July 23, 2012
Sofia Gatica, 2012 Goldman Prize winner and co-founder of the Mothers of Ituzaingo, recently participated in a massive march supporting a lawsuit against Monsanto, a massive agrochemical company whose indiscriminate spraying of toxic pesticides has poisoned thousands of Argentinians.
The Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo, an internationally recognized and much loved human rights group, marched in solidarity with the Mothers of Ituzaingo and called for justice for Monsanto’s victims.
Thirteen years ago, Gatica’s infant daughter died from kidney failure, thought to be the result of exposure to pesticides while still in the womb. Shortly after her daughter’s death, Gatica co-founded the Mothers of Ituzaingo to investigate the effect of pesticide spraying on the health of her community at large.
Gatica and the group of mothers began going door to door to conduct the first epidemiological study of the area and discovered the serious effects that pesticide spraying was having on the families in Ituzaingó. Residents reported cancer rates that were 41 times the national average, as well as high rates of neurological and respiratory diseases, birth defects, and infant mortality. Following their findings, Gatica launched a ‘stop spraying campaign’ that she continues to this day.