By Graciela Vizcay Gómez
Therefore there was no controversy or conflicting ideas, despite this, perhaps, and still with errors, it was a kick, a beginning in the search for a rapprochement between producers, control agencies and the health sector.
Each sector must recognize its role and responsibilities and expose the plot of collusion, which seeks to deny the existence of the hundreds of people affected and killed by pesticides in Paraguay.
Insfrán, is one of the most important precursors of this awakening in the students the desire to investigate the reason for certain pathologies, coming from the soybean cultivation areas, and together with Dr. Joel Holden Filártiga, the first to report the 37 cases of folidol poisonings of peasants that he treated in his clinic, decades ago. An extensive compilation can be read in his book “Bio-food War-Biotechnological War. Soy projectile "
At the opening of the symposium, Filártiga paid tribute to Dr. Andrés Carrasco and asked those present for a minute of silence. Carrasco was "practically a martyr for the investigation of that great murderer of humanity that is the herbicide glyphosate," he said excitedly. “I had the pleasure of meeting him on his two visits to the country. Surprisingly we learned of his death and it is not the first time that scientists have died unexpectedly, there is also the case of our beloved Omar Palau ”referring to the Paraguayan sociologist, one of the few who identified with the needs of the peasantry. "The Carrasco thing was not a gratuitous fight, it was a desperate reaction that led him to warn the country and the world that the herbicide most used in agriculture had harmful effects on vertebrates," he added, recalling the study method and the latest phrases of the Argentine scientist, to conclude by reading some letters that I wrote for that occasion, at his express request, weeks before traveling to accompany him at the symposium.
The gross error on the part of the exhibitors came from the hand of Dr. Miguel Zacarías, head of the chair of toxicology and pharmacology. He referred to the bad education that exists in the peasants, regarding the use of pesticides, but forgot about the gross mistakes in the large soy plantations. "The dose makes the poison," he said, paraphrasing Paracelsus, a wrong and obsolete phrase. Inspired by this principle, the regulatory agencies imposed the “acceptable daily intake” (ADI), a dose of poison that according to them we can ingest without getting sick. As a toxicologist, this mistake is unforgivable, especially with the position he occupies and in front of the students.
But it was not the only one. Dr. Milagros Vargas Peña showed cases of congenital heart disease from a monitoring for a year in pediatric cardiology at the Hospital de Clínicas, and concluded that "there are not enough elements to associate them with fumigations." Once again I was able to observe the lack of sufficient commitment in the face of the organic obstacles that exist in UNA regarding this issue. It is not understood how this professional, did not investigate the extensive bibliography on the subject that exists since 1999 or more, where this proven relationship was already being discussed. Such is the case of the work of Dr. Christopher A. Loffredo: "Association of Transposition of the Great Arteries in Infants with Maternal Exposures to Herbicides and Rodenticides" of the Department of Epidemiology and Preventive Medicine of the University of Maryland, endorsed by another specialist in heart disease , the researcher and professor emeritus of that university, Dr. Charlotte Ferencz and by the National Institute of the Heart, Lungs and Blood.
Nor were we able to see the research papers of the students that they were supposed to present at the symposium. They did not take place in their own home, where pseudo-environmentalists moved like a fish in water, and infused science overshadowed knowledge.
On the second day of the symposium, the Jesuit priest Guillermo "Lalo" Lebron, a biologist specializing in agroecology, asked to speak, quoting an Argentine agronomist Edgardo Annone, who, according to his words, stated that: "in Argentina it is known how many thousands of deaths there were in the dirty war, but no one will ever know how many deaths we agronomists have caused with these wrong methods of producing ”and added that the agrarian students are not taught, who have the agroecology subject as an elective and that they can produce without polluting.
Another intervention that won the applause was that of Hugo Céspedes, a teacher in the Los Naranjos neighborhood. “Simple,” he said, “you can't talk about GMOs, you can't talk about pesticides without talking about the effects on humans. I am a victim of pesticides here 10 km from the capital in Ñemby. For her part, Dr. Stella Benitez Leites presented here a study with the children affected by living next to the Chemtec company and among those children is my daughter ”. “An hour ago,” he reproached, “I am raising my hand to speak and demonstrate in front of you that there are many people who can demonstrate the effects on human health. I am affected, my daughters, my people, my neighborhood are victims of these poisons and of this productive model, a criminal model that they protect and promote in the way they act. Just as I know that the DEA promotes the fumigation of illicit crops with glyphosate and other poisons in rural areas, and I know because I was a Senave official. I know because I have listened to the complaints of the affected people. My only question to the exhibitors is whether these GMOs can be called food, if these "events" are seeds, which "eventually can kill you", "eventually cause damage", "eventually affect health". Now if you want to see the effects of the poisons right here in the UNA Clinic Hospital, a 20-year-old named Darío Cabral, from Lima, San Pedro, is hospitalized, affected by chemicals, the water well in that area it is in the middle of soybeans. He has liver damage, scalded skin syndrome. " reported. And he concluded: "Please doctors and scientists, be honest and do not come here to appear on a cardboard, be committed to human health." No one answered his question. Also known as Ritter's disease, it is rare in adults, but it can affect people with kidney failure and immunodeficiency and these can be caused by pesticides.
Dr. John Fagan, the luxury speaker on the day, a scientist from Cornell University, asked to speak and said he was “frustrated with everything we discussed here today, and I want to tell the technology students that I understand your frustration. 20 years ago I was sitting in his place and I was excited in a seminar, because I saw a great potential that this technology offered, but after many years I understood the consequences and the unexpected effects that it produces ”.
The embarrassment of the event was undoubtedly the permission of the organizers, who gave rise to opportunistic NGOs, whose presence was much more noticeable on Friday, handling microphones and agreeing who in the public could intervene and who could not. Members of Alter Vida, Serpaj and other known pseudo-activists were seen. The height of shamelessness was located at the door of the Aula Magna, where the talk was taking place; a table with materials and books that Base Is sold to the candid public, the same behavior of the previous night in another meeting organized at the Catholic University, under the auspices of the Student Center of the Faculty of Philosophy and Human Sciences, where taking advantage of the bargain and with their mobile stall, they took the exhibitors making them speak “two for one”.
Diakonia's international support for the meeting, whose object is the most vulnerable sectors, was unsuccessful since the least there were at the symposium were victims, peasants or members of indigenous communities. On Friday without blushing, the theater curtain was lowered. The work ended up being a puppet show, where there were plenty of puppets, but acrobatics were lacking, and above all balance.
Argentine Association of Environmental Journalists