By Fernando Vicente Prieto
The approval of the law took place between Tuesday 22 and Wednesday 23, as part of the extraordinary sessions of the National Assembly. On the first day the first 15 articles were approved and on the second day the voting of the rest was completed. Now it is the turn of the enactment by the Executive Power, a procedure that is taken for granted because Nicolás Maduro and Chavismo, in general, agree.
The organizations that promote the Campaign for the Law of Seeds define it as "consensual, anti-transgenic and antipatent". On Wednesday from noon they began to celebrate inside the enclosure and also through social networks.
The project began to be developed in October 2013, with the participation of peasant movements, environmental organizations, political and social groups that are part of the revolutionary process. Its objective is to promote food production in the country under the concept of agroecology, banning GMOs and removing corporations from a potential business that moves billions of dollars in the world.
The sanction of the law is related to articles 127 and 305 of the National Constitution. Number 127 states that “the State will protect the environment, biological diversity, genetic resources, ecological processes, national parks and natural monuments, and other areas of special ecological importance. The genome of living beings cannot be patented, and the law that refers to bioethical principles will regulate the matter. It is a fundamental obligation of the State, with the active participation of society, to guarantee that the population operates in a pollution-free environment, where air, water, soils, coasts, climate, the ozone layer, living species are specially protected, in accordance with the law ”.
Likewise, Article 305 states in its first part: “The State shall promote sustainable agriculture as a strategic basis for comprehensive rural development in order to guarantee the food security of the population; understood as the sufficient and stable availability of food at the national level and timely and permanent access to them by the consuming public ”.
In other words, the law includes the constitutional mandate on sensitive issues, such as the prohibition of patenting living beings. Its purpose is “to preserve, protect, guarantee the production, multiplication, conservation, free circulation and use of the seed; as well as the promotion, research, innovation, distribution and exchange of the same, from a socialist agroecological vision, privileging the national production of seeds ”.
Reactions from the business world
This policy runs counter to those promoted in the region in the last decade, even in countries considered progressive - Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay - in relation to neoliberals such as Mexico, Colombia, Peru, Chile. While the model of the large corporations that control the seed in the world prevailed throughout the continent: Monsanto, Syngenta, DuPont, Dow, Bayer, BASF, in Venezuela the Bolivarian Revolution is taking steps towards an eco-socialist model, as established in to the electoral platform first of Chávez and then of Maduro: the Plan of the Homeland 2013 - 2019.
The new rule received criticism from the opposition, who did not support it. After the session, the deputy Iván Colmenares, from the Portuguese State, pointed out that "this Seed Law is unfeasible due to its marked ideological bias, anti-transgenic character and unconstitutional tenor." Colmenares considered it “discriminatory against the private sector and the population not aligned with the process. It is also highly contradictory, because it defends native seeds, ethnic and peasant, but without tangible proposals to promote their production.
This position directly expresses the position of the main chamber of agricultural entrepreneurs, Fedeagro. The president of the entity, Antonio Pestana, the day after the parliamentary elections of the 6D demanded as a "priority that the seed law be stopped."
The employer representative had said that it would be approved by people who "irrationally put their ideologies first." And he quickly showed his: “Another issue is the National Biosafety Commission. We have to allow our researchers to talk about GMOs; If they are bad for consumption then Venezuela has to prevent them from entering the country, but if they say that they are not bad for consumption or the environment, we have to allow Venezuelan farmers to opt for that technology that has given such good results in the outside".
Furthermore, Fedeagro demands that the 2001 Land Law - one of the “causes” that led companies to promote the coup against Hugo Chávez in April 2002 - be annulled and that the expropriated fields be returned to the landowners.
For popular organizations, this is a very important step in a collective and articulated work that took years. And it takes place within the framework of a more general dispute, between two projects that are reaching a point of maximum antagonism. In this sense, the opposition can be sure that if it goes against the Land and Seed Laws, as is foreseeable, it will find a people determined to defend them.
Popular Journalism Notes