PLACE: Beginning at Old City Hall, 60 Queen St. W. -– Ending at St. James Park
Why Do We March?
Since Bayer’s acquisition of Monsanto in June 2018, we should all be far more concerned about the future of agriculture. We’re outraged how our food system has been hijacked by a handful of chemical companies who continue to patent nature and forge monopolies over the world’s food supply.
Media Inquiries Contact: Jennifer Berman Diaz, 647-980-4686
With Juan Guaidó’s parallel government attempting to take power with the backing of the U.S., it is telling that the top political donors of those in the U.S. most fervently pushing regime change in Venezuela have close ties to Monsanto and major financial stakes in Bayer.
CARACAS, VENEZUELA — As the political crisis in Venezuela has unfolded, much has been said about the Trump administration’s clear interest in the privatization and exploitation of Venezuela’s oil reserves, the largest in the world, by American oil giants like Chevron and ExxonMobil.
Yet the influence of another notorious American company, Monsanto — now a subsidiary of Bayer — has gone largely unmentioned.
While numerous other Latin American nations have become a “free for all” for the biotech company and its affiliates, Venezuela has been one of the few countries to fight Monsanto and other international agrochemical giants and win. However, since that victory — which was won under Chavista rule — the U.S.-backed Venezuelan opposition has been working to undo it.
Now, with Juan Guaidó’s parallel government attempting to take power with the backing of the U.S., it is telling that the top political donors of those in the U.S. most fervently pushing regime change in Venezuela have close ties to Monsanto and major financial stakes in Bayer.
In recent months, Monsanto’s most controversial and notorious product — the pesticide glyphosate, branded as Roundup, and linked to cancer in recent U.S. court rulings — has threatened Bayer’s financial future as never before, with a litany of new court cases barking at Bayer’s door. It appears that many of the forces in the U.S. now seeking to overthrow the Venezuelan government are hoping that a new Guaidó-led government will provide Bayer with a fresh, much-needed market for its agrochemicals and transgenic seeds, particularly those products that now face bans in countries all over the world, including once-defoliated and still-poisoned Vietnam.
U.S.-Backed Venezuelan opposition seeks to reverse Chavista seed law and GMO ban
In 2004, then-president of Venezuela, Hugo Chávez, surprised many when he announced the cancellation of Monsanto’s plans to plant 500,000 acres of Venezuelan agricultural land in genetically modified (GM) soybeans. The cancellation of Monsanto’s Venezuela contract led to what became an ad hoc ban on all GM seeds in the entire country, a move that was praised by local farmer groups and environmental activists. In contrast to anti-GM movements that have sprung up in other countries, Venezuela’s resistance to GM crops was based more on concerns about the country’s food sovereignty and protecting the livelihoods of farmers.
Although the ban has failed to keep GM products out of Venezuela — as Venezuela has long imported a majority of its food, much of it originating in countries that are among the world’s largest producers of genetically modified foods — one clear effect has been preventing companies like Monsanto and other major agrochemical and seed companies from gaining any significant foothold in the Venezuelan market.
Monsanto suffered a major blow with a jury ruling that the company was liable for a terminally ill man’s cancer, awarding him $289m in damages.
Dewayne Johnson, a 46-year-old former groundskeeper, won a huge victory in the landmark case on Friday, with the jury determining that Monsanto’s Roundup weedkiller caused his cancer and that the corporation failed to warn him of the health hazards from exposure. The jury further found that Monsanto “acted with malice or oppression”.
Johnson’s lawyers argued over the course of a month-long trial in San Francisco that Monsanto had “fought science” for years and targeted academics who spoke up about possible health risks of the herbicide product. Johnson was the first person to take the agrochemical corporation to trial over allegations that the chemical sold under the brand Roundup causes cancer.
In the extraordinary verdict, which Monsanto said it intends to appeal, the jury ruled that the company was responsible for “negligent failure” and knew or should have known that its product was “dangerous”.
“We were finally able to show the jury the secret, internal Monsanto documents proving that Monsanto has known for decades that … Roundup could cause cancer,” Johnson’s lawyer Brent Wisner said in a statement. The verdict, he added, sent a “message to Monsanto that its years of deception regarding Roundup is over and that they should put consumer safety first over profits”.
It is hardly surprising that the first thing Bayer did after completing their takeover of Monsanto earlier this month was to announce that they were dropping the Monsanto name, merging the two companies’ agrichemical divisions under the Bayer Crop Science name. After all, as everyone knows, Monsanto is one of the most hated corporations in the world. But Bayer itself has an equally atrocious history of death and destruction. Together they are a match made in hell.
April 10, 2018. On Monday April 9, the Wall Street Journal reported that the United States Department of Justice has agreed to allow a merger between seed and pesticide companies Bayer and Monsanto, creating the largest seed and pesticide company in the world. A US approval means that Canada could also soon permit the merger.
The US Department of Justice has not yet officially announced the deal, along with any conditions for the approval. Europe allowed the merger on the condition that Bayer sell some of its seeds, pesticides and digital farming investments to remove overlaps with Monsanto.
A decision from Canada’s Competition Bureau is also required but no timeline has been provided. The proposed merger requires regulatory approval from anti-trust agencies across the world.
“A US decision brings a Canadian announcement closer,” said Lucy Sharratt of the Canadian Biotechnology Action Network (CBAN). “Canada is on the verge of making a decision that will affect farmers and consumers for many decades. It will shape the future of food and farming in Canada and across the world.”
The new merged company could control around 30 percent of the world’s commercial seed market and 25 percent of agricultural pesticides.
“A merger of this size creates an unprecedented level of corporate control over seeds and pesticides,” said Sharratt.
CBAN is calling on The Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development to stop the merger.