Friday, August 1, 2014

[biofuelwatch] 175 Paraguayan Farmers Poisoned by Fumigations

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The bodies of the two girls victims of the fumigations on Tuesday (FNC)

The number of victims of fumigations in the northern region of Paraguay has increased.

The number of victims of toxic fumigations perpetrated by the agro-exportation industry in Curuguaty state, in the north of Paraguay, reached 175 this Sunday.

​The figure includes the death of two girls on Monday night, according to the Hospital of Curuguaty district.

The Health Ministry sent a team to the state to attend to other potential victims, as well as to confirm the role of fumigation in the issue. Victims are experiencing acute pain, convulsions and vomiting, according to health authorities.

The government has denied the role of fumigation in the deaths, after autopsies were performed on the two girls, and blamed a respiratory infection.

Demonstrations have followed the death of the two sisters, one of whom was six months old, and the other three years old. 

Protestors announced they would continue protesting on Monday, including with road blocks.

They demand a serious investigation into the situation, and a better response to the impunity of the major land-owners of the country, who do not comply with environmental laws on fumigations.

The agrochemicals in the pesticides used in soy farming in the country – which represents eight million hectares according to the producers – have been responsible for numerous malformed babies, undesired abortions, as well as diseases, tumors and deaths, according to the National Peasant Federation (FNC).

The FNC has stated that about 60 million liters of agrochemicals are being used each year in the country, and human communities and water systems are affected. 

A well of water in the middle of soy fields, on an indigenous land.

A well on an indigenous land in the middle of soy fields ​(Photo: BASE Investigaciones Sociales).

The agrochemicals used include the famous Roundup produced by the transnational company, Monsanto, which the Paraguayan government has allowed to commercialize many more GMOs and agrochemicals since the coup against left-wing President Fernando Lugo in 2012.

The state of Curuguaty, where the health disaster is occuring, was also at the heart of the 2012 tragedy that saw 17 deaths in a confrontation between peasants claiming their land and policemen, in the lead up to the "parliamentary coup" against Lugo.


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