so generously contributed to this noble cause and through those means has been for that and for nothing else. We have used nothing for anything else. All the humanitarian help and aid which we have received from Mexico and from throughout the world has been used only for improving the living conditions of the zapatista indigenous communities and in peaceful initiatives for the recognition of indigenous rights and culture. Nothing of what was received has been used for the acquisition of arms or for any war preparations. Not only because we haven't needed it (the EZLN has maintained its military capacity intact since 1994), but above all because it wouldn't have been honest to tell you that your help was for one thing and to use it for another. Not one centavo of the help received for peace with justice and dignity has been used for war. We have not needed help for making war. For peace, yes.

We have, of course, used our word to refer to (and in some cases to express our solidarity with) other struggles in Mexico and the world, but just that far. And many times, knowing that we could do more, we had to contain ourselves, because our efforts - as we had told you - were exclusively by and for the indigenous.

It has not been easy. Do you remember the March of the1,111? The Consulta of 5000 in 1999? The March of the Color of the Earth in 2001? Well, imagine then what we felt when we saw and heard the injustices and the hatred directed against campesinos, workers, students, teachers, working persons, homosexuals and lesbians, young people, women, old ones, children. Imagine what our heart felt.

We were touched by a pain, a fury, an indignation which we already knew because it has been, and is, ours. But now we were touched by it in the other. And we heard the "we" which inspires us wanting to become larger, to make itself more collective, more national. But no, we had said just the indigenous, and we had to honor that. I believe it's because of our way - in other words, that we would prefer to die before we would betray our word.

Now we are consulting with our heart in order to see if we are going to say and do something else. If the majority says yes, then we are going to do everything possible to honor it. Everything, even dying if it's necessary. We do not want to appear dramatic. We are only saying it in order to make it clear how far we are willing to go.. In other words, not "until they give us a position, an amount of money, a promise, a candidacy."

Perhaps some may remember how, six months ago, we started with the "what is missing is missing." Then fine, as is obvious, the hour has arrived to decide whether we are going to proceed to find what is missing. Not to find, to build. Yes, to build "something else."

In some of the communiqués of the past few days, we let you know that we have entered into an internal consulta. We shall soon have the results, and we will inform you of them. Meanwhile then, we are taking the opportunity to write you. We have always spoken to you with sincerity, and also to those who are our heart and guardian, our Votan Zapata, the zapatista communities, our collective command.

It will be a difficult and hard decision, just as our life and our struggle have been. For four years we have been preparing the conditions in order to present our peoples with doors and windows so that, when the moment comes, everyone had all the ingredients in place for choosing which window to peer through and which door to open. And that is our way. In other words, the EZLN leadership does not lead, rather it seeks paths, steps, company, direction, pace, destination. Several. And then they present the peoples with those paths, and they analyze with them what would happen if we follow one or the other course. Because, depending on the path we travel, there are things which will be good and things which will be bad. And then they - the zapatista communities - speak their thoughts and decide, after discussing and by majority, where we are all going. And then they give the order, and then the EZLN leadership has to organize the work or prepare what is needed to walk that path. Of course the EZLN leadership doesn't just look at what happens only to them, but they have to be bound to the peoples and to touch their hearts and to make themselves, as they say, the same thing. Then it becomes all our gazes, all our ear, all our thoughts, all our heart. But what if, for whatever reason, the leadership does not look, or hear, or think, or feel like all of us. Or some parts aren't seen or something else isn't heard or other thoughts aren't thought or felt. Well, then, that is why everyone is consulted. That is why everyone is asked. That is why agreement is taken among everyone. If the majority says no, then the leadership has to seek another way, and to present another way to the peoples in order to propose until we collectively reach a decision. In other words, the people govern.

Now the collective which we are will make a decision. They are weighing the pros and cons. They are carefully making the calculations, what is lost and what is gained. And, seeing that there is not a little to be lost, it will be decided whether it is worth it.

Perhaps, in some people's scales, there will be much weight given to what we have achieved. Perhaps, in other people's scales, there will be more weight given to the indignation and shame caused by seeing our earth and skies destroyed by the stupid avarice of Power. In any event, we cannot remain passive, just contemplating, as a gang of ruffians strips our Patria of everything that gives it and everyone existence: dignity.

Ah, well, many turns now. We are writing you for what may be the last time in order to give you back your promised word of support. It is not little that we have achieved in the indigenous struggle, and that has been - as we have told you in public and in private - because of your help. We believe you can be proud, without any shame, of all the good that we zapatistas, along with you, have built up to this point. And know that it has been an honor, undeserved in any light, that people like you have walked at our side.

Now we shall decide whether we are going to do something else, and we will make the results public at the proper time. We are now making clear - in order to end the speculations - that this "other thing" does not entail any offensive military action on our part. We are not, on our part, planning nor discussing reinitiating offensive military combat. Ever since February-March of 1994 our entire military presence has been, and is, defensive. The government should say whether, on its part, there are any offensive war preparations, whether by the federal forces or by their paramilitaries. And the PRI and the PRD should say if they are planning any attack against us with the paramilitaries they are supporting in Chiapas.

If it is the decision of the zapatista majority, those who have helped us up to now in the exclusively indigenous struggle can, without any shame or regret, distance themselves from the "other thing" to which Comandante Tacho referred in the San Cristóbal de Las Casas plaza in January of 2003, two and a half years ago. In addition, there is a communiqué which establishes, from here out, that release and which can be presented in a job application, curriculum vitae, coffee klatch, editorial office, roundtable, grandstand, forum, stage, book jacket, footnote, colloquium, candidacy, book of regrets or newspaper column and which, in addition, has the advantage of being able to be exhibited as defense evidence in any court (don't laugh, there's a precedent: in 1994, some indigenous detained by the bad government - and who weren't zapatistas - were released by a judge, validating a letter from the CCRI-CG in which it released those persons from what the EZLN had done. In other words, as the lawyers say, "there is legal precedent").

But those who find in their heart an echo, even if it is small, of our new word and who feel themselves called by the path, step, pace, company and destination which we have chosen, may perhaps decide to renew their help (or to participate directly)...knowing that it will be "another thing". Like that, without tricks, without deceit, without hypocrisy, without lies.

We thank the women. All the girls, teenagers, young women, señoritas, señoras and old ones (and those who were changing from one to the other of those calendars throughout these 12 years) who helped us, who accompanied us and who, not a few times, made our pain and our steps their own. To all of them, Mexicans and from other countries, who helped us and who walked with us. In everything we did you were the huge majority. Perhaps because we share along with you, although each in their own way and place, discrimination, contempt...and death.

We thank the national indigenous movement, which did not sell itself for government posts, for travel allowances, for the flattery that the powerful classify as "fit for indigenous and animals." The one which listened to our word and gave us theirs. The one which opened its heart, its home, to us. The one which resisted and resists with dignity, raising very high the color we are of the earth.

We thank the young men and women of Mexico and of the world. Those who were boys, girls or teenagers that '94 and who nobly grew up without holding back their eyes or their ears. Those who reached youth or, despite the pages torn from the calendar, remained there, extending the hand of their rebellion to our dark hand. Those who chose to come and share days, weeks, months, years, our dignified poverty, our struggle, our hope and our foolish endeavor.

We thank the homosexuals, lesbians, transsexuals, transgender persons and "everyone in their own way." Those who shared with us their struggle for respect for difference, knowing that it is not a defect to be hidden. Those who demonstrated that courage has nothing to do with testosterone and who, time and again, gave us some of the most beautiful lessons of dignity and nobility we have received.

We thank the intellectuals, artists and scientists, from Mexico and the world, who helped us in the struggle for the indigenous. Few movements or organizations can pride themselves on having had the backing (always critical, and we thank them for that) of so much intelligence, ingenuity and creativity. You already know that we always listened to you with respect and attention, even when we didn't share your points of view and that something of the light you shone helped to illuminate our dark paths.

We thank the honest workers of the press and the decent media who showed, truthfully and to the entire world, what they saw and heard, and who respected, without distorting, our voice and path. We extend you our solidarity in these hard moments you are going through in the exercise of your profession, where you are risking your lives, you are attacked and, like us, you find no justice.

And, so that no one is missed, we thank everyone who, honestly and sincerely, helped us.

I said, at the beginning of this letter, that it was not a farewell. Well, it so happens that for some people it is. Although for others it will be what is, in reality, a promise...Because what is missing can now be seen...

Vale. Salud and, from heart to heart, thank you for everything.

In the name of all the zapatistas of the EZLN.

>From the mountains of the Mexican Southeast.

Subcomandante Insurgente Marcos

Mexico, in the sixth month of the year 2005.

PS - You can see now that we aren't thinking about playing football. Or not thinking only about that. Because some day we will play against the Internazionale of Milan. We, or what is left of us.


Mexico is GE Corn contaminated. The contamination is spreading globally.

26.06.2005 16:19

Contamination by genetically modified maize in Mexico much worse than feared

* Contamination has been found in cornfields in the states of Chihuahua, Morelos, Durango, Mexico State, Puebla, Oaxaca, San Luis Potosí, Tlaxcala and Veracruz

* Analyses show contamination with the genetically modified (GM) variety Starlink, prohibited for human consumption in the United States

* Some plants found to show presence of two, three and four different GM types, all patented by transnational biotechnology corporations

* Mexican indigenous and farming communities demand a halt to corn imports, continuation of the moratorium on sowing GM maize, and rejection of the Bill on Biosafety currently before the Mexican Congress.

Representatives of indigenous and farming communities from the states of Oaxaca, Puebla, Chihuahua, Veracruz, and the Center for Studies on Rural Change in Mexico (CECCAM), Center for Indigenous Missions, (CENAMI), Action Group on Erosion, Technology and Concentration (ETC Group), Center for Social Analysis, Information and Popular Training (CASIFOP), Union of Organizations of the Sierra Juarez of Oaxaca (UNOSJO), Jaliscan Association of Support for Indigenous Groups (AJAGI) released the results of their own independent studies and conclusions on the presence of transgenic contamination in nine Mexican states: Chihuahua, Morelos, Durango, Mexico State, San Luis Potosi, Puebla, Oaxaca, Tlaxcala and Veracruz. The analysis were carried out on 2,000 plants (in 411 groups of samples), from 138 farming and indigenous communities. In 33 communities (24% of total samples) from nine states, the tests found some presence of transgenes in native corn. The results show percentages of contamination that run from 1.5% to 33.3%, in a second round of analysis.

In the nine states that tested positive, genetic contamination was found that coincides with the protein Bt-Cry9c, that identifies the corn variety Starlink, patented by Aventis (Bayer), prohibited for human consumption in the United States and nowadays taken off the market. In these same states, other strains of Bacillus Thuringiensis (Bt), used in creating transgenic Bt corn varieties by companies including Monsanto and Novartis/Syngenta, were found, as well as presence of the protein CP4-EPSPS patented by Monsanto and used to create corn genetically modified to resist herbicides.

The analyses were carried out with commercial detection kits of the Agdia brand, applying the DAS ELISA test. The first round of tests were done by the members of the communities and organizations themselves, with the technical assistance and support of biologists from the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM). The second round of tests was carried out by a company that distributes the kits in Mexico.

“Our analyses confirm the findings of contamination of native corn that were released to the public previously by researchers Chapela and Quist of the University of California at Berkeley, and by the National Institute of Ecology (INE) and the National Council on Biodiversity (CONABIO). Now we see that the contamination has spread at least to the South, Central and Northern regions of the country,” stated Ana de Ita of CECCAM. She added, “This is just a small sample, but it indicates the seriousness of the problem. If we’re finding contamination in random samples from indigenous and farming communities far from urban centers and in communities that have traditionally used their own seed, then the problem is much more widespread. The presence of Starlink is especially serious because it ends up in the corn these communities consume. The plants in several communities that contain two, three and even four different transgenes together indicates that the contamination has been around for years, and that contaminated maize on small farms has been cross-pollinating for generations to have incorporated all these different traits in its genome.”

Silvia Ribeiro of ETC Group warned that “Recent U.S. production of corn genetically modified to produce substances ranging from plastics and adhesives, to spermicides and abortifacients poses an even greater risk of contamination. There have already been cases in Iowa and Nebraska of accidental escape of corn modified to produce non-edible substances. If we’re already finding contamination in remote areas of Mexico, where cultivation of GM corn is prohibited by law, how can we guarantee that these other types won’t spread as well?”

Ribeiro continued: “Like all GM products in the world, the proteins detected are all under patent. The Monsanto corporation that accounts for 90% of the world market in genetically modified agricultural products already won a lawsuit against Canadian farmer Percy Schmeiser claiming unlicensed use of their patent, even though Schmeiser’s fields were inadvertently contaminated by Monsanto’s GM canola. There are currently 2,000 similar cases filed by Monsanto and other biotech corporations against farmers in Canada and the U.S.”

Elizabeth, a peasant from the state of Veracruz, declared: “The companies themselves should be sued, for contamination. We publicly declare their responsibility, and we will not permit any lawsuit filed by them, in any part of Mexico, since they’re the ones who have damaged our corn with their genetically modified products.”

Pedro, an indigenous community member in Chihuahua, echoed a view expressed by many of the representatives of indigenous and farming communities affected, stating that for them the contamination of their corn is an attack on their most profound cultural roots and a threat to their basic source of sustenance and autonomy. “Our seeds, our corn, is the basis of the food sovereignty of our communities. It’s much more than a food, it’s part of what we consider sacred, of our history, our present and future.”

Baldemar Mendoza, an indigenous farmer from Oaxaca, reported at the news conference that deformed plants with GM traits have been found in Oaxaca and other states. “We have seen many deformities in corn, but never like this. One deformed plant in Oaxaca that we saved tested positive for three different transgenes. The old people of the communities say they have never seen these kinds of deformities.”

He also stated that government representatives came to his community to tell him not to worry about contamination, because GM crops have been available in some countries for five or six years and there is no evidence that GM crops are harmful to health. “But we have our own evidence,” asserted Mendoza. “We have 10,000 years of evidence that our maize is good for our health. To contaminate it with genetically modified maize is a crime against all indigenous peoples and farming communities who have been cultivating and improving maize over millennia for the benefit of humankind.”

Alvaro Salgado of CENAMI cited a Nahuatl poem that emphasizes the role of corn in Mexican communities: “It is our mother because it gives us life; it gives us unity and identity, as children of the same family. It makes us love our mother earth and not abandon her. It makes us peoples. We share the maize with joy, but nobody has the right to use it as its owner, maize can feed us all, but we cannot appropriate it. We have a mutual relationship, that’s why we defend it from foxes, coyotes and rats. We don’t want it to run out, because we exist thanks to corn.”

“Contamination isn’t just one more problem”, said Salgado. “It’s an aggression against Mexico’s identity and its original inhabitants. That is why the communities and organizations have decided to take matters in their own hands. We won’t let the same technicians and institutions and companies that gave us chemicals and hybrid seeds come along now to tell us not to worry and that the solution is their seeds. We want our seeds and we are going to defend them and rescue them.”

Carlos Chavez of AJAGI further noted: “In the two years that the government has known about the contamination, it hasn’t done anything to determine how far it has spread or to stop the sources of contamination. With the exception of the studies done by INE-CONABIO, it hasn’t released the results of governmental studies, like the ones carried out by the Ministry of Agriculture (SAGARPA).” Chavez also noted that Victor Villalobos, the Ministry’s delegate in the Intersecretarial Commission for Biosafety and Genetically Modified Organisms (CIBIOGEM) stated publicly that “contamination in Oaxaca is a natural laboratory” and called for lifting the moratorium on sowing genetically modified maize in national territory.

“This would only help the five or six multinationals producing GM corn.” Chavez said. Meanwhile, the Senate approved a bill on Biosafety with no discussion and with the support of all the political parties. Instead of protecting Mexico’s interests, this bill protects the multinationals that contaminate us, and rejects the precautionary principle although this should be the major priority in our country since Mexico is a mega-diverse country and center of origin for corn and other food crops. Out of respect for indigenous peoples, small farmers and all Mexicans, this bill should not be approved in the Chamber of Deputies, where it is currently under discussion. What we need in Mexico is to say NO to genetically modified crops—they contaminate native varieties, they make us dependent and we don’t need them.”

He added that, “Even international institutions like the International Center for the Improvement of Maize and Wheat (CIMMYT), which has the largest public seed bank for maize in the world gathered from small and indigenous farmers, have failed to publicly recognize that contamination exists but at the same time it has projects to develop GM maize and wheat. They are betraying what they say is their mission: to serve poor farmers.”

CECCAM’s Ana de Ita summed up the demands of the organizations and communities involved in the study:

* Total rejection of genetically modified crops
* Rejection of the bill on biosafety before Congress, which would only legalize genetic contamination
* Hold the multinational producers of GM products, particularly Monsanto, Syngenta, Bayer, Dupont, Dow and BASF, responsible for the contamination. We reject their lawsuits for “unlicensed use of patents,” that are in direct violation of farmers‘ rights.
* The Mexican government and the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, Fisheries and Food (SAGARPA) must make public all the results of studies of contamination.
* Maintain the moratorium on cultivating and freeing GM maize into the environment
* Immediate halt to importations of GM corn, the most likely source of contamination
* Indigenous and farming communities, supported by the organizations they choose, will take specific actions to stop and reverse GM contamination. We invite all indigenous and farming communities to join the movement to defend our maize.

Indigenous and farming communities in Chihuahua, Puebla, Oaxaca, Tlaxcala, Veracruz and other states
CECCAM (Center for Studies on Rural Change in Mexico)
CENAMI (National Center to Support Indigenous Missions)
ETC Group (Action Group on Erosion, Technology and Concentration)
CASIFOP (Center for Social Analysis, Information and Popular Training)
UNOSJO (Union of Organizations of the Sierra Juarez of Oaxaca)
AJAGI (Jaliscan Association of Support for Indigenous Groups)

Summary of results of the tests for genetic contamination of native corn, Mexico 2003

The analysis were carried out on 2,000 plants (in 411 groups of samples), from 138 farming and indigenous communities. In 33 communities (24% of total samples) from the states of Chihuahua, Morelos, Durango, Mexico State, San Luis Potosi, Puebla, Oaxaca, Tlaxcala and Veracruz, the tests found some presence of transgenes in native corn.

All the communities that participated in this study practice campesino, or small-scale agriculture, using family labor, and little or no chemical inputs. The corn produced is destined primarily to family consumption and is sown on plots of between one and two hectares, using their own stores of saved native seed. Most of the communities are located in regions far from urban centers. Each one of the communities participating in the study defined the size of its sample and the plants were selected at random, taken from the corners and center of each plot.

In January 2003, 105 groups of leaves from 520 plants were analysed from the states of Puebla, Veracruz, Chihuahua, San Luis Potosí, Mexico State and Morelos. In August of 2003, additional samples from the state of Tlaxcala were analyzed that also tested positive using the same method described below.

Based on tests to determine the presence of endotoxins through the DAS-ELISA technique, using commercial kits manufactured by Agdia, with a reader of optical density and a filter of 620 nm, the first test was carried out to determine the presence or absence of five types of proteins that are present in GM organisms. Four of these detect the toxin Bacillus Thuringiensis: Bt-Cry 1Ab/1Ac, Bt-Cry9C, Bt-Cry 1C y Bt Cry2a, and one detects herbicide-resistant CP4 EPSPS.

Of these 105 samples, gathered from 95 plots in 53 communities, 48.6 % tested positive for transgenic proteins. 17% of the samples were positive for three or more, 13% were positive for two or more, and 18.6% for one.

Of the total of samples analyzed, in 21% Cry 1a/1ac was detected, among other things, and 26.67% tested positive for Cry9c (Starlink). Another 34% were positive for CP4 EPSPS.

In July/August 2003 a second study was carried out on 306 samples, made up of groups of leaves from 1,500 plants and using samples from the corners and centers of fields located in 101 indigenous communities in six Mexican states: Oaxaca, Puebla, Chihuahua, Durango and Veracruz.

The study sought to determine the presence of endotoxins through the DAS-ELISA technique, and was done by the laboratory Fumigaciones y Mantenimiento de Plantas S.C., using the Agdia commercial kits, with a reader of optical density and filter of 620 nm, diagnosing the presence or absence of three types of proteins indicators of the presence or absence of the toxin Bt that produces insect-resistant plants (Bt-Cry 1Ab/1Ac, Bt-Cry- 9C, Bt-Cry 1C) and one resistant to herbicides (CP4 EPSPS). Of the 306 samples in total in this case—from all the communities and points of sampling—32 samples (10.45%) tested positive. 1% of the simples registered the protein Bt-Cry 1Ab/1Ac; 1% of the samples registered the protein Bt-Cry 9C; 3.6% were positive for resistance to herbicides CP4 EPSPS. 4.9% of the samples were positive concomitantly for two or three different transgenes: 3.9% of the samples for three types—two different types of Bt (Bt-Cry9C, Bt Cry 1Ab/1Ac) and the herbicide resistant CP4 EPSPS; while 0.65% of the samples registered the presence of two transgenic characteristics: CP4 EPSPS and Bt-Cry 1Ab/1Ac. The remaining 0.33% was positive for CP4 EPSPS and Bt-Cry 9C.

In 18 of the 105 sample groups, between 1.5% and 33.3% of the samples registered positive results. Deformed plants have been found in the states of Oaxaca and Chihuahua that have tested positive for the presence of GM products.

Some commercial brands and companies that market GM products containing transgenes found in Mexican maize: Bt-Cry- 9C present in the maize Starlink of Aventis (owned by Bayer), prohibited in the United States for human consumption; Bt-Cry 1Ab/1Ac, present, among other commercial brands in the products YieldGard from Monsanto, Knockout from Novartis (owned by Syngenta), and NatureGard from Mycogen; Bt-Cry1C in products from Mycogen y Ecogen. CP4 EPSPS that identifies, for example, the GM maize resistant to herbicide RoundUp Ready Corn from Monsanto, (resistant to the herbicide glyphosate, known locally as Faena or Basta).

For further information, contact:
ETC Group in Mexico: (+52-55) 55 63 26 64),
CECCAM (+52-55) 5661 1925 ,

** NOTICE: In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed for research and educational purposes only. **

Indigenous Farming Community Group
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