– and other Latin America news

Mexico quietly rejects application for GMO corn imports
For the first time, Mexico’s health safety regulator Cofepris has rejected a new variety of GMO corn, said the head of the country’s National Farm Council (CNA). While Mexico has never permitted commercial cultivation of GMO corn, it has for decades allowed imports of such varieties that are largely used for feed. Mexico is a major market for US exports of the corn, importing more than 16 MMT of primarily GMO corn from the US in 2020.

Mexican President Lopez Obrador issued a decree late last year that would ban use of both glyphosate and GMO corn for human consumption by 2024, and there’s still a lot of uncertainty as to whether the GMO ban would also apply to livestock feed. CNA says Cofepris rejected a permit for a new GMO corn variety by Bayer that was designed to tolerate the weedkiller glyphosate in late August.

The regulator reportedly said it considers the herbicide dangerous and rejected the variety based on the precautionary principle. But the decision was not publicly disclosed.

GMWatch comments that since President López Obrador took office in late 2018, Cofepris hasn’t approved any new GM seeds. The agribiz lobby kept complaining about the log jam and saying the regulator had to get things moving. So then it finally considered one and… rejected it!

Bayer blasts "unscientific" rejection by Mexican regulator of GMO corn permit
Bayer is evaluating its legal options after Mexican health regulators for the first time rejected a GMO corn permit it was seeking, the German pharmaceutical and crop science giant said in a statement, blasting the decision as "unscientific".

Mexico’s highest court rejects appeal of GM corn ban
Bayer/Monsanto suffered another in a long string of setbacks in its battle to grow GM corn in Mexico when the country’s highest court on October 13 refused to overturn a precautionary injunction restricting the cultivation of GM corn. In its unanimous decision, the court agreed with the citizen petitioners who sought the injunction in 2013 that cultivation of GM corn poses a credible threat to Mexico’s rich store of native corn biodiversity through uncontrolled cross-pollination.

Court ruling crucial for biodiversity
The Mexico court judgement (see above) is critical not only for the preservation of native maize and the traditional milpa crop-growing system, but also for the beekeeping sector and the bees themselves, as part of Mexico's biodiversity that has been severely affected by GMO crops and glyphosate.

Paraguay: Failing to prevent contamination from pesticides sprayed on GMO soy violates indigenous people’s right to traditional lands – UN Human Rights Committee
In a landmark  decision, the UN Human Rights Committee found that Paraguay’s failure to prevent and control the toxic contamination of traditional lands, due to intensive use of pesticides by commercial farms growing GMO soybeans, violates indigenous people's right to traditional lands and their sense of “home”. The Campo Agua’e indigenous community lives in an area closely surrounded by large commercial farms that spray pesticides on GMO soybeans. The spraying, including the use of banned agrochemicals continuously for more than ten years in the area, has killed indigenous community’ chickens and ducks, affected subsistence crops and fruit trees, impacted hunting, fishing and foraging resources, contaminated the waterways, and harmed people’s health.