ngin - Norfolk Genetic Information Network
2 November 2002

REBELLION ACROSS THE AMERICAS

FROM 'FOOD AID' TO 'FREE TRADE': THE US IS FORCING OPEN MARKETS FOR ITS GIANT CORPORATIONS AT THE EXPENSE OF THE POOR, THE ENVIRONMENT AND ITS OWN PEOPLE, WHO AREN'T EVEN ALLOWED TO KNOW WHAT'S IN THE FOOD THEY EAT!

NEW ENGLAND: "Greenpeace activists wearing biohazard suits charged into the Shaw's Supermarket on Kitts Lane Wednesday to protest the sale of genetically engineered foods. Armed with a megaphone, the 10 or so protesters walked the aisles telling customers to avoid Shaw's store-brand products... The protest was one of dozens held this week at stores throughout New England, U.S." (item 1)
 
ECUADOR: The US is pushing a proposed Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA) at Quito in Ecuador which has been rocked by police violence against protesters during the negotiations. But yesterday a police rebellion led to protesters being able to confront Bush Administration negotiator, Robert Zoellick, directly. Nicaraguan farm worker leader, Maria Elenam Siquiera, read the protesters' declaration warning, "if you don't listen to our voices and those of millions more across the continent, you will be responsible for putting the very future of the Americas at risk." (item 3)

OREGON: A biotech industry coalition led by Monsanto has put together a $4.5 million war chest in Oregon but as Willie Vogt at DirectAg.com notes: "whatever the returns show after the election don't count on the issue just staying in Oregon. This referendum is the first volley in a new national labeling drive you'll be hearing more about next year." (item 2)

A former consultant to the World Food Programme in Ecuador, Dr Wilma Salgado, has attacked the US's promotion of "free trade" as simply a means of enabling it to expand its markets. "At the same time the US has increased its non-tariff barriers to limit the import of products that could compete on the US market," she notes.

Dr Salgado says that the US uses "food aid" in exactly the same way, as just another means of expanding markets for its heavily subsidised agricultural exports. US "food assistance" to Ecuador has nearly wiped out the country's local production of wheat and rendered it dependent on wheat imports from the US, thus threatening its food security while creating a market for US exports. http://ngin.tripod.com/241002c.htm

1. GREENPEACE INVADES SHAW'S
2. Biotech industry war chest won't make issue go away
3. "Yes to Life! No the FTAA! Another America is Possible!!!"

***

1. Greenpeace invades Shaw's

October 31, 2002
The Hartford Courant
Maurice Timothy Reidy

NEWINGTON -- -- Greenpeace activists wearing biohazard suits charged into the Shaw's Supermarket on Kitts Lane Wednesday to protest the sale of genetically engineered foods.

Armed with a megaphone, the 10 or so protesters walked the aisles telling customers to avoid Shaw's store-brand products. They were quickly asked to leave.

The protest was one of dozens held this week at stores throughout New England, U.S. Sunil Bector, a protester wearing a Shaw's shirt bearing a skull and crossbones, was quoted as saying, "Everyone who buys Shaw's store-brand products is an unwilling guinea pig in a genetic food experiment."

The activists argue that genetically modified foods -- created by inserting genes into crops to improve productivity -- can cause food allergies and weaken resistance to bacteria.

Bernard Rogan, a spokesman for Shaw's, denied the accusations, adding, "There is no valid proof of what they're saying," and that Shaw's is awaiting FDA guidelines that will specify what constitutes a genetically modified food and how such a product should be labeled. Rogan also said, "We await that determination before we do anything unilaterally."

Shaw's has been targeted because of what activists call "a dangerous double standard." The company does not sell modified foods in England, but it does here.

Rogan said Shaw's parent company in England made the decision after national health problems -- including mad cow disease -- shook consumer confidence in government regulation. That is not the case here, he said.

Shortly after leaving Shaw's Wednesday, the activists moved to a nearby patch of grass, where they inflated a 30-foot corn balloon.

Sarah Rasmussen, standing a few feet from the Berlin Turnpike said, "It's basically to educate people coming by. And to remind Shaw's that we're going to be at their stores until they stop selling genetically engineered foods."

***

2. Biotech industry war chest won't make issue go away

A biotech industry coalition led by Monsanto has put together a $4.5 million war chest in Oregon but as Willie Vogt at DirectAg.com notes: "whatever the returns show after the election don't count on the issue just staying in Oregon. This referendum is the first volley in a new national labeling drive you'll be hearing more about next year."

HYPE AGAINST MEASURE 27 BASELESS
October 31, 2002
Portland Oregonian
Brent Foster

Many Oregonians are gobbling up hook, line and sinker the massive campaign hype against Measure 27, the initiative to label genetically engineered foods.

The campaign against Measure 27 is funded almost entirely by large out-of-state corporations and premised on the baseless claim that Measure 27 would increase food prices and hurt farmers.

Both the campaign and your Oct. 22 editorial do not even address the fact that more than 30 countries already require labeling for genetically engineered foods and that there is no evidence that food prices have increased or that farmers have been hurt as a result.

The only real impact Measure 27 would have is that it would give us Oregonians the right to know what's in our food.

***

3. "Yes to Life! No the FTAA! Another America is Possible!!!"

information from Food First/Institute for Food and Development Policy.
======================
Food Rights Watch
======================
Police join protesters at Quito FTAA negotiations, forcing an unprecedented meeting between protesters and trade delegates.

Food First Coverage of the Protests Against the FTAA Ministerial in Quito:

1. Latest Update from Quito: Police Rebel and Anti-Free Trade Protests in Quito End on Positive Note
2. Photos from the events of the FTAA Ministerial in Quito
3. Past Updates from Quito
4. Links to More Information

1. Latest Update -- November 1, 2002: Police Rebel and Anti-Free Trade
Protests in Quito End on Positive Note

"The protests against the proposed Free Trade Area of the  Americas (FTAA) -- and the police violence that rocked Quito  during the day yesterday -- ended on a positive note for protesters  in the evening, putting the Bush Administration's negotiator, Mr. Robert Zoellick, in an embarrassing and awkward position."

Read the full report:
http://www.foodfirst.org/progs/global/trade/quito2002/2002-11-01-update.php

2. Photographs of the Events in Quito:

Photos of the events in Quito can be found here:
http://www.foodfirst.org/progs/global/trade/quito2002/photos.php

3. Past Updates from Quito

Throughout Thursday, thousands of protesters were gassed, pushed and  shoved away from the negotiations by riot equipped police. Read more  here:

"Seattle in Quito? Army Arrives to Quell Protests Against Free Trade Agreement"
http://www.foodfirst.org/progs/global/trade/quito2002/2002-10-31-update.php

"As Peasants and Indigenous People Prepare to Protest FTAA, Quito Fills up with Security Forces"
http://www.foodfirst.org/progs/global/trade/quito2002/2002-10-30-update.php

4. Links to More Information about the 2002 FTAA Ministerial

Information and articles about the 2002 Ministerial on the FTAA
can be found here:
http://www.foodfirst.org/progs/global/trade/quito2002

Also, visit the FTAA pages of the Food First Media Quik Stop:
http://www.foodfirst.org/media/index.php?keyword=FTAA
....
http://www.foodfirst.org/progs/global/trade/quito2002/2002-11-01-update.php
Police Rebel and Anti-Free Trade Protests in Quito End on Positive Note
Posted: November 01, 2002

Quito, November 1: The protests against the proposed Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA) --and the police violence that rocked Quito during the day yesterday--ended on a positive note for protesters in the evening, putting the Bush Administration's negotiator, Mr. Robert Zoellick, in an embarrassing and awkward position.

At about 3 PM yesterday, after the worst of the police violence against the tens of thousands of indigenous people, farmers, students and other members of civil society from the across the Americas had taken place, a police platoon, including various officers, rebelled against their own government, and joined with indigenous leaders and other protesters in demanding that the trade ministers from 34 countries meeting to negotiate the FTAA agree to receive a delegation from the protesters carrying a declaration of opposition to the FTAA.

According to sources, this news rocked a government that has seen two previous presidents thrown out of office by the indigenous movement in alliance with rebel security forces.

At that point, the Ecuadorian government sent in the army to relieve the police, on the one hand, and on the other, began to lean heavily on the trade ministers, and especially on Mr. Zoellick, the U.S. Trade Representative, to accede to the protesters demands.

As the popular movements re-grouped at Arbolito Park in the afternoon, the government extracted a reluctant offer from the ministers to receive a delegation composed of two  representatives of the protesters. When the indigenous leaders of the CONIAE, Leonidas Iza and Blanca Chancoso, said no to the offer, the ministers came with an offer of ten. When that was refused they said that 30 people could come, but that too was refused, as was an offer of forty. The protesters finally accepted to send a delegation of 50 people, over the strenuous objections of Mr. Zoellick, to be accompanied by the entire march up to the innermost security perimeter.

At about 6:30 the delegation passed the barricades, escorted by special forces soldiers heavily armed with automatic weapons. Although the agreement was for a delegation of fifty, in fact 65 protesters managed to get into the Swiss Hotel where the historic meeting was to take place. The delegation included the top leadership of Latin America's most powerful social movements, including Iza and Chancoso from the CONIAE, Joao Pedro Stedile of the Landless Workers' Movement (MST) of Brazil, Rafael Alegria of the international farmers' movement, the Via Campesina, Juan Tiney of the Latin American Coordination of Rural Movements (CLOC), and many others. Also included were representatives of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) who work with these movements, like Peter Rosset of Food First and Nicola Bullard of Focus on the Global South in Thailand.

The delegation entered the basement auditorium of the hotel at the same instant as the 34 trade ministers, led by Mr. Zoellick. As the ministers sat down across the room, facing the protesters, Peter Rosset stood up and addressed Mr. Zoellick. "Excuse me," he said, "are you an American?" As Mr. Zoellick turned to see who was addressing him personally, Peter Rosset continued: "I am an American too, and I am ashamed at how you and the Bush Administration are trying to force Latin American governments to sign a trade agreement that will only bring them misery and poverty, and will bring the same to the American people." As the protesters applauded and some of the Latin American trade ministers smirked, Mr. Zoellick looked very sour, at what was only the beginning of a very uncomfortable meeting for him. To add insult to injury, that night the Ecuadorian TV news stations showed Mr. Zoellick being told off by a fellow American in front of 33 fellow trade ministers.

The next treat for Mr. Zoellick was a speech by parliamentarians from 11 countries, ranging from Canada to Bolivia, in which they called on their respective governments to "reject the FTAA and recall their negotiators at once." While the speech was being read, three congress people actually stood in front of Mr. Zoellick with placards reading "No al ALCA" (No to the FTAA).

A short time later, Mr. Iza, the president of the CONIAE, addressed the ministers. He began by saying, "Señores, I wish to say to you, not to offend, but only to speak the truth, that you cannot understand how the poor live in the Americas, because you were born in golden cribs." He then went one to humbly and movingly lay out exactly why the FTAA would mean "death to the indigenous peoples' of the Americas."

This was followed by the powerful reading of protesters declaration, by Nicaraguan farm worker leader Maria Elenam Siquiera. She began by saying "this is not a consultation or a dialog, this is a statement of implacable opposition to the FTAA by all the peoples' of the Americas." The declaration warned that "if you don't listen to our voices and those of millions more across the continent, you will be responsible  for putting the very future of the Americas at risk." She concluded by shouting, "Yes to Life! No the FTAA! Another America is Possible!!!"
 


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