(COMMON DREAMS) Nick Dearden, January 11, 2016 — Just days before the progressive National Assembly of Venezuela was dissolved, deputies passed a law which lays the foundation for a truly democratic food system. The country has not only banned genetically modified seeds, but set up democratic structures to ensure that seeds cannot be privatized and indigenous knowledge cannot be sold off to corporations. President Maduro signed the proposal into law before New Year, when a new anti-Maduro Assembly was sworn in.
Since Hugo Chavez’s day, Venezuela has always held out against agribusiness, including GM, famously halting 500,000 acres of Monsanto corn in 2004 . In fact, Chavez’s formal strategy for the country talked about creating an “an eco-socialist model of production based on a harmonic relationship between humans and nature.” The aim, explicitly, was food sovereignty – democratic control of food production.
“Ultimately Venezuela realizes, the only way to make the vision of food sovereignty a reality, is economic democracy.”
But that didn’t stop agribusiness trying to get a foothold in the country. A war is being waged by big agribusiness, which is trying to monopolize the very means of life – seeds – right across the world. In Africa, Latin America, Asia, even Europe.
Agribusiness is lobbying for new stronger intellectual property laws so they can more easily take traditional knowledge and resources and patent them, profiting from monopoly rights.