Soy and Empire

Soy and Empire

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By Luis E. Sabini Fernández

Let us observe that no people can be conceived without food sovereignty. And monoculture is the guarantee not only of the well-being of the metropolises that receive different foods from different places, but also of local hunger, of the single-producing country.

I begin with a declaration, I don't know if it is of principles, of war or of reality: I am not a Guevaraist, but something that Guevara said forty years ago still seems to me of enormous validity, as it did then: the United States is the enemy of humanity. Obvious to clarify that we are not referring to its inhabitants; there are them as excellent as elsewhere, but to the political configuration. Imperial. With a peculiarity: it is an empire with an imperial or imperialist mentality (1) in its dominant layers and a democratic mentality in its population (there is its great move). A corollary follows from this peculiarity: all empires use the sepoy sector of the colonial country to extend and strengthen their power. The US, by the way, is no exception, but the sepoya population in this case does like Monsieur Jourdain, who wrote prose without knowing it, that is to say, it is sepoya and feels incredibly patriotic. But not a patriot of the metropolis but of his sold homeland. A single example: Carlos Omar Menem, who probably does not have a single bill in his entire passage through the Argentine National Congress, wrote yes one to establish that the members of every sports team that played abroad should carry their right hand to the left side of the chest each time the Argentine anthem was sung, in the usual opening ceremonies. He did it in the mid-1990s, one of the moments of greatest spiritual and material alienation in Argentina.

That empire, then, has been imposed on us through cultural, communicational, technological, apparently non-ideological means; the car, the oxygenated blondes (in post-war Japan there was a cascade of Japanese girls who had the tissues that skewed their eyes cut to "look like" North American women, just as in the 1930s in the US it was The ironing of black hair was all the rage, to remove specks and curlers and see if they resembled wasp ...

In this way, the US has gone to us and we have been making ourselves in its image and likeness. But, of course, always second. Because the garbage that we "make" is not as much or as striking as that made by New York, although during the Menemato, Buenos Aires became one of the cities with the most domestic waste on the planet, (surpassing all the European and the River Plate Montevideo). Because the "blondes" around here are even more tinted than those from there, because not even with the madeinMenem debt do we have as many cars per capita as the US Second, but with an overwhelming tendency to imitation.

Take the example of motoring: roads produce 70 times more deaths per million passengers than trains and their tracks, and a similar proportion of air pollution. But it is the car with an internal combustion engine and not the train or the bicycle that has prevailed. Simplifying, awol is entertainment, oil (strictly speaking, naphtha and plastics), use-and-throw and soy.

The soy system

Soy had a very intelligent press. America has true armies of brainwashing armies that plan and work for the long term.

Remember the story with olive oil? When the large-scale production of corn oil begins in the US, researchers discover, just then, a huge number of nutritional disadvantages of olive oil, much heavier than corn, and therefore more indigestible, etc. . Olive oil had a millenary tradition in the Mediterranean and, to top it all, excellent food. But science is science. It took almost two decades for new research to appear that disproved the "black legend" so opportunely emerged about olive oil, and once again recognized that it was of much better quality for frying than corn (and that almost all other edible oils) and that its amount of unsaturated fats made it one of the healthiest.

Well, when one dabbles in the appearance of soybeans, compares data, little by little the question arises as to whether soybeans did not also undergo an operation. In this case, the inverse, image wash. Of RR.PP. In Argentina it has been known for about 30 years and it came from the hand of the most careful dietetics. As the protein solution for vegetarians. And for a long time, as a food of selection, of conscious people, of a minority who knows. To make matters worse, when transgenic soy is expanded, less than ten years ago, more "enhancements" will appear: cooked soy juice (which does not have a drop of calcium) will be called "milk" and "bean sprouts" will be called "milk". Presumed nutritional marvel that is mung bean sprouts.

Eduardo Vior, an Argentine political scientist researcher during a long stay in Germany, made a history of soybeans and I summarize here some of its features (2):

• It has been known for millennia in China. Around 1900, the only soybeans exported came from Manchuria (a country incorporated into the People's Republic of China). What countries mattered then? USA and Germany.

• Soybeans began to be produced in the USA around 1920. It is investigated as a vegetable source and therefore much cheaper for protein. The war created concern in the US to achieve autonomy in the supply of proteins. A policy that builds food sovereignty ... its own.

• In 1949, with the revolution and regime change in China, with the advent of the People's Republic, Manchu exports ended. Or Chinese. And the US becomes the world's only soybean exporter. Of the cheapest protein in the world.

• The US taxed the importation of coconut oil and thus stabilized, the own production of soybean oil was consolidated (they are two second-rate oils, but very cheap).

At the end of WW2, the US inaugurates the Marshall Plan. That it fulfills two basic functions, also pointed out by Vior: it reduces US agricultural surpluses and turns food aid into a foreign policy instrument.

At that time, we can see that there is a first phase of that use. Food aid is to address the hunger of friendly countries or to prevent a country from becoming an enemy. This is the case of Italy with wheat: there, the communists had great possibilities of taking over the government democratically (for decades, the Italian Communist Party was going to be the largest of the “western” countries). Postwar famine raged, particularly in a defeated country like Italy. The Catholic Church joins a "move" with the corresponding US agencies to carry out a huge operation to distribute US wheat among those in need. The timing of the operation "Wheat" is adjusted with that of the elections and finally, by a narrow margin, the Christian Democrats (the party of the Catholic Church) triumph over the Communists.

Later, a second phase of this foreign and imperial policy ensues, when the US expands it towards impoverished countries (which continue to impoverish, despite all the definitions of "development"). It is about food policy for the more or less former colonial countries. There is a dark phrase from an American hierarch in the '70s:

"To provide a country with food simply because its inhabitants are starving, that is not a compelling reason" (3) that gives the pattern of the displacement of food to an instrument or weapon of blackmail.

We could add that with transgenics, this second phase has a twist: food as a weapon was already present but with the developments of genetic engineering, the margins of autonomy are brutally narrowed.

This is precisely what Paul Nicholson, secretary of Via Campesina, expresses, the international of peasants founded well at the end of the s. XX:

"Food markets are a weapon of mass destruction" (4).

Let us quote Moore Lappé once again, now his words:

"The technical vision of increased production has profoundly modified agriculture, turning a very complex and autonomous system into a highly simplified and dependent system." (ibid., ch. 19).

Observe the reader that this appreciation of Moore Lappé dates back to the '70s, before the implantation of genetic engineering in agriculture, which will be massively deployed in the' 90s and with "pioneer" laboratories, such as Monsanto, trying to get rid of the burning and unattractive term of "genetic engineering" (or transgenics), which they used initially, and renaming their "technical advances" as "biotechnology" and "life sciences" [sic] and using the beatlish and poetic Imagine as their logo.

With the Marshall Plan, the US succeeds in getting Europe to incorporate soybeans as a key fodder for its livestock production.

Vior clarifies that: “USA. it even sends up to three-quarters of its wheat and soy exports abroad as 'aid'. " In this way, they destroyed the agrarian production systems of the recipient countries and reoriented food habits according to the US model (he is talking about the late 1950s).

There is a paradigmatic example of this type of food neocolonialism: South Korea. Korea is one of the nation states that the US-USSR bid and particularly the US policy of splintering the splintable countries, according to Samuel Huntington's advice, is split in the middle.

South Korea falls within the American sphere of influence. Its geopolitical security remains very tied to the strategies of the US And all the efforts of the common population to live better are going to be violently repressed, decade after decade, imprisoning and murdering strikers and opponents of national politics… American. Once ideologically colonized, it was the turn of material domination, and little by little, South Korea began to receive increasing imports of American wheat. Along with wheat, came the industrial and commercial devices and South Korea was literally invaded by junk food, with industrially made white bread with a huge endowment of chemical additives, the typical "American". Rice production logically went into crisis, which was irreversible: South Korea was also colonized for food.

The Colombian agronomist Hernán Pérez Zapata analyzes the food dependency process in his country. He points out, among other “weapons” that the US “provides Colombia with wheat at a very low (initial) rate, 2% per year, against which local producers cannot compete, and therefore local production is languishing and Thus, after a few years, a country that had total food autonomy has become a country that has lost it (5).

There is not even the naive question: were they so good that they spent harvesting for others? No, it was a policy. The Yankee state bought ALL the production from its farmers at tempting prices and then devoted a good part to this geopolitics.

A policy that destroys food sovereignty ... of others.

Let us observe that no people can be conceived without food sovereignty. And monoculture is the guarantee not only of the well-being of the metropolises that receive different foods from different places, but also of local hunger, of the single-producing country.

A paradigmatic example is Egypt, because in its case we also see the geopolitical or geostrategic projection of what happened:

In 1965 a process of “formidable modernization” culminated: the then largest hydroelectric dam in the world, that of Assuan, was coming to an end, still in Nasser's time. With it, Egypt was going to enter the era of energy sufficiency. It entered first, however, a series of floods with which sites of incredible archaeological value were lost, because they were the seat of enormous constructions of classical Nubia. History, museum culture, was sacrificed for concrete, practical modernity. Things began to get more difficult when the huge dam began to retain, at the bottom of its lake, the valuable silt of Kilimanjaro, the African heartland, with which the banks of the Nile were annually toned in the blessed floods with which for millennia the Nile valley was a fertile place and thanks to which one of the first "civilizations" flourished. Egypt began to have what are biblically called "lean" periods, but with an aggravation: it was not something cyclical. It wasn't going to happen after seven years ...

A population in prodigious demographic expansion, or suicidal, began to see its feet of clay, which paradoxically was what disappeared ... Although the Assuan dam was going to prevent the great floods that cyclically washed away the lower courses of the Nile, which began to occur, it was a grotesque and unthinkable derivation of the project. As the current of the Nile diminished, the Mediterranean began to enter upstream salinizing ancient farmlands. Less silt, more salt: lousy conjunction.

For millions of human beings and their respective habitats, the life regime of micro- and macro-fauna and flora has been irreversibly altered.

America came to their aid. Don't worry: we will supply you with the missing wheat.

Egypt was thus entering into the unworthy regime "from the boat to the mouth", according to which the population can meet again with the wheat when it leaves the port ... not from the granaries or the field.

The US began to hold Egypt's policy in its fist. It was once again the dependent country that Nasser had sought to abolish. Very likely the "conciliatory" role of Egypt with Israel has a strong relationship with that atrocious dependence to which Egypt has been subjected since it lost, its ability to self-sustain, what we call food sovereignty of its seventy million inhabitants. It is still embarrassing, for humanity's oldest wheat producers… but the US is a good player with its chips.

Well, this plan of world domination through the hunger of others, where soybeans will play an increasingly important role, worked without hindrance from the mid-1940s to 1973. Along with the oil crash, there is also a kind of crash of that food policy. Due to a series of droughts, the US decides to retain (for once) its production for self-sufficiency and the countries that had already generated a food dependency (in the European case, with fodder) despair at the ominous shrinking of the “ reserves ”and go out to look for suppliers in the market. This is how Brazil entered the hitherto exclusive "Club de la Soja". And Brazil dramatically increases its soy production: it doubles it annually, multiplies soils by 30 in 15 years and production by 100 between 1980 and 1995 (6). And behind Brazil, Argentina. In the 21st century, these three countries exceed 90% of world soybean trade (by three-thirds from highest to lowest in the same order as chronological).

Planetary sojization

But technological control remains mainly in the hands of the US And this is affirmed, although with some change, with the entry of transgenic soybeans. Because the US and Argentina adopt it and in Brazil there are problems. There are those who refuse to adopt GMOs. With transgenics, the handling of soybeans from the US is consolidated; There is a key laboratory in Saint Louis, Monsanto, which is the one that manages the production of soybeans, transgenic seed and herbicide adapted to that transgenesis. Brazil is relatively on the sidelines. It is the time when the Rio Grande do Sul declared its status "free of transgenics." But the capitalist spirit is stronger, the Riograndean landowners warn of the increase in the profit rate and through grain smuggled from Argentina -Monsanto apparently plays in the legality when it suits him and outside it when it also suits him-, they manage to overcome resistance " ideological ”. With Lula as president, the way for soy seems already assured (one of his first government measures was to "liberate" transgenic soy "for just one time" and then again and again ...).

The state of affairs that Vior describes gives us the guideline that soy is straddling the turn of the century what American sugar was in the 1600s or cotton in the nineteenth century. Vior says that it must be visualized today as the quebracho was in the north of Argentina a century ago… as an era. That is why he speaks of "the world soy complex." It could also be described as accurately a colleague, Pablo Stefanoni, "the American genetic-political-industrial complex." And the “soybean” laboratories refer to the “Country of Soy”; an inland South American “territory” of millions of km2… which the transgenic laboratories obviously consider their own. In it we have to include the homogenization of transport and communication routes such as the much-mentioned waterway, destined, with its absolutely adapted barges, to carry, among other sangrías, soy beans (IIRSA).

Vior clarifies that when soy production increases, the amount of protein increases, firstly as forage, which in turn increases the production of proteins in the form of livestock and, in a second stage, plant proteins increase. Soy is a wildcard ingredient. This is how what qualifies as the macdonaldization of food is produced, first in the United States, then in Europe and finally in impoverished countries: fast foods, prepared and ready to eat.

More and more we all eat the same. And we know less and less what we eat. A new link in this homogenization process has been precisely the incorporation of (textured) soybeans directly as if it were meat: a beef burger costs, let's say, one peso; half cow, half soy, 55 cents. No industrial food producer doubts it: miti and miti.

Commoditization and neodependence

Vior's thesis is that the soybean complex renews and reinvigorates the classic colonial relationship and here we are encountering the growing Argentine monoculturation: the dependent country exports raw materials and receives products or services: Argentina's most important export items are : oil and soy. Two commodities, as they are named now without even using Spanish (the imperial relationship also enters there).

Argentina is, among the main in the world, the soybean producer with the highest percentage of transgenic. We said that GM soy adjusts, assembles, dependency better. For several reasons. Because the transgenic seed has a much more restricted origin; it comes from the lab and Monsanto and its "colleagues" don't want to lose royalties. Because laboratories have become seedlings or acquire them and thus have become one of the largest on the planet. As laboratories-seedlings, they prohibit reseeding; an ancient custom of the peasantry, together with the exchange of seeds between peasants; Against such "vices", a private police controls the rigorous purchase of seeds for each harvest.

To make the lines profitable, they simplify varieties. Soybeans had, historically - like any plant - tens of thousands of varieties; transgenic soy is produced in only a handful of varieties (this restriction of biodiversity does not come only with transgenics; it comes with the agro-industrial model, only with GMOs it is even more extreme).

The soy complex argues that GM soy brings higher yields. False. Research has been done that reveals that transgenic soy usually yields somewhat less, around 6%, compared to traditional (7). It brings, yes, economies of business management (because it simplifies management), reduces labor, and so on. The increase in production itself comes from the advance of the planted areas. Soy is a tropical plant and today it is planted at the latitude of Bahía Blanca… and to the north, the mountain is razed, what remains of the Chaco mountain, Santiago, to enter with soy, in Chaco, Formosa, Salta.

Since the laissez-faire, laissez passer of the menemato, there has been no regulatory state, until the incipient and poorly focused intervention with Lousteau in 2008, and the attempt to stop the "soybeanization".

The reality is that agribusiness has dominated schools, public bodies, the addicted press and this translates into "producers" who are at the command of what "the market" tells them.

This lordship of soy in the country had a large ideological support in positivism and progressivism, tacit, often unaware of our public (and private, but "important") men, a gender that nurtures the ideological spectrum on the right and on the left.

The same phenomenon, however, receives other names from the First World, which seeks to preserve its standard of living and "preponderance", as N. Chomsky has so often denounced:

"It is not necessary to arrange a redistribution of wealth. But of the technologies that the industrialized world possesses. Those who receive this technology must have the desire to change their world and their lifestyle, and whether they want to or not, they must cooperate closely with the providers of these technologies during a period of adaptation that will take years. Some third worldists call this 'neocolonialism', it is their opinion. Others might call it cooperation with mutual benefits. " (8)

It will be good to clarify the "mutual benefits", now that we know that generalized pollution is making our very existence on the planet more and more problematic. Some "mutual benefits" have been undeniable: the big laboratories have reaped their millions; the big local soybeans (Argentine locals in Argentina) as well. But, how far do the benefits and their mutuality go? To the pockets of large and even small soybeans? Because in exchange for such monetary benefits for the few, the territory, the biodiversity, the society is "paying" with increasingly undeniable losses in quality of life, health and mutuality is nothing but a hoax.

It was very significant an interview that we had, years ago, with Carmen Vicien and Perla Godoy, during the meeting with the leaders of CONABIA, the NATIONAL ADVISORY COMMISSION ON AGRICULTURAL BIOTECHNOLOGY, the public body built to regulate the entry of transgenic foods into the country. Vicien and Godoy strongly emphasized that ‘that entry’ - a literal invasion of transgenics - was not a Copernican turn, far from it; Argentine rural producers are so modern that they only followed a line of development that went through direct sowing and scale production [therefore monocultures, I add] and thus, they easily incorporated transgenic plants, which the interviewees preferred to call “genetically modified organisms. modified ”. To show that it was not something new, they clarified that there was already a work related to biosafety in several Latin American countries such as Argentina, Mexico and other Caribbean countries at the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture. It is enough to listen, in this case to read, the name, to realize that our civil servants of that time ignored the fundamental member of such an institute, the USA The same linguistic manipulation as when speaking of Monsanto they referred to an "international laboratory" : International will be the incidence, but Monsanto is a zealous company that seeks to represent and carry forward the American way of life.

The fragility of the inverted pyramids

I have been, for example, in a town that decades ago had tens of thousands of hectares of fruit trees: in 2008, 2,400 hectares, the rest soybeans. But it is not mere "reassignment of destinies", in itself senseless; many locals implore you not to eat fish ... from Paraná, once a local "delicacy" ... the river is loaded ... with pesticides.
This is everywhere. I have spoken with organic beekeepers, one, in the middle of the “besieged” pampas. For the soybeans: every time the “mosquito” passes by, the mattress of dead bees at the foot of the hives is that high and the fourth between my thumb and index finger opens, about 20 cm. Not one survives. You have to replace "schools" breaking the site ...

GMOs have taken the model to the extreme; So what there is is an agrarian counter-reform underway, which has advanced by steps of seven leagues since the Menemism. "The field", p. ex. In the province of Buenos Aires, it has hundreds of towns where fifteen or twenty years ago hundreds of small agricultural establishments, peasants, in aromatic, chickens, farm, fruit trees, orchards, bees, pigs, sheep or goats, dairy, cereals, legumes, tree plantations, and that with the generalized transgenetization, has left a couple of "producers" who rent the fields to 90% of the residents of the town, who have unified crops even knocking down barbed wire by buying very expensive scale machinery and that, "sweeping" the area with pesticides even ruin the rural production of those who want to persist with more or less traditional crops and food, more or less healthy ...

This brutal concentration and monoculturation of the Argentine countryside, especially visible in the pampas, means not only the loss of biological and food diversity and the brutal expulsion of “surplus” labor, which populates the ever-increasing, urban cordons of misery. Show the face of pollution ...

Only such "conversions" explain that with production every year greater than the previous one (until 2008; now two "new" and negative factors have intervened: the metropolitan stock market crash and the drought), with not only physical but also monetary yields each time older, the country registers so much hunger at the same time.

Agrochemicals in combat

Any motorist with a modicum of memory can recall the number of insects, butterflies, husks that remained on the radiator or windshield on a medium or long-distance trip, and the extremely low mortality that can now be recorded.
It is not because vehicles have been made friendly to the life of minor fauna, obviously, but because these species have been reduced or exterminated by pesticides, cleverly called by their phytosanitary manufacturers ...

GM soybeans were also implanted with a military style that actually accentuates features, as CONABIA officials said, already perceptible in the agrarian structure of the modernized field of Argentine “producers”. The “low flights”, aerial spraying, destroys the lives of small farmers, those who live and work with diverse, traditional or organic family production for local consumption. It is the same method that the Yankee and Colombian air forces use to eradicate drug trafficking, they say; they destroy the peasantry there with a fearsome fungus; fusarium; here with glyphosate. Also fearsome. Toxic. That is leaving sequels.

This military treatment means that "collateral damage" is accepted as if nothing, that is, damage to the human, animal and plant population that is not the precise and sought "target" of the fumigation.

But this aspect, that of the collateral damage of agribusiness, monocultures and transgenics, which had been manifest for years of institutional and social impunity, has begun to reveal itself massively, with the conflict triggered between the rural employers and the government for a few points of tax.

It is still shameful that the public dispute has been about money for half a year, since that fateful announcement against soy, in March 2008, which put the hair on end to all the holders of the soy model, who had been reaping profits unequaled, without ever taking into consideration the line they were leaving.

Agribusiness seeks quick solutions, with a high impact. Especially to the pocket. It is practically inevitable that such a policy punishes life, the vital. Because the living is incredibly sensitive, fragile and tenacious at the same time, and always requires its time. In these last five decades, soybean farmers, in the first place, but not only they, have carried out a silent and mendacious biocide, ruining the biodiversity of ever greater extensions of territory.

Perhaps they use the same philosophy according to which, in dairy, the best milk is the one without bacteria. Ignoring that 99.99% of bacteria are not only not toxic but are also beneficial, living conditions, precisely, for us. And with that serene philosophy they will be proud of having made weeds and vermin disappear, through systematic poisoning in unfathomable dimensions.

But the aftermath begins to be seen by everyone. A doctor, Darío Gianfelici, from Santa Fe who lives in Entre Ríos, took the trouble to prepare an epidemiological lung study looking for two “photographs” of the Argentine countryside: before and after the transgenic soybean. Y aunque le fue retaceada gran cantidad de información (porque muchos hospitales y médicos tienen la precavida costumbre de registrar como causa de muerte “paro cardiorrespiratorio”, que no es sino la consecuencia), presenta datos que no dejan duda sobre la existencia de contaminación por agrotóxicos (9).

No hay peor sordo que… transcribimos un texto extraído de un boletín de la industria de agroquímicos, que tiene la virtud de pronunciar lo que nuestro estilo de vida y nuestro rango educacional nos permite eludir tan a menudo:

“Uno de los problemas a los cuales debemos enfrentar para la promoción de nuestros productos en la India es la actitud de los agricultores ante el hecho de matar. Los pesticidas matan, aunque se trate de insectos minúsculos o invisibles. Se los utiliza para matar. El hecho mismo de matar está considerado anatema para la inmensa mayoría de agricultores, hindúes, jainistas o de otras religiones. Los agricultores son naturalmente generosos, tienden a compartir lo que la tierra les ofrece. No piensan jamás que podrían disfrutar, ellos solos, de los frutos de su trabajo… Matar esas vidas invisibles y desconocidas, aun si viven a costa de lo que ellos producen, les resulta ajeno a su naturaleza… incluso cuando la cosecha ya está madura, el agricultor procura espantar a los pájaros que tratan de comer los frutos, pero no los matan… Los pesticidas tienen un único fin: matar.

"Lleva tiempo persuadir a esta gente de mentalidad simple, acerca de lo necesario que es matar a estas ínfimas criaturas inofensivas y tan vulnerables.” (10)

Contaminación generalizada: ¿quién va a rendir cuentas?

Monsanto sabía lo que tenía entre manos. O no lo sabía. Pero su política siempre fue clara.

Monsanto sabía que había que tranquilizar conciencias para facilitar que el motor del emprendimiento sea la rentabilidad. Robert Farley, ejecutivo monsantiano adopta el papel de perseguido; ser criticado y “defenderse” suele permitir adoptar el papel de víctima y en un segundo momento viene el juicio tranquilizador: “[…] seguirá habiendo críticos, y nosotros debemos seguir defendiendo y promoviendo continuamente esta tecnología. Lo que ha cambiado ahora es que hay diez años de historia. Estos productos se han utilizado de manera global en todo el mundo. No ha habido un solo problema relacionado con la salud humana, la salud animal o la salud del medio ambiente. [sic, sic]” (11)

Destaquemos la contundencia de la frase de don Farley. Esa maravilla de producir venenos… inocuos.

Monsanto tiene todo un staff de prohombres dedicados, por lo visto, a la verdad y al compromiso. Del mismo documental que la cita anterior, transcribimos ahora la “confesión” de Marcos Ordoñez: “trabajar por la alimentación de la gente en equilibrio con el medio ambiente […] cuando uno piensa que una corporación tan grande como Monsanto decide hacer negocios teniendo en cuenta una noción como ésta [hay un cartel enorme a espaldas del disertante… IMAGINE] automáticamente nace un compromiso, un compromiso muy especial porque no es que estamos haciendo un producto de bajo impacto, las cosas a que Monsanto se dedica, las tecnologías que Monsanto desarrolla, pueden tener un impacto muy alto en la vida de todas las personas […].” Tal vez Monsanto Ordóñez cumple con los cánones tan caros a la ética protestante estadounidense de mentir diciendo la verdad y por ello menciona hasta la soga en casa del ahorcado con lo del alto impacto y la responsabilidad… nos recuerda un cuento cuyo autor hemos olvidado que decide matar a su esposa, preservando, claro, su inocencia, para lo cual en un momento ella se queda sola en la glorieta del magnífico jardín de la mansión, porque él la abandona momentáneamente para derribar un árbol. Mientras ella sorbe su té, escucha risueña la voz del marido que le anuncia en voz bien alta que tenga cuidado con el árbol, no sea cosa que le caiga encima, ella percibe el jugueteo de su esposo en un mensaje que es bien distinto a sus escuetas palabras; ella lo conoce lo suficiente y siente que él está jugando con ella… sólo que él no jugaba sino que hacía como qué. Y cuando por fin el árbol aplaste la glorieta con la dama adentro, todos los vecinos que escucharon el estruendo, y antes las palabras de advertencia, no comprenderán cómo ella se demoró tanto en retirarse y el “atribulado” viudo saldrá indemne.

Ordónez nos habla con descaro del impacto de las acciones monsantianas. Pero no estamos en la glorieta. Monsanto lo que vende es veneno.

“Monsanto condenado por “publicidad mentirosa”. En 2007, un tribunal francés de la ciudad de Lyon lo declaró culpable del delito de “publicidad mentirosa”: en las etiquetas y piezas publicitarias de su producto Roundup Ready, Monsanto anunciaba que el herbicida “es totalmente biodegradable” y que su uso deja “el suelo limpio”.

El tribunal no aceptó tales afirmaciones basándose en dictámenes de la Comisión Europea, acerca del glifosato como “tóxico para los organismos acuáticos”, capaz de “provocar efectos nefastos para el ambiente a largo plazo” y ‘cuyas dos principales moléculas se encuentran presentes en […]’ “las aguas superficiales francesas.”

Es significativa la lenidad de la condena. Porque el delito de Monsanto no es informar mal, sino envenenar… pero no debemos olvidar que EE.UU. y la UE sostienen una “santa alianza”.

Para Monsanto, DuPont, AstraZéneca, Novartis, Bayer, de lo que se trata es de externalizar costos. Las transnacionales se llevan contante y sonante por know-how, se llevan producción que van articulando en el mundo hecho góndola que diseñan, dejan millones de dólares “por los servicios prestados” al clan con el que armaron esas fortunas y sobre todo, dejan tierras devastadas y contaminadas. Población, el planeta, afectados. Paga dios.

Como decían las entrevistadas de CONABIA hace ya tanto tiempo, los transgénicos apenas si son novedad. Hace unos años, Sergio Rodríguez hablaba de “una historia nacional en la que predominó una economía agrícola exportadora asentada en la explotación de unos pocos dueños, de grandes extensiones con poca mano de obra […] una cultura apoyada principalmente en la ganancia fácil […]”. Rodríguez hablaba de los albores de la “argentinidad” y registraba -han pasado casi dos siglos- el enorme parecido con el menemato donde, justamente, se arma el sistema de la soja.(12)

Allá por el 2000, CONABIA procuraba atender el destino de los “insectos no blanco”. Con esa jerga las funcionarias designadas durante el menemato se referían a los insectos atacables por un veneno programado para determinada plaga. La frasecilla revela su inconsistencia conceptual: no existe el veneno que ataque “la plaga” y preserve al resto de los insectos; por otra parte, el uso cada vez más masivo de agrotóxicos ha ido revelando que los “no blanco” afectados y/o aniquilados somos mucho más que la plaga o los insectos; desde vegetales hasta humanos.

El transcurso del tiempo nos ha deparado otro “actor” en la modernidad, siempre tan descartado, aunque invocado en los planes: la salud, la salud castigada, humillada, descuidada, despreciada. La salud de los pobres, claro. Y la salud ambiental, que van juntas. Y no logran atenderse en las redes asistenciales de los grandes sojeros, de los ejecutivos de las grandes transnacionales, de los jerarcas de todo pelo y color, públicos y privados …

Como bien explicaba Jorge Rulli en un editorial de los suyos, radiales, en el campo (argentino) hasta la idea de la familia con su rancho, su huerta, y su predio, ha perdido sentido. Porque los sistemas de cultivo, validos de mosquitos y aviones fumigadores rocían y contaminan a tal punto que las primeras víctimas serían los pobladores que mantengan la vieja usanza de vivir “en” el campo. Los agronegocios tiene al productor, bien guarnecido, en la ciudad que despacha a “los campos” a operarios que en cuestión de horas liquiden las tareas que haya que ir haciendo.

El campo es ahora trabajado por “forasteros”. Todos de lejos, nadie que se quede. Salvo “el pobrerío”, que más le cuesta abandonar lo poquísimo que tiene.

El estilo de manejo de los cultivos incluye los niños banderilleros que con tanta justeza denunciaran la investigadora Susana Aparicio y el periodista Carlos del Frade.

¿Son los banderilleros argentinos nuestros niños palestinos arruinados por las balas de la agroindustria en este caso, y de algún modo encarnan a toda una sociedad agredida por el éxito monetario y fácil de la agroindustria?

¿Dónde está el asiento social desde el cual se podrá medir el grado de contaminación, el alcance de los cánceres, de las alergias, de las malformaciones congénitas, de las mutaciones?

¿Lo haremos desde la UBA?, no parecería al menos desde su Facultad de Agronomía, ¿tal vez desde la SAGPyA?, tampoco lo parece por sus antecedentes, ¿desde la CONABIA?, no se conoce casos de escupir para arriba, ¿tal vez desde la CONADIBI?, ¿es que existe acaso?, ¿será el CONICET?… en plena modernidad, mire usted, y tan colonizados…

¿Qué demandas tendrían que afrontar Monsanto, Novartis y en general los grandes anunciadores de Clarín Rural, del suplemento “campero” de La Nación, la retahíla de intoxicadores anunciantes de, por ejemplo, Radio Continental?

¿Y si en lugar de hablar de “personas jurídicas”, esa pícara máquina de irresponsabilidad que ha sabido crear el capitalismo, nos referimos a personas físicas?, ¿quiénes del personal político, técnico, docente, periodístico, de investigación, que han hecho su aporte a la difusión de tanto dolor en tanta población, sobre todo inerme, van a rendir cuentas, cómo y con qué?

¿Quién dará cuenta de haber quimiquizado los “campos de la patria” y con ello, los ríos, las napas, y nuestros cuerpos?

Y somos conscientes que este biocidio generalizado no es exclusivo desde la soja. Es el capital el que así se reproduce. Pero lo general no borra el examen particular; al contrario éste lo encarna.

Luis E. Sabini Fernández Integrante del plantel docente de la Cátedra Libre de Derechos Humanos de la Facultad de Filosofìa y Letras de la Universidad de Buenos Aires, periodista, editor de la revista futuros del planeta, la sociedad y cada uno.


1. Significativamente, la distinción entre estos términos ha sido motivo de arduos debates intelectuales en EE.UU., particularmente tras el colapso soviético (para una introdución, véase Herbert Schiller, “Hacia un nuevo siglo de imperialismo norteamericano, Cuadernos de Marcha, Montevideo, no 149, abril 1999).

2. Curso de posgrado de FLACSO, 2002, “Ambiente, economía, sociedad”.

3. Frances Moore Lappé, Food First, Houghton Mifflin, Boston, 1977, cap. 40. Esta cita y las siguientes del mismo origen provienen de la traducción francesa, L’industrie de la faim, Éditions L’Étincelle, Quebec, 1978.

4. Entrevista que tradujimos y editamos en futuros, no 6, verano-otoño 2004.

5. Para un análisis del significado real de esa “ayuda”, véase Hernán Pérez Zapata, “Los subsidios agrícolas”,carta a El Mundo, Medellín, que publicamos en futuros no 4, verano 2002-2003; mi “El polpotismo invertido del capital verde”, futuros no 8, invierno 2005 y con el mismo nombre en

6. Vior, ob. cit.

7. Véanse la entrevista a Mohamed Habib, “El gobierno cayó en la celada de los transgénicos”, futuros, no 6, verano-otoño 2004 y Miguel Altieri y Walter Pengue, “Soja transgénica en América Latina: maquinaria de hambre y devastación socio-ecológica”, futuros, no 9, otoño-invierno 2006. Está también en

8. Roy Vicker, en el Wall Street Journal, s/f, cit. p. The Hungry World (nosotros recogemos la cita de F. Moore Lappé, ob. cit., final del cap. 20) .

9. Véase “El impacto del monocultivo de soja y los agroquímicos sobre la salud”, futuros, no 12, verano 2008-2009). También está en internet.

10. Pesticides, periódico de la industria india de pesticidas, s/f, cit. F. cit., final cap. 9.

11. Alocución filmada y bajada del documental Reverdecer, chaya comunicación cooperativa, c:a 2006.

12. “¿Menem fue? ¿Qué fue Menem?”, Página 12, 18/5/2003.

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