Isbel Diaz Torres
HAVANA TIMES — Once again, Cuban TV has brought up the subject of GM crops on its “Pasaje a lo Desconocido” show, where two experts on the subject, with opposite views, discussed the impact of this technology, which has been present in Cuba for some time now.
As a special feature, the presenter Taladrid invited viewers who took part in a similar debate that went over the same subject he and his guests had on a radio broadcast, but where they also included questions from those listening to the show.
That’s when it came to me that I should write a list of interesting questions to put forward to these experts, some of which we could actually ask; and I want to share these with you now. Here they are:
- How many square hectares or km of GM crops are being sowed in Cuba? And, how many square hectares or km are expected to be dedicated to GM crops in the next 10 years?
- Where can Cuban citizens who don’t want to eat GM crops go to to express their disapproval?
- Why is the production of GM crops legal in Cuba if this goes against the Cochabamba Declaration, which our country signed?
- With GM crops spreading in Cuba, will the Government give up on developing eco-friendly and sustainable farming? Which kind of farming will have the most land dedicated to it?
- Do Cuban agroecologists approve of the extensive use of GMOs?
- The Bayer Company recently bought the multinational company Monsanto… and Bayer has been carrying out chemical tests in Cuban fields for years now. Wouldn’t this be a way in for Monsanto’s seeds and pesticides?
- Is it true that the majority of studies accepted about the level of toxicity of GMOs are carried out by the same companies who produce GMOs? Isn’t there a conflict of interest there?
- Are there independent studies that prove the harmlessness of GM crops? Can you cite some please?
- Documents recently discredited by the FDA in the US have pointed out the fact that this organization has ignored reports from scientists warning about the LACK of safety of GMOs for years. Would Cuba change its position with regard to GMOs, given these findings?
- Is it true that one of the Nobel prize laureates who signed the letter in favor of GMOs, Jose Ramos-Horta, former president of East Timor, also supported the US invasion of Iraq in 2003?
- Is it true that two of the Nobel prize laureates who signed the letter in favor of GMOs, Richard Roberts and Phillip Sharp, are also businessmen in the biotechnology sector?
- Can having vast areas of single-crop farming based on the use of pesticides be regarded as ecologically sustainable development?
- Are there any alternative methods in Cuba for controlling pests and disease in crops other than GM pesticides?
- Is it true that over 300 scientists, responding to a call by the European Network of Scientists for Social and Environmental Responsibility, rejected the idea that GMOs are safe for agroecosystems or human beings?
- In almost 30 years of research and 20 years of commercialization, has genetic engineering been able to significantly increase crop yields in the US?
- Is it true that Cuban farmers used to sow GM corn in Cuba before this was an officially accepted practice?
- Which companies are sowing GM crops on a large scale in Cuba?
- Is Cuban GM corn resistant to any specific weed-killer? Is it produced in Cuba? Is it a chemical or biological weed-killer?
- Does Cuba label GM products which the Cuban people consume?
In spite of it being almost impossible to get in touch with the radio station, and in spite of the journalist, who led the discussion (Reinaldo Taladrid), using up almost all of the time on the show with unsubstantial comments, the experts only responded to one of these questions: the first one.
In my next post, we will take a look at their response and their many silences.