International celebrities get dumped on at the WSF

Published: 1 November 2005

Porto Alegre Jan 28 2005 - Antonio Banderas dumped in corn, Thom York from RadioHead covered with chocolate, Alanis Morrissette covered by wheat. These are some of the powerful images that international agency Oxfam has put together in an exhibit that will run from Friday 28th to Saturday 29th at the Municipal Market, at the Centre of Porto Alegre, during the World Social Forum (WSF).

The celebrities, from music and film, also include Bono (U2), Michael Stipe (REM), Colin Firth and Minnie Driver, among others, were dumped on wheat, milk, coffee, cocoa, feathers, sugar, rice and cotton to call attention to the plight of millions of farmers in the developing world who cannot sell their produce because of rich country dumping.
The celebrities have added their images and voices to highlight Oxfam´s campaign and encourage people from across the world to join the Big Noise petition which calls on world leaders to take action to Make Trade Fair. So far the petition has gathered over 7 million signatures. At the exhibit on the Central Market of Porto Alegre, WSF participants will be invited to show their support by signing the petition.
US and Europe spend $1bn every day on agricultural subsidies. Surplus production is sold on world markets at artificially low prices, making it impossible for farmers in developing countries to compete. As a consequence, over 900 millions of farmers are losing their livelihoods.
EU sugar policies cost Brazil $494m, Thailand $151m, and South Africa and India around $60m in 2002.
In Mexico, the dumping of US subsidized corn has already ruined the lives of 5 million small producers with many families being forced to leave their farms. The US spends $10 billions every year to subsidize its corn production. This represents ten times the annual budget Mexico allocates to the agriculture sector.
At the World Trade Organization, developing countries are fighting to change unfair rules in international trade and put an end to double standards imposed by rich countries and multinational corporations that force developing countries to open up their markets to foreign imports, while keeping their markets protected from developing countries exports. 


Contact Information

Marisa Kohan (Spanish/English): 51 9672 0572
Renato Guimarães (Portugese/Spanish/English): 51 960 35338
The Sakala Brothers, one of Zambia´s top selling bands, will be performing at the exhibit on Friday 28th between 1 and 2pm. They were a great hit at the WSF in Mumbai, India, last year.
A breakfast will be available for visitors at 10am when the exhibit opens.