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As part of the commemorations for the World Food Sovereignty Day, several Paraguayan social movements and organizations who are part of the Plataforma Heñoi are organizing a day of action to expose the negative impacts of the agribusiness model in the country.
The international seminar “On the World Food Sovereignty Day We Say No to Monsanto” is being held at the Cultural Center of Ciudad Manzana de la Rivera, in Paraguay’s capital Asuncion.
“Paraguay has the world’s most unequal land distribution in the world”, said Luis Rojas of the Society of Political Economy of Paraguay (SEPPY) and BASE IS. He said that 2% of landowners have 85% of the country’s lands.
Rojas criticized the predominance of a system organized to favor one sector. “The state favors a model by implementing criminalization policies, from environmental regulation, to the release of GMO, to tax collection”.
They exposed the strong presence of representatives of the unions of large estate owners in public institutions that could tackle the inequalities in the Paraguayan countryside, such as the National Institute of Rural and Land Development (Indert) and the National Development Bank. Rojas also mentioned that the taxing system promotes large estates, since property is taxed only with 1% of its value.
This adds to the lack of taxation on the exports of cattle and agriculture production, tax evasion and the socio-environmental damage they cause. All this contributes to a perverse taxing system.
At the end of the presentations, the participants of the seminar organized a march to the Presidential Palace to deliver a petition to the authorities to reject Monsanto’s application to patent GM corn MON 89034 and to cancel all patents the State has granted in violation of the Patent Law (which excludes the possibility of patenting animals or plants).
A police operation blocked the access to the presidential palace, telling the participants of the meeting that the petition, supported by thousands of signatures, could only be delivered by three people, who should enter without cameras or recorders.
*Which means “We will kick Monsanto out” in Guarani language.
Imagen: Radio Mundo Real
“No queremos ser mártires, no queremos que hayan más mártires en este país, pero también hay una responsabilidad histórica de hacer valer la palabra y demostrar que tenemos derecho a la construcción de un mundo mejor. Y no podemos huir a esa responsabilidad”, dijo a Radio Mundo Real la dirigente garífuna Miriam Miranda, coordinadora de la Organización Fraternal Negra Hondureña (OFRANEH).
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