Sofia Gatica, founder of Madres de Barrio Ituzaingó, has once again received serious threats to her life and now her children are also receiving death threats.
This is not the first time Sofia has received death threats over her activism against Monsanto installing the second largest GMO seed processing plant in her city. Protesters who have been camped at the entrance to the construction site since September 2013 have been attacked on the site and persecuted during protests.
On November 20, 2013 an armed man boarded Sofia’s bus on her morning commute to work and threatened her with his gun in her side that he would “Spread her brains all over Malvinas” if she did not give up her fight against the multinational corporation. 3 days later she was attacked again outside of her work by two men on motorcycles.
The most recent threats have reached a new level of severity as her family is being threatened as well. Sofia recounts the most recent threats in an audio interview (below in Spanish) with ECOS Cordoba explaining how for the past month she has received continuous threats in person and via social media. Someone has been leaving handwritten notes in her purse while she’s at work that read:
“Tus hijos no vivirán”
(Your children shall not live)
At the time of the audio interview, Sofia had not been to camp in 25 days. She closed her Facebook account as well but later reopened it. Sofia added that the threats she is receiving are mafia type intimidation and that “they haven’t left me in peace not one day for the entire month, not one day. They appear in all places.”
The most serious threat came on April 27 when she was asked to stay away from Monsanto’s construction site in Malvinas because her life was in danger. She told ECOS Cordoba that the same man who threatened her on the bus in November appeared again on April 27 and told her to leave the fight or your son, “will die by his own gun.” Sofia’s son works for the provincial police of Cordoba, and carries a sidearm, so at the moment there are a concrete threats against him and all of her children.
Supported by social organizations and legal representatives, she has filed complaints expressing fear for her own personal safety and that of her children. The attackers from November are still at large and it’s unclear if any progress has been made in their apprehension.
A press conference was held April 28th to expose the new threats against Sofia and to send a message to governments and to Monsanto to leave her and her family in peace. Sofia also requested an audience with Governor Jose Manuel De La Sota of Cordoba province, Mayor Daniel Arzani of Malvinas and representatives of Monsanto. She made it clear that she does not want her children murdered.
“We know that Monsanto is behind all this, so I am asking for an audience with the governor when he comes back from the US.”
In the below audio interview with ECOS Cordoba, a tearful and clearly distressed Sofia pleads:
“One cannot live like this. I am tired of the threats. I am tired of the persecutions. I am tired of this system. I am capable of leaving my life so that this company does not install (the plant) in Malvinas. Please don’t touch my children. If I have to leave camp I will. At this moment my family is more important.”
Audio Interview (Spanish) with Sofia Gatica and ECOS Cordoba: