Monsanto and Foreign Aid: Forcing El Salvador’s Hand

U.S. foreign aid is expected to promote poverty alleviation and facilitate developmental growth in impoverished countries. Yet, corporations and special interest groups have permeated even the most well-intended of U.S. policies.

(Photo: sakhorn38 /
(Photo: sakhorn38 /

El Salvador is a recent example of corporate domination in U.S. foreign aid. The United States will withhold the Millennium Challenge Compact aid deal, approximately $277 million in aid, unless El Salvador purchases genetically-modified seeds from biotech giant, Monsanto.[1] The Millennium Challenge Corporation is “a U.S. foreign aid agency that was created by the U.S. Congress in January 2004,”[2] according to Sustainable Pulse, and serves as a conduit for foreign aid funds. MCC’s unethical aid conditions would force El Salvador to purchase controversial seeds from the American biotech corporation instead of purchasing non-GMO seeds from the country’s local farmers[3] – an action that would have negative effects on El Salvador’s agricultural industry in addition to presenting serious health and environmental risks.

The conditional foreign aid from MCC is an attempt to break into El Salvador’s non-GMO agricultural sector and exploit the food market. Because El Salvador has high food insecurity, it imports 85% of its food. This allows U.S. foreign aid organizations to take advantage of the dire need for their own monetary gain. The United States used similar aid policies in Haiti to force open Haiti’s agricultural market for U.S. food products – effectively destroying Haiti’s agricultural economy and creating an overreliance on food aid.[4]

However, at least one ranking individual is pushing back against predatory aid in El Salvador. Ricardo Navarro, President of the El Salvadoran Center for Appropriate Technologies, states, “I would like to tell the U.S. ambassador to stop pressuring the Government (of El Salvador) to buy ‘improved’ GM seeds,” and hopes that the El Salvadoran government does not bend to U.S. pressure.[5]

El Salvador recently banned glyphosate and other chemicals in September 2013 – at the same time the MCC stopped the aid package process until “’specific’ economic and environmental reforms were made.”[6] Glyphosate herbicide is a fundamental chemical for Monsanto’s genetically-modified crops, but poses serious toxicity concerns.[7] As a result, El Salvador appears to be the most recent victim of U.S. ‘trade wars’ against countries that oppose Monsanto.[8] France – who was working to ban a Monsanto crop – was “requested to be ‘penalized’ by the United States for opposing Monsanto and genetically modified foods.”[9] Hungary and even the Vatican are also targeted by U.S. foreign policy for being anti-GMO, according to documents released by Wikileaks.[10] Despite Monsanto’s GMO crops that pose serious health and environmental risks, U.S. officials continue to push Monsanto’s agenda in domestic and foreign policies.

Due to powerful lobbying by corporate giants like Monsanto, in addition to the shipping and agricultural industries, the U.S. government’s foreign aid program has become an encroaching business. Just when the U.S. foreign aid program couldn’t appear to be more corrupt, the Millennium Challenge Corporation, U.S. Congress, and Monsanto have raised the bar.


[1] “US pressures El Salvador to buy Monsanto’s GMO seeds,” RT, June 10, 2014, accessed June 11, 2014,; “U.S. Government Ties El Salvador USD 277 M Aid Package to Monsanto’s GMO Seeds,” Sustainable Pulse, June 8, 2014, accessed June 11, 2014,

[2] “U.S. Government Ties El Salvador USD 277 M Aid Package to Monsanto’s GMO Seeds.”

[3] Ibid; “US pressures El Salvador to buy Monsanto’s GMO seeds.”

[4] Haiti Grassroots Watch, “HAITI: Aid or Trade? The Nefarious Effects of U.S. Policies,” GlobalResearch, November 6, 2013, accessed June 11, 2014,

[5] “U.S. Government Ties El Salvador USD 277 M Aid Package to Monsanto’s GMO Seeds.”

[6] “US pressures El Salvador to buy Monsanto’s GMO seeds.”

[7] Ibid.

[8] Anthony Gucciardi, “Leaked: US to Start ‘Trade Wars’ with Nations Opposed to Monsanto, GMO crops,” Natural Society, January 3, 2012, accessed June 11, 2014,

[9] Ibid.

[10] Allison Crawford, “Monsanto Launches ‘Trade Wars’ on Opposing Nations,” Health Wire, September 12, 2012, accessed June 11, 2014,

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Jon Mitchell

Jon Mitchell is an independent writer working to cultivate experience in foreign policy and political-military analysis. He is pursuing his Masters degree in public policy, with a concentration in international affairs. Areas of interest and study include Russia, Africa and international conflict resolution. 

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  • V_ger

    This is an abomination of our own foreign policy. It is clear to see from this action exactly whom our government works for, corporate interests. I can’t understand why americans aren’t outraged over this bullying of foreign governments to force their acceptance of Monsanto’s poison. This is an outrage!

    • tamarque

      My issue with your post is that we are talking about policy of the corporations and the gov’t it bought. It is not “our” policy; it is theirs. And it works at our expense and to our disadvantage. I think that people need to distance themselves from the workings of the govt and change their language to reflect that. What we need to do if figure out to gain control of the govt so it really is ours.

      • V_ger

        That would be fine except for the fact that we are compliant when we vote for these same people who make such laws, and apathetically in concert with them when we refuse to vote at all. It’s ours.. We own it either way.

        • tamarque

          Clearly a major problem. Without getting too extreme, it seems we need to support the candidates that seem to speak truth to power. Eliz Warren is a current one. Dennis Kucinich was another. Teachout, in NY, would have been a third example. We need to find ways to push for Fair Election processes and get people like these who stand for a populist agenda. I also was really ticked by the absence of real push against Obama when he dropped Single Payer and then dropped a Public Option. Elected people are always subject to pressure from the corporate owners and their money. We, the people, have numbers and need to learn to use them more effectively.

  • Mike Lashewitz

    Crimes against humanity.

    • Maintaining an archaic agricultural system that cant even feed its own people is indeed bad but not a crime against humanity. Preventing farming from even having a choice to grow GMOS is farm fascism. The anti-biotech zealots are indeed deadly and should be charged for their crimes.

      • Using government coercion to pushing a barbaric and dangerous frankenfood on people is a crime against humanity. The pro-GMO zealots are indeed deadly and should be charged for their crimes.

        • no what is barbaric is you opinion on scientific consensus. I looked at your comments on discuss. You are a full blown conspiracy theorist spewing anti-vax, anti-gmo and anti-flouride batshittery. Kindly fuck off and never reply to my comments again you hack.

          • hyperzombie

            Ten bonus points for using “batshittery” correctly in a sentence.

          • It is instructive that you feel it necessary to resort entirely to ad hominem argumentation to support your position.

      • tamarque

        Huh? GMO’s are devised to control the world via its food supply. That IS Fascism and is a crime against humanity.

  • Observant

    Not a coincidence that the people being brought into the USA are from El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala… The people who are arriving on US border say they are fleeing political unrest and instability… SSDD (Same Stuff, Different Day)… CIA/Monsanto creates a problem, foists it off on the USA, reaps profits, people everywhere suffer, and US taxpayers pay the price. Disgusting! WHEN will people wake up to this pattern?!!?

  • Jacqueleen

    Isn’t this Bill Gates’ baby? And, they refuse to believe that the ultra-rich run things in the world.

    • Seachase

      Obama is a huge supporter of GMO’s.

      • Jacqueleen

        Yes, because he follows orders……from his bosses, one of which is Bill Gates, who practically owns Monsanto.

  • tamarque

    Many people do not like Rima Laibow and her ret. gen’l husband but no one, to my knowledge, has contradicted the information they put out. A number of years ago Laibow video’d a speech she gave on the Codex Alimentarius. One of the salient points is that Codex began as an idea of the defeated Nazi’s and their effort to control the world. This time round the idea was to control the world thru food–control food and you control life. In 1962, if memory serves, the UN created the Codex Alimentarius with the benign sounding goal of ensuring a minimum amount of food for the world’s people. Depending on your emphasis when reading this, you will see that if can mean ensuring at least a minimum amount, or it can read only a minimum amount. Subsistence living has many effects: it causes starvation and death; it weakens people so they cannot fight back; it renders poor nations dependent on those with more resources.

    This article is an excellent example of the outcome of policies designed to make nations economically subservient to Western corporate powers. The Codex, btw, supports GMO agriculture and belittles real nutrition. It also attacks natural health protocols and real food based nutrition.

  • The response from monsanto and the embassy

  • Heaven forbid we post industrial nations should make superior tools available to developing nations so they may experience a green revolution, increase exports and GDP growth. El Salvador’s Agriculture and entire economy is under world scrutiny as refugees flea for their lives. The anti-gmo fearmongers stand resolute in their unfounded allegations against Monsanto, GMOs and biotech. Death before Transgenics. It seems they have gotten their wish.

    • Seachase

      Monsanto is trying to have complete control over the world food supply by forcing farmers everywhere to buy only their seed. You call that food security? The insects these pesticide soaked crops are designed to combat are already evolving to the point the GMO companies are having to apply ever deadlier and toxic poisons to the world’s land.

      • Do you have any proof of those assertions? Citation please.

        • Impacts of genetically engineered crops on pesticide use in the U.S.–the first sixteen years

          Contrary to often-repeated claims that today’s genetically-engineered crops have, and are reducing pesticide use, the spread of glyphosate-resistant weeds in herbicide-resistant weed management systems has brought about substantial increases in the number and volume of herbicides applied.

          • Pesticide Resistance is difficult to avoid but can be mitigated with good management. The next crops of RR and 2D,4 will last 20 years before resistance occurs. by then advanced RNAi will have developed and there will be no need for any topical pesticides. The bottom line is when a country gives farmers the choice to buy GMO crops they do so. The anti-biotech zealots are an impediment to progress and an scourge on the environment.

          • I hardly consider causing an increased use of herbicide to be good for the environment, or the accompanying increased ingestion of toxic chemicals to be “progress”.

            Nature doesn’t need arrogant scientists who think they know better than hundreds of millions of years of evolution to “improve” on its creations, thank you very much.

      • SenorPescador

        as i state this david owens is a confused schill

  • Exactly how can a company that does not even do business in a country create instability there? The scientific consensus is that GMOs are safe and more productive than conventional agriculture. Any aid to developing nations should recommend the best technology to help them leave poverty. Biotech is essential to those ends. there is no specific mention of Monsanto in the legislation. Monsanto is one of many biotech seed sellers. People are developing great seeds around the world who is to say El Salvador Native Corn Crops are the best? Open it up to competition.

    • The scientific consensus is that GMOs are safe …

      That’s like saying “The scientific consensus is that fluoridated water is safe…” or “The scientific consensus is that vaccines are safe…”

      Which is to say it’s a perfectly ignorant statement.

      You’ve got one thing right: the solution is to put an end to the crony capitalism discussed in the article and allow consumers to choose whether to eat GMOs or not.

      It’s interesting to note that the reason the biotech industry doesn’t want food labeled as containing GMO ingredients is precisely because they know consumers don’t want the goods they are selling.

      Hence the need for the cronyism to push their product on the world through government coercion.

      • SenorPescador

        this idiot is a schill should be shot

      • We support voluntary labeling. You can use buycott or nongmoproject to avoid gmos. the FDA cannot legally enforce mandatory labels for things that have no health impact.

        • “We”? Do you work in the biotech industry, or are you otherwise given compensation to promote GMOs, or otherwise invested in them?

          The claim that GMOS have “no health impact” is a lie.

          The Bt toxin, for example, in GMO corn adversely affects the balance of gut flora, which in turn can contribute to countless health problems and chronic disease.

          Possible risks include causing development of food allergies. Pregnant women exposed to Bt deliver it to the fetus via the placenta, and we have no idea what the consequences of this might be on development, for another example.

          The truth is the long-term health impact of GMOs has never been studied. Anyone claiming to know they are safe is a liar. Period.

          • No. By we I mean scientists and science advocates. Ie; People that actually studied science. The truth is you don’t even understand what long term means. 25 generations of testing is longer than any FDA or WHO requirement. Yes they used rats. You want the FDA to require human test subjects for all chemicals and drugs? Allergenicity was the first thing biotech companies studied. Environmental and Economic impacts were also studied. You are just a hot mess of easily debunked anti-gmo propaganda. We’re done.

          • 1) You just confirmed what I said about there being no studies into the long-term health consequences of GMOs.

            2) Pointing out this fact, along with known and potential hazards GMOs pose to human health, is not by any means “anti-science”.

  • SenorPescador

    good story thanks Viva El Salvador and for mentioning we banned monsatan and 50+ agricultural chemicals
    as we go organic and hope to be #2 in HEMP cultivation to replace cane, and cotton,
    cane uses lots of glyphospate, read about it, the Everglades is F****D I also am in the dialogue with MCC funds and hope to use 1/3 for sustainable fishing and related and aquaculture to put folks to work let me know if interested Fair Trade Fish is also me.but I am assured the funds will be released and it is now NOT tied to purchase of any monsatan products, we have our own seeds

    • Pure propaganda. You know nothing about the truth buy simply swallowed Vandana Shiva’s lies. The GMO seeds are superior and can alleviate poverty. You need to get over your ignorance and learn how they work before demonizing science you don’t understand.

      • SenorPescador

        you are a schill I now see, GMO seeds are for profit and for with the use of herbicides, stay out of El Salvador business, as far as death threats I do not make, a threat such as you are indicating is “I will kill you” which I have not made anything else is a promise, however you being in San Diego and quite confused I will gladly pass on your address to some salvadorans , fuck GMO seeds, world hunger can be solved other means depends who you believe, HEMP seed cultivation planet wide would solve the protein problem same year it is planted and harvested you need to get a life boy, and NOT disrespect 60 y.o. surfers working with thousands of poor fishermen/women in Latin America, you have no credentials nor history, just confused and most likely a TV and pill junkie, I am insulting you boy, you get that, and do not ever ever reply to me again with your nonsense I assume you are another under 30 worthless individual in USA , like the major majority of your ilk do not insult me pal

  • terryward