Search

 

Cablegate: Nicaragua: Ngo Attempts to Advance

VZCZCXYZ0014
RR RUEHWEB

DE RUEHMU #2499 3171834
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 131834Z NOV 06
FM AMEMBASSY MANAGUA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 8191
INFO RUEHZA/WHA CENTRAL AMERICAN COLLECTIVE

UNCLAS MANAGUA 002499

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

STATE FOR WHA/CEN, WHA/EPSC, AND OES

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: TBIO EAID ECON ETRD EAGR KIPR NU
SUBJECT: NICARAGUA: NGO ATTEMPTS TO ADVANCE
ANTI-BIOTECHNOLOGY AGENDA


Sensitive but Unclassified. Please protect accordingly.

1. (SBU) Summary: In recent weeks, the Nicaraguan-based
environmental NGO, Centro Humboldt, has stepped up its
campaign against the distribution of "biotech food" by the
World Food Program (WFP) and Project Concern International
(PCI). While the campaign failed to elicit public support,
it was launched on the eve of national elections, suggesting
that the group was trying to attract the attention of
candidates and possible new legislators. Humboldt introduced
an anti-biotechnology bill in the National Assembly in 2005,
but a series of USDA-led educational programs, targeting key
legislators and GON officials, armed law makers with the
knowledge they needed to defeat the bill and to introduce a
pro-biotechnology bill. International food aid distributors
working in Nicaragua predict that Centro Humboldt will
attempt to persuade newly elected officials to vote against
the pro-biotechnology bill. Food aid distributors are ready
to renew efforts to educate the new government about
biotechnology. End Summary.

2. (U) In recent weeks, the Nicaraguan-based environmental
NGO, Centro Humboldt, stepped up its campaign against the
distribution of "biotech food" by the World Food Program
(WFP) and Project Concern International (PCI). Centro
Humboldt propaganda, appearing in local magazines, on
television, and in fliers throughout the capital, accused WFP
and PCI of distributing food "contaminated by dangerous
transgenic organisms." Centro Humboldt is demanding that the
National Assembly pass an anti-biotechnology law to block the
import of all transgenic organisms into Nicaragua. It is
also demanding that WFP and PCI stop importing "risky
transgenic food" and, instead, buy from domestic producers.

3. (SBU) While the campaign failed to elicit public support,
it was launched on the eve of national elections, suggesting
that Centro Humboldt was trying to attract the attention of
candidates and possible new legislators. Humboldt introduced
an anti-biotechnology bill in the National Assembly in 2005,
but a series of USDA-led educational programs, targeting key
legislators and GON officials, armed law makers with the
knowledge they needed to defeat the bill and to introduce a
pro-biotechnology bill. Ministry of Health insiders assured
Econoff that the pro-biotechnology bill would pass if it were
to go before the National Assembly before the end of the
year. Insiders doubt, however, that the bill will be
presented before year-end and predict that it will probably
have to be voted on by the new crop of legislators arriving
in January.

4. (U) In an October 10th USAID-facilitated meeting,
representatives from five international agencies working in
Nicaragua unanimously agreed that the current
anti-biotechnology campaign was more designed to influence
future GON officials than it was the general public.
Catholic Relief Services, Adventist Development and Relief
Agency, PCI, Save the Children USA, and WFP agreed that any
public attempt to counter the campaign would only attract
media attention to Centro Humboldt, providing it with a
platform to disemminate its message. Food distributors
adopted a wait-and-see posture, anticipating that after the
elections, Centro Humboldt would seek to persuade newly
elected officials to vote against the pro-biotechnology bill.
Food aid distributors are ready to renew efforts to educate
the new government about biotechnology. (Comment: The
Sandinista Liberation Front (FSLN), which won the Presidency
in the November 5 election, does not have a public position
on biotechnology although the party is ideologically linked
and often sympathetic to Humboldt positions. End Comment.)
BRENNAN

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
World Headlines

 

OECD: COVID-19 Crisis Puts Migration And Progress On Integration At Risk, Says

Watch the live webcast of the press conference Migration flows have increased over the past decade and some progress has been made to improve the integration of immigrants in the host countries. But some of these gains may be erased by the COVID-19 pandemic ... More>>


Pacific Media Watch: How Pacific Environmental Defenders Are Coping With The Covid Pandemic

SPECIAL REPORT: By Sri Krishnamurthi of Pacific Media Watch Pacific Climate Warriors - creative action to trigger better responses to climate crisis. Image: ... More>>

Reporters Without Borders: Julian Assange’s Extradition Hearing Marred By Barriers To Open Justice

After monitoring four weeks of evidence in the US extradition proceedings against Wikileaks publisher Julian Assange, Reporters Without Borders (RSF) reiterates concern regarding the targeting of Assange for his contributions to journalism, and calls ... More>>

OHCHR: Stranded Migrants Need Safe And Dignified Return – UN Migrant Workers Committee

The UN Committee on Migrant Workers has today called on governments to take immediate action to address the inhumane conditions of migrant workers who are stranded in detention camps and ensure they can have an orderly, safe and dignified return to ... More>>