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A Latin American Awakening and Monsanto
There is still time to sign up for my trip to Peru in December and/or Guatemala in January to experience some of this for yourself. Space is limited: http://www.johnperkins.org/trips/
Peru in December, 2014: http://www.johnperkins.org/peru-trip-december-2014/
Guatemala in January, 2015: http://www.johnperkins.org/a-journey-to-the-lands-of-the-maya-guatemala/
By John Perkins
The “Monsanto Law”
I’ve often talked about the corporatocracy (governments and corporations,) that is working to maximize profits at the expense of people and the earth, and how it are ruthlessly exploiting its prey. I spent a great deal of my time as an economic hit man (EHM) in Latin America laying the groundwork for the corporatocracy to get its way: cheap resources and control of governments. The leaders of these countries did what was demanded of them – or paid the price when the CIA sent jackals to assassinate recalcitrant leaders or helped stage political coups.
As I wrote in my recent post concerning CAFTA (“Free-Trade:” A Death Economy Next Door,) the so-called “Free Trade” agreements have done nothing to help the majority of people in Latin countries but have done a great deal to line the pockets of the already powerful. Because the “free-trade” agreement, CAFTA- DR (in 2004 CAFTA became CAFTA-DR when the Dominican Republic joined the other nations,) binds Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, the Dominican Republic, and the United States together, the actions of any one country can have a ripple effect on the others and the whole region.
One of the requirements of being a member of CAFTA-DR is the enforcement of the “Monsanto Law.” This law, due to go into effect in Guatemala in late September, would essentially require all farmers there, whether large corporate operations or individual peasant farms, to obtain permission from producers of transgenic seed (seeds that have been genetically modified: GMO’s), such as Monsanto, before they can grow any food. The law in essence creates a monopoly by huge, multi-national companies – the corporatocracy – that gives them a legal way to exploit a country’s resources.
Monsanto is one of the multinational companies that is seeking to take advantage of the wonderful growing climate and minimal accountability of Latin American nations. It’s not the only one, but is one of the largest and most aggressive. The stated goal of the law is to ensure that local companies aren’t always favored over foreign companies, but in reality it puts local farmers and seed companies in jeopardy.
Studies have shown the horrible impact of Monsanto’s use of glyphosate in its pesticidal product RoundUp, which is extensive on Latin American soil, poisoning the earth, plants, animals, and people. Furthermore, in efforts to grow more and more of the modified corn and soy crops, large swathes of lush forest have been razed for fields.
Pesticides like this have been designed to kill everything except the bio-engineered GMO soy, corn, and other crops. Because the poison can kill plant cells, it is likely that it also kills human cells. We know that as human beings on this tiny planet we are also connected to the plant kingdom, and what happens to the plants around us also impacts us dramatically.
Two Central American countries that are not generally considered to be leaders in the progressive or democratic movements have recently taken admirable stands in favor of their people and in attempts to rein in the corporatocracy.
The corporatocracy almost won this battle, but it looks like the tables have turned in Central America in a historic decision by Guatemala just this summer. When I travel to the beautiful lands of Latin America, I see this damage and turmoil with my own eyes, and it is a powerful and transformative experience for me and those who travel with me. (More info on trips.) We also see the joy of awakening as the people there begin to stir.
Guatemalans have woken up in time to stop the “Monsanto Law” from ruining even more lives in their country. They know that this law does not benefit them, and that it in fact threatens them with more poverty, starvation, and tragedy. They’ve seen the terrible effects of these giant companies not only economically, but also physically, when the land and the people have been poisoned by pesticides and forests have been ravaged by GMO crops.
Late in August, the Guatemalan government suspended the “Monsanto Law,” scheduled to go into effect in mid-September of this year, in response to the outcry of its citizens. That government is now working to support the local farmers over the multinational corporations and other governments crying to make a profit out of them.
It is worth noting that the US seems also to be using the CAFTA-DR agreement in a positive way — to ensure that Guatemala enforces labor laws that are already in place, as the country has recently had complaints of poor working conditions. When we use our power to impact people positively, it gives hope for our future. The US needs to continue influencing change in this way instead of caving in to greedy interests.
In El Salvador, EHM methods have long been applied for advancing the corporatocracy’s interests at the expense of the citizens. By using economic blackmail (threatening to withhold millions of dollars in promised aid,) to force the country to buy seeds from GMO giant Monsanto instead of from local El Salvadorian farmers, the US is not only further damaging the economy there but also elevating the threat of very real health dangers from the poisonous chemicals patented by the multinational company.
According to polls, the people of El Salvador do not support this policy and are clamoring to follow Guatemala’s example, but because the US and large corporations stand to gain, the pressure being put upon the government is immense. The people are waking up, and it is incumbent on us to wake up and join with them in this crusade against Big Agriculture.
Wake up for Latin America
Despite our knowledge of the dangers of Monsanto’s pesticides and genetically modified seeds, the US is promoting those interests at the expense of poorer nations. Now that we have knowledge of the economic impact these laws and agreements and others like them have on local populations – it is a responsibility that we cannot ignore.
The Guatemalan people are waking up, working together and making themselves heard by their government. El Salvador seems to be right behind them. These are two countries with violent and undemocratic histories, and they still have a long way to go in this regard. Yet, they have begun a critical process and today they are setting an example. When we travel to Guatemala, and Peru, in a few months, our group will experience first-hand the many shifts occurring south of our border and be able to bring these lessons home to the US and our own communities. (Trips info here.)
The corporatocracy has acted irresponsibly around the world for years, including Latin America. These countries and their people are our neighbors and co-inhabitants on this space ship home of ours. When we come together, join hands, and use the votes we have as consumers and investors We the People have the power to convince the giant companies and governments to serve rather than exploit us. Let’s continue to wake up.
October 3-6, 2014: London- Plant Consciousness
October 9-19, 2014: Romania – Pachamama Romania
December 6-16, 2014: Peru – Journey to Peru
January 16-23, 2015: Guatemala – A Journey to the Lands of the Maya
February 20-22, 2015: Pendle Hill, PA – Dream Change workshop with Charles Eisenstein
“Free-Trade:” A Death Economy Next Door
By John Perkins
For upcoming events and trips, please see the notes at the bottom of this newsletter.
I am in Ecuador, having just spent nearly three weeks deep in the Amazon rainforests as one of the leaders of trips sponsored by Dream Change and the Pachamama Alliance. In addition to all the concerns in this country over the devastation caused by oil and mining companies, I’ve heard a great deal about the crises in Central America.
Central America is far from peaceful and prosperous; the problems there are brought home to us in the US very vividly in the faces of the immigrant women and children who are being shipped around the States and back home by the busload. Our share of the responsibility for their plight cannot be ignored any longer. We have fueled and empowered the corporatocracy for decades, and the resulting power struggles and imbalances have destroyed local economies and caused unimaginable loss of life.
The so-called “free-trade agreements” such as NAFTA and CAFTA were forced on the countries of Central America by the US government and the corporatocracy by people with the job I once had, economic hit men. They were supposedly done to spur economic growth in Canada, the US, and Central America. But the architects of these agreements knew that the rich would get richer, and that the poor would get poorer. These kinds of agreements between often-corrupt governments (including the US’s) and corporations do not allow for tariffs and other barriers for imports that protect local farmers and businessmen. Instead they allow the US to subsidize US interests. These interests include huge subsidies to corn and cotton growers who then sell their products in Central America for less than the farmers there can sell to their own neighbors. This kind of imbalance has devastated lives and destroyed Central American economies. These agreements exist to expand corporate rights, at the expense of human rights.
Before we support policies that send busloads of children back to their countries of origin, we must acknowledge our role in their situation. The policies we have put in place have been carefully crafted to benefit the already rich and powerful and to devastate those who most need opportunity, security, and a future. When economic policies were not enough to control a regime, the US and the corporatocracy did not hesitate to use military might. Our history bears witness to our repeated invasions of our neighbors: Cuba, Nicaragua, Guatemala, Granada, and Haiti for example, as well as the overthrow of governments or assassination of leaders who dared to give power back to the people and implement social changes. As described in “Confessions of an Economic Hit Man” I was involved in such activities in the country where I am now located, Ecuador, as well as many others.
Central America is home to indigenous cultures that value community over individual profit, and in many villages the people have come together to farm and harvest and produce what the whole village needs. The “free-trade” agreements harm the ability of these organizations, causing wide-spread poverty and, in turn, the large numbers of immigrants crossing the US/Mexico border. These imbalances, along with our draconian CIA policies toward the governments of Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador, have caused the immigration problem we are experiencing today. I talk to Central Americans all the time while traveling in Latin America and also when at my home in the United States in Spanish, and few of them really want to be here. They would rather be back in their homelands, but their economies have totally failed.
People are waking up to these problems. The revolution in consciousness is helping people in the United States, and around the world, wake up to the terrible injustices that US policies have caused. Young people throughout Latin America are taking action towards a better future, one that keeps their families together and provides economic opportunity for the communities. When we see them migrating to the US, we should hear their message. Our policies should be to help them create a “Life Economy”; when we do this we also move out of a “Death Economy” and create a “Life Economy” for ourselves.
September 5-7, 2014: Workshop at Omega Institute with Barbara Marx Hubbard
In this transformational workshop, two pioneers of social change lead us through the mysteries of global evolution. Through shamanistic practice, John Perkins and Barbara Marx Hubbard help us realize our life’s highest purpose and soar to new heights of consciousness.
For registration and further information, visit:
Friday, October 3rd – “Be The Change Symposium” – October Gallery, – part of The Pachamama Alliance’s “Up To Us” program
Saturday, October 4th – John presenting on “Sacred Plants, Shapeshifting & The Consciousness Revolution” as part of Plant Consciousness One-day Conference,
Sunday, October 5th – One-day Workshop with John – “Shapeshifting Yourself & The Planet,”
Full information & tickets -on all of these – www.plantconsciousness.com
Monday October 6th – Special Evening Talk at Alternatives- “Dreaming A New World – Indigenous Shaman Meets Economic Hit Man”
Information and tickets – http://alternativesevents.org.uk/?p=5462
December 6 – 16, 2014
Journey to Peru with John Perkins and Daniel Koupermann
January 16th – 23rd, 2015
A Journey to the Lands of the Maya: Guatemala
Shapeshifting into Higher Consciousness with John Perkins and Daniel Koupermann
The Neo-Cold War Battle Ground: Strange Bedfellows
By John Perkins
Originally published by CSRwire.com: http://www.csrwire.com/blog/posts/1416-emergence-of-a-neo-cold-war-battle-ground-strange-bedfellows
For more information on my upcoming event in London, please see the notes at the bottom of this newsletter.
A Neo-Cold War is brewing. We’ve witnessed it in Russia’s tense relationship with the US over Ukraine and Crimea and in China’s determination to gain economic leverage in countries where Washington and Wall Street have ruled supreme for decades. To add to this situation, conflicts in the Middle East have escalated. Islamic militarism has become a force to be reckoned with by many nations, including Russia, China, and the US.
I want to emphasize that this militancy is not an Islamic movement any more than the US invasion of Iraq was a Christian movement. Religion is simply an excuse for fanatics to justify their radical use of violence – whether they invoke the name of Christ or Mohammed. It is important that We the People not buy into the propaganda of such fanatics.
Russia and China are flexing their muscles and challenging the superpower status of the US by forming agreements and organizations such as the BRICS Development Bank (A New Era: BRICS Development Bank). In the midst of these shifts of power, there is a significant additional factor in the geopolitical equation. Islamic militants in the Middle East, particularly in Iraq and Syria right now, are proving to be formidable adversaries. Muslim fighters have beaten back history’s most well-financed and best-equipped military in Iraq and Afghanistan. Despite both overt and covert activities by Washington, Moscow, and Peking to influence Middle Eastern politics, these militants have gained or are gaining control in Iran, Egypt, Turkey, Syria, and many other countries. For the moment, the animosity between Sunnis and Shi’ites is preventing a unified Islamic movement; nevertheless, the Islamists have established themselves as major players.
The situation in Iraq is forming unlikely alliances between nations usually at odds. As China, Russia, and the US seek to retain their powerful status and increase their economic influence, they find that they have much in common. Even very recent adversaries such as the US and Iran are now seeking collaboration, and US Secretary of State John Kerry recently said that the US is willing to talk with Iran about an alliance against the Islamic radicals who are leaving a bloody trail behind them as they blaze across Iraq. However, this global game of chess grows more complicated as Iran is also in talks with China and Russia that do not involve the US. Nations that are pursuing their own goals and serving their own interests instead of seeking to promote peace across borders will find that they are more vulnerable to bloodshed. Behind all of this lurk the corporatocracy and the fortunes it makes off war and the threat of war.
By conservative estimates the U.S. has military bases in more than 130 countries. Despite what the American public is told, the majority of the people in these countries deeply resent the presence of foreign soldiers and installations on their soil. The Middle East has a long history of resentment toward Western intrusion and influence, and the fractured relationship that the US has with so much of the world threatens Washington’s credibility as an ally to nations that fear the violence of Islamic radicalism.
The conflict in Iraq is part of a complex and bloody history. Though the US pulled troops out of Iraq in 2011, more than a decade of occupation has left a ground fertile for sectarian violence. President Obama is laying the responsibility for the recent uprising by militant Sunnis on the shoulders of the Iraqi government, calling for them to set aside factional differences before the US will consider intervening. This tone is naïve and ignores the role that US interference played in setting the stage for violence. While the US is refusing to send “boots on the ground” into the area, President Obama has agreed to dispatch 300 “military advisors” and has not ruled out air strikes and drones under the condition that Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki will create a “more inclusive government.” Such blatant self-service will only fan the flames of unrest and is not likely to be helpful in stopping the slaughter.
As I’ve previously written in these pages, today we have what can only be described as a global Death Economy – one based on militarization and ravaging the earth’s resources. It is a feudal system that harks back to medieval times – the Dark Ages – but on a far grander scale. A very small portion of the human species, the corporatocracy, represents the lords of the castles; the rest of us are their serfs. An ominous shadow of oligarchic totalitarianism has spread across our planet. That shadow embraces Russia and China, as well as the US/EU. While it also reaches into the Muslim world, the militant Islamic movements’ determination to resist what they see as capitalist corruption has the unintended consequence of uniting Washington and its European allies with Moscow and Peking in a strange, uneasy, and unspoken alliance. Although these powers may vie for control of resource-rich countries, they view the Islamist extremists as a common enemy.
The current conflict is forcing powerful nations to acquire strange bedfellows. This present global reality is forcing governments and corporations to look beyond themselves, to redraw boundaries, and to reconsider preconceived notions of leadership.
Upcoming Events in London:
October 3-5, 2014
Speaking events and workshop in London
At Regents’ University Conference Centre, London
• Friday, October 3rd: Talk on Confessions of an Economic Hitman
• Saturday, October 4th: “Sacred plants, Shapeshifting, and Consciousness Revolution”
• Sunday, October 5th: Workshop: “Shapeshifting Yourself and the Planet”
Early Bird Tickets may still be available: http://plantconsciousness.com/book-my-tickets.html
Workshop Tickets: http://plantconsciousness.com/workshop-with-john-perkins.html
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