Video: Peasants March Against Monsanto Hybrid Seeds in Haiti

The demonstration took place on Friday (struggled to find a decent Internet connection to get the video online until today). A friend of mine got sick and we had to leave Hinche (in Haiti’s Central Plateau) for Port-au-Prince just before they were to burn the seeds in symbolic protest.

Mark Hare, an agronomist from Ohio who’s worked with Mouveman Peyizan Papay for years, explained how Haitian farmers will be roped into a dependence on hybrid Monsanto seeds. Monsanto released an indignant statement responding to the protest the day it took place, insisting the donated seeds won’t hurt Haitian farmers in any way. Further reading here and here.

I didn’t get into it much in the video, but most of the marchers I spoke with also slammed Haitian President Rene Preval for “doing nothing” in response to the earthquake and accepting the seed donation. Wearing straw hats stamped with “Down with Preval” and “Down with Monsanto,” the peasants (young kids, old women, wiry farmers alike) marched from the MPP’s headquarters in Papay for nearly three hours past mango trees and fields to the larger town of Hinche. As they began rallying in the town’s public plaza, I had to go.

I’ll continue following this issue closely, but in the meantime, check out Al Jazeera English’s report looking at the controversy over the seeds.

9 thoughts on “Video: Peasants March Against Monsanto Hybrid Seeds in Haiti

  1. Wonderful action by the people against Monsanto’s evil seeds, only wish I could have been with you all on the march. You have many thousands of supporters around the world who are also campaigning against Monsanto, not only for its control of seed but also for the poisonous Agent Orange it produced and was used on the people and land of Vietnam, resulting in the deaths of many thousands and leaving 4,000,000 suffering from servere disabilities.

    Good luck in your actions.

    Len Aldis. Secretary
    Britain-Vietnam Friendship Society

  2. Good job Ansel. I hope the glitch in FCP got resolved. One hopefully constructive comment, you mentioned the English speaking man in your post and he states his name at the start, but it could help too for you to put a title identifying him in the video when he starts talking because it is hard to catch right at the beginning.

    I liked reading the exchange between you and Carla on the previous post. I think you’re both right. The question is not only for you on how to be an effective journalist and organizer, but also for how readers to be more active too.

    Peace.
    -Matt

    • I wondered if viewers would catch his name or not – thanks for suggestion, Matt (unfortunately, FCP glitch is still there but that’s another story). I think Carla is arriving in Haiti soon so we’ll be continuing that discussion. Hope Austin IMC stuff is going well.

  3. Would it be too much trouble for the authors of this fine article if they avoided the use of the demeaning word, ‘Peasant’. Farmer works better. Vern

    • Thanks for the comment Vern. This is the word that some Haitians use to describe themselves. The English translation of the name of group behind the protest is “Movement of the Peasants of Papay.” Abitan and peyizan are both kreyol words meaning peasant, and I understand that neither have especially negative connotations… though I could be wrong.

  4. For what it’s worth, in Spanish-speaking countries the word “campesino,” which can be translated as “peasant,” means someone who works the land and that’s what people who do that work call themselves, as individuals or as organized groups. People take pride in the work and in being “campesinos.” A farmer is generally someone who owns the land he or she works, while a campesino can be landless. I would guess that something similar is the case in Haiti.

  5. [...] follow the Monsanto seed debate online at MediaHacker or [...]

  6. Monsanto Hater

    ‘Farmer works better’? Demeaning word ‘Peasant’? These Liberals give me a pain in the backside. And well done Mr. Aldis! Monsanto = Agent Orange = Murder!

  7. the latest…

    ‘Chemical Relations: Monsanto and Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation’

    http://blog.buzzflash.com/node/11834

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