Monday, June 24, 2024

No justice for Yucatán beekeepers a year after massive die-off

It appears that there will be no justice for beekeepers in a Mayan community in Tizimín, Yucatán, whose bees died off en masse in July 2018 after a nearby farm was sprayed with pesticide.

Bees belonging to more than 30 beekeepers in Dzonot Carretero were allegedly affected by the aerial spraying of corn and soybean crops on a property owned by the agro-industrialist Jacobo Xacur.

Seven beekeepers filed a complaint against Xacur with the environmental protection agency, Profepa, while the remainder decided not to take action out of fear of reprisal because they have relatives who work on farms owned by the agricultural entrepreneur.

Beekeepers waited months for Profepa officials to arrive in Dzonot Carretero to collect samples of dead bees from their hives, which through testing they were confident would show that they died due to pesticide exposure.

However, according to the apiarists, the officials never showed up.

Nevertheless, Profepa announced in May that the case was closed and that no action would be taken against Xacur.

“Profepa says that the matter was closed but never, never, did we receive a visit from them [yet] they allege that there was no environmental damage,” Marco Cupul told the newspaper Milenio.

“It was a crime because [the helicopter pesticide spraying] didn’t just harm the bees, it also damaged squash, watermelon, bean and chile crops . . . and all that means a [financial] loss to farmers,” he added.

Another beekeeper, a 67-year-old man identified only as Elviro, lost all 40 of his bee colonies and along with them an investment of 120,000 pesos (US $6,000).

“More than a year has passed since July [2018] . . . but nothing has been resolved,” he said, explaining that he is now in a difficult financial situation.

“Who’s going to pay us?” asked José Isabel Uc Puc, a beekeeper who was incredulous that Profepa could declare that the spraying of pesticide didn’t cause any environmental damage.

“Don’t they see that bees died, don’t they see that trees and flora were destroyed?”

Source: Milenio (sp) 

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