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Wildlife

Nicoyans Speak Out Against Planting Transgenic Corn in Guanacaste

By César Blanco

Guanacaste cantons, like Abangares and Nicoya, are fighting to remain free of transgenic corn now that the company Delta and Pine is looking to plant modified international Monsanto seeds in the canton of Abangares. The controversy will be delayed until the end of February since the State National Biosecurity Commission requested more information about the product.  

Although the Municipality of Abangares has declared itself to be an “ecological canton free of transgenics,” the Biosecurity Commission has argued that this is invalid since it goes against “other laws.”

Delta and Pine want to plant one to two hectares of this genetically altered corn as part of an investigation of pest resistence, but after a meeting on December 3rd between the parties, the Commission gave the company a maximum of 60 days to provide convincing documentation that there are no risks.  After the deadline, the Biosecurity Commission will have five days to decide.  
 
About 60 public and private institutions have opposed the project, such as the Public Defendor’s Office, the College of Agricultural Engineers, the School of Biology of the Univeristy of Costa Rica and the Technological Institute of Costa Rica

 

 
   
 
Environmentalists who marched in November and December in an effort to stop a project to introduce and commercialize transgenic corn will have to wait until February to see if their labor bears fruit.   

About 60 public and private institutions have opposed the project, such as the Public Defendor’s Office, the College of Agricultural Engineers, the School of Biology of the Univeristy of Costa Rica and the Technological Institute of Costa Rica. 

Legislator Jose Maria Villalta, of the Frente Amplio party, and ecological organizations filed an appeal against Delta and Pine for not presenting environmental impact studies and other details related to the future crops. 


Various farmers participated in a 200-kilometer march from Guanacaste to San Jose to put pressure on the opposition.  Starting on November 24th, dozens of environmentalists carrying banners left from various cantons of Guanacaste to arrive in San Jose on December 3rd. One of the leaders, Edison Valverde, indicated that if this type of corn enters the country, it would contaminate crop traditions of more than 10,000 years. 

“The wind would spread the transgenic corn and it would contaminate the rest of the grain varieties that the farmers have been plantingfor years.  This would also have consequences on human health and the quality of water.  It’s such a serious issue that it’s already been prohibited in other countries like France,” cited Valverde. 

Nicoyan Natalia Perez, who participated in the march, commented, “Now, since our diet is based on corn, if Monsanto enters Guanacaste our corn will disappear and with it, our traditions, our costums, our food base and in the end our blue zone…. While economic interests are strong, Nicoya is a canton free of transgenics… and it should stay that way!”

Since 1990, small cultivations of modified corn exist in Costa Rica, but only and exclusively for investigation, as well as plantations of transgenic cotton, banana, pineapple and soybean, but they are not sold commercially or used for public consumption.

 

More Regional News

Repair Work Advances at Nicoya Hospital After Earthquake

The repair of damaged infrastructure in La Anexion Hospital in Nicoya, after the earthquake of September 5, 2012, has progressed 40% and it is estimated that it could be ready in May.

Proposal to Restructure Management of National Parks and Wildlife Refuges

The Ministry of Environment and Energy (Ministerio de Ambiente y Energía, SITRAMINAE) Workers Union and former Environment deputy minister, Mario Boza, announced that a new law aimed to restructure the management of national parks and wildlife refuges is being drafted.

TSE Pays Thousands of Dollars in Rent While Still Owing Rent to Municipality

Starting this year, the Tribunal Supremo de Elecciones (TSE- Electoral Supreme Court) will pay 1,332,000 colones ($2,664) per month in rent for the offices of the regional branch in Nicoya.

Taxes on “luxury” homes skyrocket up to 10x after readjustment of property values

A readjustment to construction values, made by the Ministry of Hacienda (Tax department), caused the taxes on “luxury homes,” (homes valued at about $234,000 USD and above) to increase between 57%-160% for this year, depending on the type of home.

Chamber of Hotels Parts Ways from CANATUR

The Costa Rican Chamber of Hotels (CCH) separated from the National Chamber of Tourism, CANATUR, for differences regarding the internal organization and after finding out about the poor financial management of the administration.

Lack of Fire Hydrants Causes Problems for Firefighters

“To put out a fire I draw water from the river, the sea, a pool or the well of a friend or neighbor. Here there are no hydrants”, explained Jo Pinheiro, describing the dramatic situation the Nosara firefighters go through when they need water to extinguish fires.

Technical Closure of Nicoyan Cemetery Begins

They finally demolished the boundary wall of the current municipal cemetery, thus initiating the long awaited technical closure.

Costa Ricans Consume 3 Kilograms of Agrochemicals Per Year        

Costa Rica is currently one of the countries that uses large amounts of chemicals in its agricultural production, even using chemicals that are banned in other countries since they pose serious health risks.

Caja Intervenes at Nicoya Hospital for Administrative Mismanagement

The Board of Directors of the Costa Rican Social Security System (CCSS or Caja) decided to intervene starting December 27 at Nicoya’s Hospital de La Anexión for administrative mismanagement that has developed. Therefore there will be a transfer of the medical and financial directors to other venues in order to establish another work team for a year or more, according to the needs of the institution.

New Regulations for Liquor Licenses Should Be In Place By Late January

The Municipality of Nicoya is in the process of applying the new regulation for the commercialization of licenses for alcoholic beverages.

Ticos in the United States: Living the American Dream Has Its Price

We walk from the train station toward a Guatemalan restaurant where we decide to have breakfast. It’s 11 a.m. on a summer day in August, a little late to be eating the first meal of the day, but Sandra, Miguel and Robert requested the day off of work to be with us, and they decided that before opening the doors to their private life, we should get to know each other briefly.

Pictures and News of the Month

The Voice of Nosara brings you a brief recap of December stories you might have missed.

Requesting Permission to Build Will Only Take 30 Days

In general, those who have taken the steps to build a house have had to exercise patience since the process of obtaining all the permits has taken from several months to a year or more in some cases.

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