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Mexico not U.S. trash can / Anti-Bush protests continue (14/3/2007)

1.Protests Continue as President Bush Tours Central and South America
2.Mexico Is Not The U.S. Trash Can
3.Mexicans Eating Rice Variety Unapproved for Human Consumption
4.URGENT ACTION NEEDED in support of of Mexican farm leader

EXTRACT: "These test results and the latest USDA declarations prove that contamination isn't only possible, but is reaching epidemic proportions in the U.S. The U.S. regulatory system is clearly incapable of protecting consumers here and abroad from untested and unapproved genetically engineered varieties. The only sure way for governments around the world to protect their citizens seems to be to stop purchasing U.S. agricultural products." - Dr. Doreen Stabinsky (item 3)

"Mexico is not the dumping ground for the U.S. genetic engineering experiment, and the relationship Mexico has with the U.S. should not be one of submission, nor one that allows GMO products that other nations are rejecting into our country." (item 1)
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1.Protests Continue as President Bush Tours Central and South America
Contaminated Rice Spurs Protest of Bush-Calderon Meeting in Mexico

The protest came as the two presidents prepared to meet to discuss trade and development, and follows the discovery last week by Greenpeace that Mexican rice varieties have been contaminated by a genetically modified variety from the United States.

Activists staged a mock "wedding" between Presidents Bush and Calderon, including the throwing of an abundance of genetically modified rice at the couple.

"We are demanding that the Mexican government suspend the import of genetically contaminated rice, and instead shift agricultural policies towards strengthening domestic rice production and food security."

"We call on President Calderon to use this meeting with President Bush tomorrow to make clear that the commercial relationship between Mexico and the U.S. should not imply that Mexico will silently accept the genetically modified food that is rejected by other countries," said Gustavo Ampugnani, anti-genetic engineering campaigner with Greenpeace Mexico.

"Mexico is not the dumping ground for the U.S. genetic engineering experiment, and the relationship Mexico has with the U.S. should not be one of submission, nor one that allows GMO products that other nations are rejecting into our country."
http://www.greenpeace.org/usa/press/releases/greenpeace-investigation-revea-4

Just days ago, supporters held a demonstration in Sao Paulo as Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva met with President Bush to discuss biofuels and ethanol http://www.greenpeace.org/usa/news/ethanol-is-not-the-answer-sto

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2. Mexico Is Not The U.S. Trash Can, Says Environmental Group Greenpeace
Protest Over Contaminated Rice Precedes Bush-Calderon Meeting in Mexico
http://www.greenpeace.org/usa/news/protests-greet-bush-again

Mexico; Greenpeace activists staged a mock "wedding" between Presidents Bush and Calderon, including the throwing of genetically engineered rice at the couple. The protest comes as the two presidents prepared to meet to discuss trade and development, and follows the discovery last week by Greenpeace that Mexican rice stocks are contaminated with an unapproved genetically engineered variety from the United States. Greenpeace is demanding that the Mexican government suspend the import of genetically contaminated rice. A banner that was unfurled over the wedding altar read "Until Independence Do Us Part."

The mock wedding comes a week after huge volumes of U.S. rice were found to be contaminated with LLRICE601, a variety developed by Bayer CropScience that has not been approved for consumption in Mexico. Also late last week, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced the discovery of another as-of-yet unidentified gene adulterating U.S. rice supplies.

"The U.S. is clearly incapable of protecting consumers, both in the U.S. and abroad, from the unknown effects of genetic engineering," said Doreen Stabinsky, Greenpeace scientist based in the U.S. "Many countries around the world, including all of Europe, Japan, and South Korea, have all clearly told the United States that they will not accept their contaminated rice. Mexico should do the same."

The contaminated rice has been found in rice supplies throughout the southern U.S., and the LLRICE601 contamination scandal, which began in August 2006, has been the worst crisis for the U.S. rice industry in recent memory. The USA Rice Federation has adopted an emergency plan to keep the contamination from next years harvest, although the bulk of the 2006 harvest is yet to be sold. With the discovery last week of further unidentified contamination, the USDA has taken the unprecedented step of ordering a ban on sales and planting of contaminated rice seed and the uprooting of rice that has already been planted.

Mexico is currently the largest export market for U.S. rice. Last week, Greenpeace Mexico activists staged a demonstration at the Ministry of Healths headquarters demanding action to stop the import of contaminated rice.

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3.Mexicans Eating Rice Variety Unapproved for Human Consumption
Greenpeace Investigation Reveals U.S. Source of Genetic Contamination in Mexican Rice
http://www.greenpeace.org/usa/press/releases/greenpeace-investigation-revea-4

Greenpeace laboratory results reveal that U.S. rice being sold in the Mexican supermarkets Chedraui and Soriana is contaminated with an unapproved genetically engineered variety. The unapproved variety, called LLRICE601 and developed by Bayer CropScience, has been at the center of a global contamination scandal since August 2006. The experimental rice was last grown in 2001, but neither Bayer nor the U.S. government has yet been able to explain how the contamination happened. The contamination scandal was compounded this week when the USDA announced the discovery of another as of yet unidentified gene adulterating U.S. rice supplies.

"Our worst fears have been confirmed: we are eating genetically engineered rice without even knowing it," said Gustavo Ampugnani, genetic engineering campaigner with Greenpeace Mexico. "And even worse is that this contamination is coming from experimental fields and has come here illegally, since at least last August." "We know testing is happening and segregation is possible - Europeans are demanding and receiving uncontaminated rice. U.S. rice exporters are taking advantage of Mexican government apathy and disposing of their adulterated rice south of the border," he continued.

Last year, huge volumes of U.S. rice were found to be contaminated with LLRICE601 and export destinations from Europe to Japan put in place measures to prevent these contaminated imports. The USDA retroactively approved the variety for cultivation in the United States (no food approval is required in the U.S.), but the experimental variety is still not approved for consumption in any U.S. rice export market, including Mexico. The USA Rice Federation adopted an emergency plan to keep the contamination from next year’s harvest, but the bulk of the 2006 harvest is still to be sold.

"These test results and the latest USDA declarations prove that contamination isnt only possible, but is reaching epidemic proportions in the U.S.," added Dr. Doreen Stabinsky, Greenpeace scientist based in the U.S. "The U.S. regulatory system is clearly incapable of protecting consumers here and abroad from untested and unapproved genetically engineered varieties. The only sure way for governments around the world to protect their citizens seems to be to stop purchasing U.S. agricultural products."

Greenpeace is putting pressure on officials in Mexico to take action to prevent the contaminated rice from being imported from the U.S., especially in light of the upcoming meeting between Presidents Felipe Calderon and George W. Bush. More detailed information about the results is available.
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4.FOOD FIRST: Institure for Food and Development Policy
YOUR URGENT ACTION IS NEEDED

[FOR CONTACT DETAILS FOR MEXICAN EMVBASSIES OUTSIDE THE U.S.:
http://www.mexonline.com/embassy.htm ]

Dear Friends of Food First,

Please copy, paste, and mail this URGENT letter to the Mexican Embassy regarding the arrest of Mexican farm leader and colleague Jesus Emiliano Garcia and the arrest warrants of several members of the Frente Democratico Campesino de Chihuahua, including Rural Coalition board member, Victor Quintana.

Background: Last Friday, during a visit of Felipe Calderon to Chihuahua, Mexico, the Federal Investigation Agency arrested one of the leaders of the Frente Democratico Campesino, Jesus Emiliano Garcia on the charges of "sabotage". This accusation rose from an occupation of the building of the Secretary of Agriculture in Chihuahua last month, by the farmers of the FDC demanding an urgent program of subsidies to grow corn, in the context of high international prices and big importations of this grain, the basic food for Mexican families.

Along with Jesus Emiliano, there are four more leaders of the FDC sought by the police with orders of apprehension: Rogelio Ruelas, Francisco Escalante, Javier Castillo and Victor Quintana. The social organizations of Chihuahua and all over Mexico see this prosecution as a frightening strategy against people who criticize Calderon government. We support their call to urge the Federal Government of Mexico to immediately release Jesus Emiliano and drop all the charges against him and the leaders of the FDC.

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March 13, 2007
The Honorable Arturo Sarukhan
Embassy of Mexico
1911 Pennsylvania Avenue
Washington, DC 20006

Dear Ambassador Sarukhan,

I am dismayed to learn that leader Jesús Emiliano Garcia was arrested last week on charges of sabotage for participating in the occupation of the building of the Secretary of Agriculture in Chihuahua last month. We understand that in addition to Jesús Emiliano Garcia, there are orders of apprehension out for four more leaders of the FDC: Rogelio Ruelas, Francisco Escalante, Javier Castillo and Victor Quintana.

In the context of high international corn prices and extensive imports from the United States, the farmers of the FDC were demanding an urgent program of subsidies to grow corn, the basic food for Mexican families. Mexican corn farmers have suffered inordinately from the increased importation of corn since the passage of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). We support the right of farmers and their leaders to voice their opposition to these policies that affect such a large and vulnerable population of Mexican farmers.

The arrest of Garcia sends a message of insensitivity and intimidation to farmers and rural communities who have already suffered so much under current trade and agriculture policies. For this reason, we the undersigned organizations urge the Federal Government of Mexico to immediately release Jesús Emiliano García and to drop the charges against him and the remaining leaders of the FDC.

For more info regarding this issue, please contact Lorette Picciano of the Rural Coalition at 202-628-7160 or lpicciano@ruralco.org.

Sincerely,
(your name)
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Rural Coalition
1012 14th St., NW Suite 1100
Washington, DC 20005
202-628-7160
202-628-7165 - fax
www.ruralco.org
www.supermarketcoop.com

Lorette Picciano, Executive Director
Lpicciano@ruralco.org

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