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With Soy No Hay Alba

With Soy No Hay Alba

By Javiera Rulli

WITH SOY THERE IS NO ALBA is a warning for Venezuela about the dangers that current Argentine agriculture implies. It is also the cry of those excluded from agriculture; It is a claim for help for Chávez whom we ask to intercede with our governments

The Peoples' Summit in Mar del Plata, Argentina, closed with President Chávez's speech at the World Cup stadium on November 4. A multitude of social movements were present at that event, highlighted by a wide variety of banners. Most of the banners identified the groups or expressed the total rejection of the FTAA. We, a group of comrades from Buenos Aires and Montevideo from different organizations, displayed, instead, a banner without proper identification and with the slogan: WITH SOY THERE IS NO ALBA. We did it, not without a certain fear of being intimidated by not following the official spirit of the act, which was clearly anti-imperialist in the classic sense of the left. However, the reaction was positive, the almost poetic phrase linking ALBA with soy or better, with non-soy, made many people reflect on the issue.


Later it came to us that many Argentine spectators interpreted it as with soy there is no tomorrow. In Argentina the word soy already has a negative context for most people; it is associated with deforestation, desertification, pollution, evictions of peasants and even the rise in prices of basic foods. Soy is positive only for the Government and for banks and agribusinesses since it is useful for them to continue increasing their GDP rates and macroeconomic policies, which do not contemplate how, while they grow more and more, slums, the unemployment and precarious work.

WITH SOY THERE IS NO ALBAWhen we thought about it and turned it into a huge banner, we were referring directly to the impossibility of coexistence of agribusiness and transgenics in the proposed Bolivarian Alternative for the Americas. ALBA opposes the FTAA, ALBA is a popular alternative that seeks to create integration with a base of social justice. On the other hand, the FTAA is a capital integration and free market agreement oriented and designed for the benefit of large corporations. So, ALBA cannot contain the commodification of life and the instruments of corporate domination in agriculture that represent agribusiness, biotechnology and the patenting of living organisms that neoliberalism entails and FTA agreements (Free Trade Treaties) such like the FTAA.

Our intention was to bring this conviction to President Chávez, noting that the framework of the Bolivarian Alternative for the Americas should not include the industrial monocultures of transgenics that cause rural depopulation, poverty and violence, a situation that the peoples of Brazil, Argentina are experiencing and Paraguay. So strong was our purpose to get this message across that we had produced an 8-meter-long banner, and during the two hours that Chávez spoke, we dedicated ourselves to circulate through different points of the field to catch his attention. We endured rain and winds making contortions to keep up our message that threatened to carry us flying like a hang glider.

We saw the need to take this action in the stadium, in response to the recently signed agreement between Chávez and Kirchner to exchange diesel for agricultural technology, a bilateral agreement for 200 million dollars. The agreement stipulates the import of up to 5 million barrels of Venezuelan diesel "to be used in harvesting crops." Chávez explained. in exchange for an Argentine export to the Venezuelan Ministry of Agriculture of 114 million dollars for the supply of agricultural machinery and the technical assistance of personnel from INTA (National Institute of Agricultural Technology of Argentina).


This exchange, presented as proof of brotherhood between the two countries, hides that Argentina must import diesel because the Spanish oil company Repsol-YPF monopolizes Argentine production. Repsol exports crude oil and maintains its disposition not to manufacture diesel, which YPF always did (when it was state-owned) at a price promoted for agricultural work.

Chávez linked the bilateral agreement with the Bolivarian Alternative for the Americas, ALBA. " This is part of ALBA: technology in exchange for diesel ”, Chávez summarized the day he signed the agreement. He also said that the agreement will allow agricultural areas of Venezuela to transfer all technology " to get to have laboratories like these, which were saved from the privatization wave[1]. “ Argentina is generously strategic", Said Chávez after qualifying as" very positive " the incorporation of Argentine technology to your country. However, we fear that by importing Argentine agricultural machinery and Argentine INTA technicians, Venezuela could thwart the chances of a Agrarian Reform with Food Sovereignty, that is, it is based on the production of healthy food and local development.

Venezuela opens up as a great potential market for Argentine technicians. According to an INTA report carried out in Venezuela in September of this year, “all of Venezuela has 2000 hectares of soybeans. Soybeans will tend to increase its planting area in the coming years in a large agricultural area of ​​Venezuela. At the same time, they plan to install oil companies and also, in addition, they will restart the sowing and development of sunflower cultivation ”. Venezuelan agriculture represents less than 10% of GDP, it only uses 5% of arable land, which makes it very desirable for agribusinesses seeking "new territories." [2]

In this way, the incorporation of “Argentine” technology could open the door to MONSANTO and other biotechnology corporations that are characterized by imposing dependence on their transgenic seeds and their inputs; pesticides and fertilizers. Likewise, RR soy, Roundup Ready, patented by Monsanto, could reach Venezuela. Just as Argentina was the aircraft carrier to invade with MONSANTO transgenics to Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay and Bolivia, it could now be covertly enabling the smuggling of Maradona soybeans, simultaneously with coarse grain direct sowing machinery suitable for corn, beans and soybeans.

With the banner WITH SOY THERE IS NO ALBA We wanted to contribute our testimony to the project of integration of the peoples that ALBA is proposing to us. In Argentina, 45% of our agricultural area is covered by transgenic soy monocultures. The expansion of this monoculture has caused rural depopulation and the loss of regional economies. Soy is advancing causing deforestation and causing a wave of violence and evictions in rural communities and contamination of people with pesticides. In Paraguay, transgenic soy has resulted in the militarization of the countryside, it is soldiers who watch the soybeans and shoot at the peasants when they try to stop the spraying with pesticides. Throughout the southern cone, the expansion of soy has resulted in the criminalization of the peasant struggle, causing the death of hundreds of peasants, indicting thousands and condemning the communities with malformations, abortions, and respiratory diseases.

WITH SOY THERE IS NO ALBA It is a warning to Venezuela about the dangers that current Argentine agriculture implies. It is also the cry of those excluded from agriculture; It is a claim for help for Chávez whom we ask to intercede with our governments so that they stop supporting a model of agriculture without farmers and turn our countries into soy republics dependent on transnational corporations such as MONSANTO and CARGILL. www.EcoPortal.net

* Rural Reflection Group

[1] Chávez: changed diesel for agricultural machinery -November 7, 2005- CityEconomika.com
[2] Beware of Maradona Soy! The Argentine countryside in Venezuela
By Fernando Glenza * https://www.ecoportal.net/content/view/full/52108


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