3rd Press Release

 Reactions to the statements of the ministry of Agriculture and Internal Administration

 We, as Movimento Verde Eufémia, are glad to see that our action is provoking a lot of reactions within the political field. However, it is important to state that the ministry of Agriculture – taking a completely outbalanced Pro GMO position – seems not to be very willing to open a true participative debate on the issue of GMOs. This goes hand in hand with the statements of the ministry of Internal affairs aiming to criminalize a group of activists that have no other agenda than creating a space in the debate for critical positions on GMOs coming from all corners of civil society. We ask the question, whose interests are being served?

It is impossible to understand that within the discourse of the minister of Agriculture there is not the slightest nuance or doubt that takes into consideration the threats of GM technology in agriculture pointed out by numerous actors in the scientific community, which makes clear that science is at least divided on the matter (see references below). How could than a minister of Agriculture, carrying responsibility for the health of the people which he is supposed to represent, flagrantly state that “there exists no problem, this is scientifically proven”(Público, 21-08-07). The minister has no right whatsoever to claim the truth on the matter for himself, while completely ignoring a clearly existing scientific disconsensus. On the regional and local governmental level those risks are in fact often well understood. The whole Algarve region, which has for that reason been declared as GMO Free Zone by the Junta Metropolitana do Algarve in 2004 serves as a good example for this matter. This political statement was the direct result of associations within civil society defending their ecological rights and health as consumers. Is the cabinet of the minister so far away from its citizens that those disconcerting voices do not reach the ears of Jaime Silva? Or does he just like to play solo? We are wondering whose interests the ministry is serving anyways. Is the ministry protecting its citizens or is it serving the interest of Agro-Biotechnological industry lobby?

Another additional attempt to prevent the initiation of any debate comes from the corner of the Ministry of Internal Administration. The minister of IA keeps up a constant discourse aiming to criminalize the action in all its aspects. It should be clear by now that through the communiqués that we have sent that the destruction of private property is no end in itself. Rui Pereira categorizes the action as “ecoterrorism soft” (SIC, Noticias à noite). But while our interests merely involve bringing attention to the risks connected with GMOs, the only fundamentalist in the debate can be identified as his colleague Jaime Silva. Our interests reveal themselves even more clearly through the statements of Costa Lima, spokesperson of the general command of the police forces: “it was unnecessary to apply force, because when the police [being absolutely outnumbered] ordered to stop the action of destruction, the activists obeyed without showing resistance” (Diario de Noticias, 21-08-07).

It should be clear that it would be too easy to label us as terrorists. Unfortunately, this action involving part of the destruction of the first GM field in the Algarve region, is what it takes to put a spotlight on the environmental, social and health risks that GMOs bring along. Also in the aftermath it became clear that hiding our identities was a necessary precaution to withstand to aggressive counter reaction of the state. We do consider any opinion, if it is well-founded, a valuable addition in the debate. We hope therefore that all actors in civil society who have been criticizing GMOs in the past will use this opportunity generated by the action of Verde Eufémia to make their voice being heard in all corners of society, apart from the fact whether they agree with the act of destroying a minor part of a GM field or not.

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