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August 2, 2000


Activist Target Brazil


The latest target of the activist letter writing campaign is Fernando
Henrique Cardoso, the President of Brazil. Below is a letter by Mae-Wan Ho.


Fernando Henrique Cardoso
Presidencia da República
Praça dos Tres Poderes
Palácio do Planalto
4º Andar
CEP- 70150-900 Brasília - DF
Email: pr.@planalto.br

Dear Mr. President,

Please allow me to entreat you, in the strongest possible terms, not to
give in to pressure from Monsanto to approve planting of GM soya until
this and other GM crops have been proven safe for human health and

I am a scientist who visited Brazil not so long ago to speak at the
International Seminar on Biodiversity Law, and am among the 333 scientists
from 39 countries who have signed an Open Letter to All Governments
calling for a global moratorium on GMOs on grounds that there is already
sufficient evidence for actual and potential hazard. I enclose the full
text of our letter which contains detailed references to scientific
papers. < safety of GM crops. And many eminent scientists on our list of signatories
have reasons to believe that genetic engineering technology,at least, at
this stage of development, is inherently uncontrollable, unpredictable as
well as hazardous. The regulatory system currently in place cannot offer
any safeguard against those hazards. We have a moratorium in Europe at
least until 2003.

I have debated in 23 countries within the past 2 years, and I shall be in
Brazil and 10 other countries - 6 of them for the first time - before the
end of this year. It is clear to me that world wide resistance to GM crops
is growing, and it would be economic suicide to give in to Monsanto at
this stage, as the market is rapidly shrinking to zero.

Yours sincerely,

Dr. Mae-Wan Ho
Director, Institute of Science in Society
c/o Dept of Biological Sciences
Open University,
Walton Hall, Milton Keynes
fax: 44-1908-654167
e-mail: m.w.ho@open.ac.uk

From the Brazilian campaign against transgenic crops...

Dear friends,

The Brazilian campaign against transgenic crops and food ("Por um Brasil
Livre de Transgênicos") is sending the attached SOS to all concerned
persons institutions asking for a massive mobilization to send messages to
two members of the federal court which will give next August, 8th their
sentences on the liberation of transgenic soybeans (Monsanto's Roundup
Ready). This sentence will be crucial for not only Brazilian resistance
against transgenics but also to Europeans' resistance to consume these
products. Please circulate this message with all urgency.

Best regards.

For the Brazilian Campaign,
Jean Marc von der Weid (program director of AS-PTA)


After the visit to Brazil of Monsanto's president, Mr. Shapiro, a month
ago, Brazil's president, Fernando Henrique Cardoso, started an all out
campaign to impose the liberation of transgenic crops in the country.
According to the judge in charge of reporting on the appeal made by
Monsanto and the Brazilian government against a previous court decision
never in her 12 years of profession had her seen such pressure exerted on
the Federal Regional Tribunal by the "highest officials" of the executive.

Fernando Henrique and Monsanto were convinced they would defeat Greenpeace
and the Institute for the Defense of Consumers (IDEC), the NGOs which
asked the first level court in Brasilia to forbid the liberation of
transgenic crops until the government or Monsanto can prove they are safe
for the environment and for consumers. The case is based clearly in
Brazilian environmental laws, which asks for environmental impacts studies
before any liberation in nature of living exotic materials. Trusting
their pressures would curb resistance from the judges the government asked
the National Commission on Biosafety (CTNBio) to permit the discharge of
32 tons of transgenic corn stoked in a boat waiting at Recife's port in
the Northeast.

To the president and Monsanto's surprise, however, the judge confirmed the
first level sentence in her report and the other two judges asked for time
to further examine the case, postponing the decision to next August, 8th.
In spite of the fact that the first level decision is still valid the
CTNBio violated the law and liberated the import of transgenic corn last
Friday. The first level judge reacted immediately out ruling this decision
and threatening CTNBio's members with imprisonment. In a clear attempt to
bypass the judge's position the Brazilian government asked a judge from
the northeastern region to give permission for the imports creating a
conflict of competence between courts. This judge complied with the
government and
authorized the disembarkment of the transgenic corn. The federal court in
Brazilia is taking appropriated measures to enforce it's authority.

Faced with increasing indignation from the Judiciary and from society at
large Fernando Henrique Cardoso called for a "manifesto" signed by six
Ministers (Agriculture, Environment, Health, Science and Technology,
Justice and Civil Affairs). This manifesto means that the government
forced at least two ministers (Environment and Health) to review their
previous and more cautious positions. The manifesto supports fully the
CTNBio decisions and is full of lies including the statement that they are
respecting Brazilian laws and ignoring the fact that those in charge of
law enforcement, i.e, the Judiciary, thinks otherwise. The Brazilian
government is particularly strange if we consider the fact that the
country has a powerful position in international export markets exactly
because it's the only big agricultural producer with no risks of
transgenic contamination. Brazil competes with the USA and Argentina for
the European soybean imports and Europe, as is known to all, is asking for
non transgenic produce.

Curbing Brazil's resistance to transgenic crops is a strategic issue for
the transnational corporations like Monsanto and Novartis. If Brazil goes
transgenic the Europeans will not have a place where to buy it's non
transgenic soybeans and will be either forced to admit this non desired
product or to completely change their feed consumption which can be rather
costly and difficult.

We, Brazilian NGOs and People's Organizations are protesting strongly
against this dangerous violations of Brazilian laws and disrespect for the
Judiciary. We ask all concerned organizations to denounce it and to write
to president Cardoso to make him feel that submission to transnational
corporations interests is not going to proceed without international
public opinion reaction. Write your letters or telegrams to:

Fernando Henrique Cardoso
Presidencia da República
Praça dos Tres Poderes
Palácio do Planalto
4º Andar
CEP- 70150-900 Brasília - DF
Email: pr.@planalto.br