SEASON 01: EPISODE 05

Made of Corn

When genetically modified corn was found in the highlands of Mexico, Indigenous campesino groups took to the streets to protect their cultural heritage, setting off a 20-year legal saga. Part two of our series on genetically modified maize.

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Made of Corn

Guests

Neon Cruz farms corn as well as coffee and sugar cane in the area round Santa Gertrudis.

Carlos Enriquez and his son farm multiple milpas around Santa Gertrudis.

Aldo Gonzalez is an Indigenous rights and maize activist with the Union of Organizations of the Sierra Juarez of Oaxaca (UNOSJO).

Carlos Hernandez has been farming in Oaxaca’s Sierra Juarez for more than 50 years and works on Indigenous rights and corn issues with UNOSJO.

Margarito Hernandez Sebastian has been farming in Oaxaca’s Sierra Juarez for more than 30 years.

Pablo Uribe Malagamba
is an environmental lawyer and founding partner of the law firm Asesoria Juridica Ambiental in Mexico City.

Veronica Villa is the program director for ETC Group Mexico.

David Quist is formerly of the Arctic University of Norway, and now runs Hrímnir ramen in Oslo

KEY REFERENCES

Acedo, Alfredo. Monsanto Uses Latest Food Crisis to Push Transgenic Corn in Mexico. Institute for Policy Studies, Washington D.C. April 14, 2011

Agapito-Tenfen, Sarah et al. “Transgene flow in Mexican maize revisited: Socio-biological analysis across two contrasting farmer communities and seed management systems.” Ecology and evolution vol. 7,22 9461-9472. 11 Oct. 2017, doi:10.1002/ece3.3415

Animal Politico. “Revocan permiso para soya genéticamente modificada” December 24, 2017

Barta,  A. et al. “Transgénicos, ¿quién los necesita?” Grupo Parlamentario del PRD en la LIX Legislatura de la Cámara de Diputados del Congreso de la Unión Av. Congreso de la Unión, núm. 66 Col. El Parque 15969 México, D.F. February 2005.

Becker, Elizabeth. “U.S. Corn Subsidies Said to Damage Mexico”. New York Times August 27, 2003

Bernstein, Steven.  “Liberal Environmentalism and Global Environmental Governance”, Global Environmental Politics, 2,3 (2002): 12.

Boehmer Christiansen,  Sonja. “The Precautionary Principle in Germany: Enabling Government”, in O’Riordan, T. and J. Cameron eds. Interpreting the Precautionary Principle, 1994.

Burns, Melinda. “The DNA of Corn: Mexican Peasants VS. Techno-Science”. Pacific Standard. June 26, 2008

Carroll, Sean B. “Tracking the Ancestry of Corn Back 9,000 Years.” New York Times. May 24, 2010

Commission for Environmental Cooperation Secretariat Report. Maize and Biodiversity: The Effects of Transgenic Maize in Mexico. 2004 ISBN 2-923358-00-7

Del Castillo, Raquel. “De quéva la nueva ley que protege al maíz nativo?” El Universal. April 25, 2020

Dalton, R. Mexico's transgenic maize under fire. Nature 462, 404 (2009). https://doi.org/10.1038/462404a

EFE, “Tribunal mantiene suspensión para siembra de maíz transgénico en  México”. November 25, 2017.

Enciso, Angélica.Levantan moratoria de facto a la siembra de maíz transgénico, advierte Greenpeace. La Jornada. November 12, 2003

Enciso, Angélica and Castillo, Gustavo. “Rechaza la SCJN un amparo de Monsanto sobre maíz transgénico”. La Jornada.  May 12, 2017, p. 38

ETC Group, “Conquering Nature ...and Sidestepping the Debate over Biotech and Biodiversity”. April 3, 2002

Exposición Sin maíz no hay país. 2003. Museo Nacional de Culturas Populares (MNCP), Mexico City.  Video. 32:40 minutes.

Flores, Efren.  México se inundó en 30 años con transgénicos de monopolios, y hoy sólo 4 estados están “libres”. SinEmbargo. March 5, 2018

Forson, P.W. and Counihan, C. Taking Food Public: Redefining Foodways in a Changing World. Routledge, 2013

Ford Runge, C and Jackson, Lee Ann. “Labeling, Trade and Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs): A Proposed Solution”. Working Paper WP99-4, Center for International Food and Agricultural Policy, University of Minnesota. November 1999

Foyer, Jean  and  Bonneuil,  Christophe. Mexican Biosafety as a “performance of seriousness”: Distancing and the Transgenic “contamination” of Mexican Maize. 2014. Ffhalshs-01092208f

Garcia Ruiz, Mayra Teresa.  Knapp,  Aaron N. & Garcia-Ruiz Hernan (2018) Profile of genetically modified plants authorized in Mexico, GM Crops & Food, 9:3, 152-168, DOI: 10.1080/21645698.2018.1507601

Government of Mexico. LEY DE BIOSEGURIDAD DE ORGANISMOS GENÉTICAMENTE MODIFICADOS. Nov 18, 2005. And REGLAMENTO DE LA LEY DE BIOSEGURIDAD DE ORGANISMOS GENÉTICAMENTE MODIFICADOS, 06-03-09

Government of Mexico, Presidential Decree [Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador]. DECRETO por el que se expide la Ley Federal para el Fomento y Protección del Maíz Nativo. April 13, 2020 http://dof.gob.mx/nota_detalle.php?codigo=5591534&fecha=13/04/2020

GRAIN. “Mexico: The dangers of industrial corn and its processed edible products”. March 20, 2018

Greenpeace Mexico. VIdeo. “Acción desde el Senado: Maíz transgénico, traición a la Patria.” 25 Apr 2013

E. González-Ortega, A. Piñeyro-Nelson, E. Gómez-Hernández, E. Monterrubio-Vázquez, M. Arleo, J. Dávila-Velderrain, C. Martínez-Debat & E.R. Álvarez-Buylla (2017): Pervasive presence of transgenes and glyphosate in maize-derived food in Mexico, Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems, DOI: 10.1080/21683565.2017.1372841

Government of Mexico. Reglamento de la ley de bioseguridad de organismos genéticamente modificados. March 19, 2008.  Capitulo I, Artículo II, XI and Capitulo II, Articulo IX, IV

KARI/ CIMMYT IRMA Project. “Insect Resistant Maize for Africa (IRMA) Project Annual Report 2002.” IRMA Project Document No. 10. P 74

Massieu Trigo, Yolanda. “Cultivos y alimentos transgénicos en México. El debate, los actores y las fuerzas sociopolíticas.” Argumentos (Méx.) vol.22 no.59 México ene./abr. 2009. ISSN 0187-5795
http://www.scielo.org.mx/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0187-57952009000100008

Mercer, K.L., Wainwright, J., 2008. Gene flow from transgenic maize to landraces in Mexico: an analysis. Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment 123, 109–115.

Moreno-Sáenz, Lucero Ivone, González-Andrade, Salvador, & Matus-Gardea, Jaime Arturo. (2016). Dependencia de México a las importaciones de maíz en la era del TLCAN. Revista mexicana de ciencias agrícolas, 7(1), 115-126. Recuperado en 12 de mayo de 2020

Munoz Rubio, Julio. Alimentos transgénicos: Ciencia, ambiente y mercado: Un debate abierto. Siglo XXI, 2004 M10 30. ISBN 968-23-2544-7

Nájar, Alberto. “Polémica por maíz transgénico en México.” BBC World. October 23, 2009

O’Leary, Matthew. “Maize: From Mexico to the world” CIMMYT, International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center. May 20, 2016

Ortega-Villegas, María N., Zizumbo-Villarreal, Lilia, Monterroso-Salvatierra, Neptalí, & Hernández-Lara, Oliver G.. (2018). Leyes de semillas y maíz transgénico. Análisis desde la co-producción entre ciencia y regímenes económico-políticos en México. Agricultura, sociedad y desarrollo, 15(3), 413-442. 

Oxfam. Dumping Without Borders: How US agricultural policies are destroying the livelihoods of Mexican corn farmers. Briefing paper. August 2003

Percival,  Robert V. Who's Afraid of the Precautionary Principle?, Pace Envtl. L. Rev. 21 (2006). 

Pineyro-Nelson, A. et al. 2009. Transgenes in Mexican maize: molecular evidence and methodological considerations for GMO detection in landrace populations. Molecular Ecology, 18(4), pp.750-761. 

Quist, David. and Ignacio H. Chapela. Transgenic DNA introgressed into traditional maize landraces in Oaxaca, Mexico, Nature, 414 (November 2001):541-543.

Ramírez Cuevas, Jesús De maíz su carne y su corazón”. La Jornada del campo. No. 121. December 21, 2017

Red en Defensa del Maíz. Protesta internacional masiva por la contaminación transgénica del maíz en México. ETC Group. November 20, 2003

Redacción Animal Político.Activista de Greenpeace protesta "por los aires" en el Senado.” April 25, 2013

Redacción Animal Político. “Juez suspende emisión de permisos de siembra de maíz transgénico en México” October 11, 2013.

Registro Agrario Nacional. Nota Técnica Sobre La Propiedad Social. 2017

Ribeiro, Silvia. “Diconsa, maíz transgénico y autonomía”. Red en Defensa del Maíz. February 1, 2012

Robinson Publicidad. “Victor Robinson : Lila Downs y Pintor Francisco Toledo contra maíz transgénico 1”. YouTube video, 0:36. July 1, 2014Rodriguez, Oscar. “Francisco Toledo y Rubén Albarrán contra el maíz transgénico.” Milenio. May 24, 2014.

Rodríguez-Arévalo, I., Mattana, E., García, L. et al. Conserving seeds of useful wild plants in Mexico: main issues and recommendations. Genet Resour Crop Evol 64, 1141–1190 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10722-016-0427-7

SAGARPA. Agricultura familiar con potencial productivo en México. 2012

San Vicente Tello, A and Morales Hernández, J. “La demanda colectiva contra la siembra de maíz transgénico: ciudadanía y soberanía alimentaria” in Del dicho al hecho: opacidad, autoritarismo y verdades a medias. Análisis Plural. 2015

Solleiro Rebolledo, J.L. Biotecnología para un desarrollo agrícola sustentable. In J. Muñoz Rubio: Alimentos trasgenicos / Transgenic Food: Ciencia, ambiente y mercado: Un debate abierto 149-160. Siglo XXI

Summary Record. CEC Joint Public Advisory Committee Session No. 04-0. March 12, 2004. Oaxaca, Mexico.

Suppan, Steve. “Do No Harm: NAFTA, non-regulation of GMOS and Mexican agriculture.” Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy, November 6, 2017.

Sweeney, Stuart & Steigerwald, Douglas & Davenport, Frank & Eakin, Hallie. (2013). Mexican Maize Production: Evolving Organizational and Spatial Structures since 1980. Applied Geography. 39. 78–92. 10.1016/j.apgeog.2012.12.005.

Transgénico el 90 por ciento del maíz de las tortillas en Mexico: Académica de la UNAM”. Boletín UNAM-DGCS-607. Ciudad Universitaria. September 18, 2017

Turrent Fernández, Antonio et al. El maíz transgénico en México (en 15 píldoras) versión Oaxaca. 2013(p56)

Vargas-Parada, L. GM Maize splits Mexico. Nature 511, 16–17 (2014) doi:10.1038/511016a

Víctor M. Quintana S. ““La acción hace la unión”: Respuesta neovillista al TLCAN”. La Jornada del campo. Número 5. February 12, 2008

W Radio. “Aprueban la Ley de Bioseguridad en México entre protestas” February 16, 2005

Wade, Lizzie. “Mexico’s new science minister is a plant biologist who opposes transgenic crops” Science Magazine. October 4, 2018

Wagner, Holly (2005-08-08). "Genetically modified maize not found in southern Mexico". Ohio State University Research News.

Wainwright, Joel and Mercer, Kristin. The dilemma of decontamination/ A Gramscian analysis of the Mexican transgenic maize dispute. Geoforum 40 (2009): 354.

Wise, Timothy. “High Risks, Few Rewards For Mexico with Monsanto's Maize” Al Jazeera. May 27, 2014

ZuidemaTeakeDrought is crippling small farmers in Mexico—with consequences for everyone else Quartz. December 14, 2019

Credits

Produced by James Frederick and Polly Leger.

Edited by Acey Rowe and Gordon Katic.

Our composer is Mike Barber, our graphic designer is Dakota Koop, and our production manager is David Tobiasz.

Fact checking by Aurora Tejeida. Research assistance from James Rhatigan .

Thank you to:
Ana de Ita Rubio , Santiago Muñoz  and Daniela Moreno from the Maizajo tortilla shop, Silvia Ribeiro from ETC Group, and Natasha Pizzey Siegert.

Cited is funded in part by the Social Science and Humanities Research Council. The project was advised by Jessican Dempsey at the University of British Columbia, and Rosemary Collard from Simon Fraser University. This episode was made possible with a grant to discuss ideas in liberal environmental theory.