GMO Corn, Mexico, and Coloniality

59 Pages Posted: 16 Jun 2020

See all articles by Ernesto Hernandez Lopez

Ernesto Hernandez Lopez

Chapman University, The Dale E. Fowler School of Law

Date Written: April 24, 2020


Genetically modified (“GMO”) corn germinates legal controversies in México. Since 2013, Mexican courts have temporarily suspended GMO corn because it threatens biodiversity. In the Colectividad del Maíz lawsuit, courts have prohibited México from issuing commercial GMO permits while the litigation continues. Companies like Monsanto need these permits to sell GMO seeds. Corn is the most essential food item for millions of Mexicans and is central to Mexican culture. Mexicans wait for Colectividad del Maíz’s resolution, siding with biodiversity or GMOs. This Article describes scientific GMO controversies and analyzes biosecurity, class-action, and international environmental law. It argues that this corn fight feeds larger moral questions about biotechnology and México’s sovereignty. Courts and policy makers respond to these controversies with their sovereign powers. Decolonial theory shows how assumptions about economics, law, and ideology rooted in historical colonial structures—“coloniality”—shape these responses. This Article illustrates the significance of coloniality to how the government responds to GMOs, at a time when GMO safety is increasingly questioned in México and elsewhere.

Keywords: GMO, biotechnology, precautionary principle, agriculture, sovereignty, sustainability, food sovereignty, corn, post-colonial, Global South, GMOs,  decolonial, coloniality, Mexico, USMCA TWAIL, genetically modified organism

JEL Classification: F54, N16, N5, N56, O13, Q13, Q15, Q16, Q17, Q18, Q56, Q57, N16, N56, N76, Z13, P14, P16, P45, P48

Suggested Citation

Hernandez Lopez, Ernesto, GMO Corn, Mexico, and Coloniality (April 24, 2020). Vanderbilt Journal of Entertainment & Technology Law, vol. 22, no. 4, 2020, pp. 725-783., Available at SSRN:

Ernesto Hernandez Lopez (Contact Author)

Chapman University, The Dale E. Fowler School of Law ( email )

One University Drive
Orange, CA 92866-1099
United States

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