Monsanto, Mexican government caught in the act

Sept. 10, 2013

Monsanto's Panicky Letter to Mexican Government 
Leak reveals cozy corporate-government relationship

In response to a fake press release by activists last month, it has been revealed that the President of Monsanto Mexico wrote a lengthy email to the head of Mexico's Agriculture ministry, SAGARPA, in which he assured the minister that "all of us at Monsanto do understand the importance of information remaining confidential, and based on a message that has been developed in accordance with the requirements and demands of the Federal Government and each of the Secretariats that safeguard the interests of Mexican land."

The fake Monsanto release, emailed to hundreds of journalists by an activist group named Sin Maíz No Hay Vida, working together with the Yes Lab, announced that the company had received the Mexican government's authorization to plant 440,000 hectares of patented, genetically modified corn in Mexico—the first time GM corn will have been planted on a large commercial scale in Mexico. Monsanto is indeed applying to the government for the authorization, but SAGARPA is still considering whether to approve it. The consequences of approval, scientists and activists believe, would be dire, and the fake release was intended as a warning for those concerned about Mexico's future.

In the leaked letter (journalists may contact the real Monsanto México or SAGARPA for confirmation), the President of Monsanto Latinoamérica Norte, Manuel J. Bravo Pereyra, condemns the activists for their "reprehensible" action, and promises the head of SAGARPA that all "confidential information" will be developed in cahoots with the government. Bravo Pereyra closes by “reiterat[ing] our promise to continue collaborating with the authorities in the process of obtaining the authorization that will allow us to use these seeds commercially,” and then blows the minister a kiss in the form of “an affectionate greeting in the name of all of us at Monsanto.”

It was already clear before this leak surfaced that the action had struck a nerve with the company. On Twitter, Monsanto lambasted anyone who shared the story. On their company blog, they ungrammatically but lengthily denounced the hoax. And behind closed doors, Bravo Pereyra sent the groveling letter to the man who is currently deciding whether Monsanto should be allowed to monopolize corn.

Please visit the Yes Lab for full text and translation of the letter, and to learn more about mobilizations against Monsanto.