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- St. Louis Journal: Monsanto hoax site should be investigated, company says
- Flickr Photo Set: Sin Maíz No Hay Vida
- Beyond the Rows: Website Hoax
This is a translation of a letter sent by Manuel J. Bravo Pereyra, President and General Director of Monsanto Latinoamérica Norte, to Enrique Martínez y Martínez of the Mexican Secretary of Agriculture, on the day the fake press releases were sent. The original letter is here.
México, Mexico City, 14th of August
Lic. Enrique Martínez y Martínez
Secretary of Agriculture, Livestock, Rural Development, Fish, and Food (SAGARPA)
In addition to sending you cordial regards, I would like to inform you that false information about our company was disseminated today through a fake website announcing that “Mexico Grants Monsanto Approval To Plant Large-Scale GM Corn Fields.”
In the context of this reprehensible action, I would like to reiterate that Monsanto Company and Monsanto Latinoamérica Norte categorically reject the authorship of the statement circulated on the internet; any information attributed to the company lacks veracity and represents an intent to create an adverse environment in the government as well as in the company during the process of consideration that your branch of government is currently undertaking.
In Monsanto we are conscious of the responsibility of informing the public about this and other topics in a true and opportune way. Nevertheless, I wish to assure you that all of us at Monsanto do understand the importance of information remaining confidential, and based on a message that has been developed in accordance with the requirements and demands of the Federal Government and each of the Secretariats that safeguard the interests of Mexican land.
Thus I want to specify that the only official global web page of the company is www.monsanto.com. Any information presented elsewhere in the name of the company is totally false.
I want to reiterate our promise to continue collaborating with the authorities in the process of obtaining the authorization that will allow us to use these seeds commercially.
I take advantage of this occasion to send you an affectionate greeting in the name of all of us at Monsanto.
Engineer Manuel J. Bravo Pereyra
President and Director General
Monsanto Latinoamérica Norte
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Sept. 10, 2013
Monsanto's Panicky Letter to Mexican Government
Leak reveals cozy corporate-government relationship
In response to a fake press release by activists last month, it has been revealed that the President of Monsanto Mexico wrote a lengthy email to the head of Mexico's Agriculture ministry, SAGARPA, in which he assured the minister that "all of us at Monsanto do understand the importance of information remaining confidential, and based on a message that has been developed in accordance with the requirements and demands of the Federal Government and each of the Secretariats that safeguard the interests of Mexican land."
The fake Monsanto release, emailed to hundreds of journalists by an activist group named Sin Maíz No Hay Vida, working together with the Yes Lab, announced that the company had received the Mexican government's authorization to plant 440,000 hectares of patented, genetically modified corn in Mexico—the first time GM corn will have been planted on a large commercial scale in Mexico. Monsanto is indeed applying to the government for the authorization, but SAGARPA is still considering whether to approve it. The consequences of approval, scientists and activists believe, would be dire, and the fake release was intended as a warning for those concerned about Mexico's future.
In the leaked letter (journalists may contact the real Monsanto México or SAGARPA for confirmation), the President of Monsanto Latinoamérica Norte, Manuel J. Bravo Pereyra, condemns the activists for their "reprehensible" action, and promises the head of SAGARPA that all "confidential information" will be developed in cahoots with the government. Bravo Pereyra closes by “reiterat[ing] our promise to continue collaborating with the authorities in the process of obtaining the authorization that will allow us to use these seeds commercially,” and then blows the minister a kiss in the form of “an affectionate greeting in the name of all of us at Monsanto.”
It was already clear before this leak surfaced that the action had struck a nerve with the company. On Twitter, Monsanto lambasted anyone who shared the story. On their company blog, they ungrammatically but lengthily denounced the hoax. And behind closed doors, Bravo Pereyra sent the groveling letter to the man who is currently deciding whether Monsanto should be allowed to monopolize corn.
Please visit the Yes Lab for full text and translation of the letter, and to learn more about mobilizations against Monsanto.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 14, 2013
Monsanto Denounces "Activists" For Hoax Release
Earlier today a fraudulent press release was issued alleging that Monsanto had received a permit to plant 440,000 hectares of GM corn in Northern Mexico. While Monsanto does expect to receive such a permit in the near future, one has not yet been issued.
The release was the work of a group of international students and activists calling themselves "Sin Maíz No Hay Vida" ("Without Corn There Is No Life"). Besides spreading misinformation about the permit, the group's release falsely announced a digital repository of Mexican customs allegedly endangered by GM corn. They also announced a fictitious Monsanto "vault" to store all the native varieties of corn that GM varieties would supposedly render unviable.
"The action of the group is fundamentally misleading," said Janet M. Holloway, Chief of Community Relations for Monsanto. "The initiatives they put forth are unfeasible, and their list of demands is peppered with hyperbolic buzzwords like 'sustainability,' 'culture,' and 'biodiversity.'"
"Only ecologists prioritize biodiversity over real-world concerns," said Dr. Robert T. Fraley, who oversees Monsanto's integrated crop and seed agribusiness technology and research worldwide. "Commercial farmers know that biodiversity means having to battle weeds and insects. That means human labor, and human labor means costs and time that could be spent otherwise."
"Monsanto is committed to helping commercial farmers transform their land into the most economically sustainable product possible,” said Fraley. “With Monsanto's GM corn, no longer will nature’s invasive biodiversity diminish the economic returns of our customers."
"The very name of the activists' group shows where they're wrong," said Holloway. "In many parts of the world, there is no corn, yet life exists everywhere. And in any case, Monsanto is dedicated to increasing available corn supplies."
Extensive research and experience confirm that transgenic technology is not destructive, but rather judiciously adds new species to an already abundant bioscape. "We celebrate the cultural and biological heritage of Mexico, but the production of real wealth requires that people be open to new technologies, no matter how significantly they break from the past," said Fraley.
"There is a vast profusion of corn species in Mexico, most of which have little or no commercial viability," added Fraley. "Although we celebrate this cultural and biological heritage, the production of real wealth requires that people be open to new technologies, no matter how significantly they break from the past."
About Monsanto Company
Monsanto Company is a leading global provider of technology-based solutions and agricultural products that improve farm productivity and food quality. Monsanto remains focused on enabling both small-holder and large-scale farmers to produce more from their land while conserving more of our world's natural resources such as water and energy. To learn more about our business and our commitments, please visit: www.monsanto.com. Follow our business on Twitter® at www.twitter.com/MonsantoCo, on the company blog, Beyond the Rows® at www.monsantoblog.com, or subscribe to our News Release RSS Feed.
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SOURCE Monsanto Company
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 14, 2013
Mexico Grants Monsanto Approval To Plant Large-Scale GM Corn Fields
Company Addresses Opponents' Concerns With Museum, Seed Vault Initiatives
MEXICO CITY (Aug 14, 2013): The planting of genetically modified (GM) corn fields on a large commercial scale has been approved by the Mexican Secretariat of Agriculture (SAGARPA). The permit allows the planting of 440,000 hectares of three varieties of GM corn (MON-89034-3, MON-00603-6 and MON-88017-3) in the states of Chihuahua, Coahuila and Durango. This is the first time GM corn will have been planted on a large commercial scale in Mexico.
"We are very grateful to the Mexican government for the precautionary measures it has instituted and the seriousness with which it enforces them," said Manuel Bravo, Presidente and Director of Monsanto Mexico. "We wish to thank those responsible for this decision, in particular the President of the Republic, Lic. Enrique Peña Nieto; Enrique Martínez y Martínez of SAGARPA; as well as all the government institutions that are part of the Intersecretarial Commission on the Biosecurity of Genetically Modified Organisms (CIBIOGEM)." (Refer to full list below.)
"Profound steps forward are always accompanied by concerns," noted Gerald A. Steiner, Monsanto's Vice President for Sustainability and Corporate Affairs. "This is natural, and it is natural that we would make every effort to address those concerns. We are proud of our cultural and scientific initiatives in this respect."
One such initiative is the National Seed Vault (Bóveda Nacional de Semillas, BNS), whose charter is to safeguard the 246 native Mexican corn strains from ever being fully lost. The BNS will also include a Maize Varieties Tasting Center (Centro de Degustación de Variedades de Maíz, CDVM), where people can sample many varieties of native corn, as well as 30 varieties of GM corn. The BNS will also make native varieties available to environmental education and preservation groups in Mexico and elsewhere, as well as to eco-gastronomy chefs worldwide.
"The BNS is a great solution to concerns about the contamination of native strains," said a statement by the Mexican Association of Concerned Scientists, a group formed in 2011 in order to address concerns about the distribution of biotechnology in Mexico. "It guarantees that our rich agricultural patrimony will survive for all time."
Additionally, Monsanto is funding the Codex Mexico (Codice México), a digital archive preserving the vast wealth of Mexican culture for centuries to come.
"The Codex Mexico is a visionary initiative that will allow future generations of children to know far more about our lives today than we know of our pre-Columbian ancestors'," noted forensic anthropologist Marcelo Rodríguez Gutiérrez. "Never again will the wealth of this region's culture be lost as social conditions change."
August 14 marks the traditional Mexican birthday of corn. "Monsanto is honored to inaugurate a revolutionary new era in the 4500-year history of Mexican corn," said Bravo. "Even as we preserve this rich history, we will be able to provide many farmers the opportunity to dramatically increase their industrial profitability."
About Monsanto Company
Monsanto Company is a leading global provider of technology-based solutions and agricultural products that improve farm productivity. For their role in making this decision a reality, Monsanto wishes to thank the President of the Republic, Lic. Enrique Peña Nieto, as well as all members of the Intersecretarial Commission on the Biosecurity of Genetically Modified Organisms (CIBIOGEM), including: Enrique Martínez y Martínez of the Secretariat of Agriculture, Livestock, Rural Development, Fisheries and Food (SAGARPA); Juan José Guerra Abud of the Secretariat of Environment and Natural Resources of Mexico (SEMARNAT); Lic. Emilio Chuayffet Chemor, of the Secretariat of Public Education; Dr. Mercedes Juan López of the Secretariat of Health; Enrique Cabrero Mendoza Director of the National Council on Science and Technology (CONACYT); Luis Videgaray Caso of the Secretariat of Finance and Public Credit; Ildefonso Guajardo Villarreal of the Secretariat of Economy; and José Sarukhán Kermez Rector of the National Autonomus University Of Mexico (UNAM) and Coordinator of the National Commission for Knowledge and Use of Biodiversity (CONABIO).
About the National Seed Vault
The National Seed Vault (Bóveda Nacional de Semillas, BNS) will begin collecting seeds in 2014. The Tasting Center (Centro de Degustación de Variedades de Maíz, CDVM) is slated to be open to the public later that year. Environmental education groups and eco-gastronomy chefs interested in acquiring native strains may submit applications directly to Monsanto.
About the Digital Codex of Mexican Customs
The Digital Codex of Mexican Customs (Códice Digital de Costumbres Mexicanos, CDCM) is a currently digital-only repository of records of Mexican culture. It is called "Codex" to recall the Mayan manuscripts, thousands in number, that were irretrievably lost during the Conquest of the 15th and 16th centuries. Plans are underway to expand the Codex from a purely digital affair into a brick-and-mortar museum. Photographers may submit their work to the CDCM by visiting Monsanto's CDCM web page.
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