By Meg White
August 31, 2009
At the intersection of cocaine and Roundup in rural South America, Monsanto and the U.S. government are struggling to keep up appearances. That’s becoming more and more difficult as the unanticipated hazards of genetic modification become clearer.
Coca plants appear to be either evolving on their own (or with the help of coca farmers’ active selection) — or they are possibly crossing with Roundup Ready crops already on the ground — to produce a glyphosate-resistant crop known as Boliviana negra.
Back in April , Argentinean embryologist Andrés Carrasco gave an interview with a Buenos Aires newspaper describing his recent findings suggesting the chemical glyphosate, a chemical herbicide widely used in agriculture as well as in U.S. anti-narcotic efforts, could cause defects in fetuses in much smaller doses than those to which peasants and farmers in his country were already being exposed. Loud calls for a ban on the substance were issued by Argentinean environmental lawyers, and the country’s Ministry of Defense banned the planting of glyphosate-resistant soya crops in its fields.
Then came the backlash. An article in an Argentinean paper recently reported that Carrasco was assaulted in a way he described as “violent” by four men associated with agricultural interests:
Two of the men were said to be members of an agrochemical industry body but refused to give their names. The other two claimed to be a lawyer and notary. They apparently interrogated Dr. Carrasco and demanded to see details of the experiments. They left a card Basílico, Andrada & Santurio, attorneys on behalf of Felipe Alejandro Noël.
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