Delta & Pine and Paraguayan Justice

Accomplices in Immorality

As Delta & Pine Land Company, a leading corporation in the field of cottonseed genetics, production and sales, announced on Monday the 22nd that it had acquired Syngenta’s global cottonseed business, including operations and assets in India, Brazil and Europe, and cotton germplasm in the United States, hundreds of inhabitants of a Paraguayan community are still suffering the consequences of D&PL’s irresponsible and unpunished actions.



In late 1998, the Paraguayan subsidiary of Delta & Pine dumped 660 tons of expired cottonseed over a one-and-half-hectare lot that was 100 meters away from a public school and in the middle of an agricultural community. To carry this out it used local hands, women and young people, who worked without any protection.


The waste contained a total of over 4 tons of agrotoxic substances and a modified bacteria grown in laboratories. The consequences were devastating, and the entire population and the groundwater were contaminated.


Eric Lorenz, US attorney for the company in Paraguay, ran away with his family to the United States, where he is presently working for a company that provides agricultural services. He was declared in contempt by a Paraguayan court, but an order for his arrest and extradition was never issued.


The people of the community organized themselves and, together with IUF, launched a very tough legal battle in 1998, under the utmost indifference of the successive governments of Paraguay, who never even gave proper medical assistance to the victims, in violation of their most basic human rights.







Una victoria judicial sin precedentes

Delta&Pine - Las semillas de la muerte


Por Carlos Amorín y Gerardo Iglesias


Finally, a year and a half ago, and after numerous changes in prosecutors and judges, two Paraguayan individuals connected with Delta & Pine were found guilty and sentenced to prison for a crime against the environment, with the possibility of exchanging their prison sentences for fines. The money –approximately 30,000 dollars– would go to a fund, which the community would determine what it would be used for.


The convicted individuals never went to jail, and they never paid the fines either. In fact, the justice system never actually demanded that they pay the fines. Ana María Segovia, a spokesperson for the affected community of Rincon’í, explained to Rel-UITA that according to information provided by environmental prosecutor Merlo, who tried the case for six years, the enforcement of the sentence is in the hands of prosecutors Beckerman and Marchuc.


Called upon by Segovia, prosecutor Beckerman admitted that she had had the case for the last year and a half but had been unable to notify the convicted individuals of their obligation to pay the fine because her office “had insufficient funds to send such communication.”


In three months, the term granted by the court to enforce its judgment will have expired, precluding any possibility of complaint.


Delta & Pine never paid anything to the hundreds of victims that should have received damages as a partial compensation for their definitely broken lives. These are the ethics and social responsibility of a corporation that controls almost all of the global cottonseed market.


Carlos Amorín

© Rel-UITA

May 30, 2006

Carlos Amorín






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  UITA - Secretaría Regional Latinoamericana - Montevideo - Uruguay

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