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Landless Workers Movement to tour USA

(Monday, July 14, 2003 -- CropChoice news) -- From a news release.

Leaders from Brazil’s Landless Workers Movement (MST), along with 7 Brazilian congressional representatives, will be visiting the United States July 28 to August 4 to connect with North America farmers, activists and legislators.

As you know, biotech mega corporation Monsanto sponsored a tour of a Brazilian legislators, scientists and government “advisors” from June 14-24. The delegation visited Monsanto and other biotech industry representatives, as well as USDA, EPA and FDA officials. The delegation’s overriding objective was to “persuade” Brazil to alter its Genetically Modified Organism (GMO) policy. The tour came on the heels of Monsanto’s announcement that it would seek legal measures to charge Brazilian farmers for allegedly infringing on the corporation’s intellectual property rights.

In response to the Monsanto sponsored delegation, the MST is organizing a “Counter Tour” to link up with North American farmers, activist, and lawmakers, as well as acquire the necessary legal and scientific tools to combat GMOs in Brazil.

Vibrant Brazilian social movements, together with the election of President Luis Ignácio “Lula” da Silva, make Brazil a determining factor in the future of both GMOs and Free Trade.

This counter tour presents a unique opportunity to fortify continental activist networks and throwback the advance of free trade and corporate agribusiness.

The 1 million strong MST, best known for its role in spearheading the fight for agrarian reform, is also leading the charge against GMOs and the Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA). For example, the MST has invaded and occupied 3 Monsanto transgenic field trials this year alone, looking to convert them to agro-ecological family farms.

The MST also played a key role in the Brazilian national plebiscite that turned out over 10 million votes against the FTAA.


Brazil currently has a moratorium on GMOs. And as the second largest soy producer in the world, as well as primary source of GM-Free soy, Brazil is competing for the United States’ soy export market, particularly the European Union. As a result, Brazil has come under the wrath of both the US and biotech multinationals like Monsanto.

The survival of Monsanto depends largely on Brazil’s adoption of GMO crops. Without access to Brazil’s massive agriculture powerhouse economy, Monsanto’s advance of GMO patented technology could grind to a halt.

Monsanto has gone so far as to accuse Brazilian farmers of “biopiracy,” for allegedly stealing their patented seeds.

Critics of GMOs in Brazil, including the MST, contend that the approval of GMOs will create greater land concentration, threaten food security and undermine farmers rights. The GMO experience in the United States and Canada provides ample enough evidence.

If you would like more information or want to get involve in the Counter Tour, please contact Ryan Zinn of the Organic Consumers Association at ryan@organicconsumers.org or 714-943-1568.

For more information on the MST, visit (www.mstbrazil.org) or FMST, c/o Global Exchange, 2017 Mission Street, #303, San Francisco, California 94110 (415) 255- 0795.

The Counter Tour is sponsored by the Organic Consumers Association (OCA),

Friends of the MST, Food First, Ag Missions and the Genetic Engineering Action Network (GEAN).