How The US Is Bullying El Salvador Into Using Monsanto's GMO Seeds

Jeff Ritterman | Huffington Post | June 23, 2014

The crowd was jubilant. Ecuadoran President Rafael Correa waved triumphantly to the thousands who filled the open air convention center. He walked down the red carpet just a few meters away from us to thunderous applause.  We were honored guests at the inauguration of Salvadoran President Salvador Sanchez Ceren and Vice President Oscar Ortiz. Both the incoming President and Vice President had been Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front (FMLN) military commanders during the civil war. They had fought the oligarchy for power militarily for more than a decade. On March 9, they won at the ballot box by the slimmest of margins.

Honored guests indeed. Three seats to my right sat Manlio Argueta, winner of the Casa de Las Americas Prize, Latin America's most prestigious literary award. In addition to being a novelist and a distinguished poet, Mr. Argueta is a committed social activist. His book One Day of Life is a harrowing tale of the brutal repression meted out to El Salvador's campesinos.

Several seats to my left sat Dr. Charlie Clements, an American doctor, who provided medical care to the thousands of Salvadoran campesinos living in the Guazapa volcano region during the height of the war. Charlie's account of his year in Guazapa, Witness to War is a chronicle of severe deprivation, chronic hardship, brutality and tragedy. It is also a chronicle of enormous bravery, profound commitment and enduring hope. The book was made into a movie of the same name, which won the Oscar for best short documentary in 1986. My partner, Vivien Feyer, and I had the pleasure of accompanying Charlie to Guazapa two days before the inauguration...