(New Yort/Jakarta – 9 February 2006) José Bové, the French farmer who became a leading figure of the worldwide anti-globalisation movement was deported from New York’s airport Wednesday night. He was to attend a conference on Global Companies organised by the Cornell University Labor Center. José Bové is one of the leaders of the Confédération Paysanne in France and of the international farmer’s movement La Via Campesina.
He was sent back to France after the US immigration officials maintained he had lied on his entry application about prior prosecutions for “moral crimes.” Bové admitted he had been jailed in France for “political crimes”, referring to an action against a Mc Donald’s restaurant in Southern France.
José Bové had been invited to the conference in New York to address the public on “Fighting the commodification of food: Via Campesina takes on Monsanto”. Monsanto and other agri-giants have been targeted by the farmers’ movement for decades. They promote a heavy use of agro-chemicals and develop GMO seeds, which has been destroying farmers and consumers’ health and livelihoods.
This conference is taking place while a WTO’s dispute resolution panel is reported to have ruled against the European Commission’s system to delay the commercialisation of genetically engineered crops until further scientific evidence of their environmental and health safety was available. The US, Canada and Argentine, defending the interest of their transnational companies, are challenging the European Commission on this case.
George Naylor, president of the National Family Farm Coalition, the US farmer’s organisation member of La Via Campesina said: “The residents of New York, trade unionists, family farmers, students, and others who planned to attend his four public speaking events have been denied the opportunity to hear José speak the truth about genetically modified organisms and multinational corporations. Our first amendment right of free speech includes the right to hear somebody else’s speech. We are losers, too, not just Jose”.
La Via Campesina denounces the systematic criminalisation of the opposition to the corporate led globalisation. During the WTO ministerial meeting in Hong Kong last December, about a thousand farmers were jailed after protest. Three Korean farmers are still prosecuted by the Hong Kong authorities. The international farmers’ movement asks for people’s right to voice their opposition to the corporate world.
For more information:
Jean-Marc Desfilhes tel +33-5-6186-1622 cell phone: +33-6-85679733