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Neoliberalism and Globalization

Project: Neoliberalism and Globalization
Open-Content project managed by AJB, mtuck

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This project will attempt to document the causes and effects of the neoliberal form of capitalism and its influence throughout the globe.

A joint project is started in which students from Chile will be sent to learn economics at the University of Chicago using funding for tuition and other expenses from the US government as well as private organizations such as the Ford Foundation. The University of Chicago’s Department of Economics is at this time a bastion of strict adherence to pro-free market thought. The chairman of this department, Theodore W. Schultz, came up with this plan along with an official from the US government during a meeting in Santiago, Chile, in 1953. Schultz himself stated that he desired that the countries of the third world, “work out their economic salvation by relating to us and by using our way of achieving their economic development.” By 1970, some 100 students from Chile will have sought advanced degrees from the University of Chicago. [Klein, 2007, pp. 59-60]

Entity Tags: University of Chicago, Theodore W. Schultz

Timeline Tags: US International Relations

Category Tags: Chile, US, Origins

“The Brick,” a 500-page economic blueprint later used by Augusto Pinochet to formulate Chile’s economic policy, is drafted by a ten-man group, eight of whom had previously studied at the University of Chicago (see 1956). The group was put together by Orlando Sáenz, president of the National Association of Manufacturers, to “prepare specific alternative programs to government programs” that the military could use. Saenz took this step following a meeting between the heads of various Chilean businesses to discuss plans for toppling the regime of democratically-elected leader Salvador Allende as well as a suitable replacement. [Klein, 2007, pp. 70-71]

Entity Tags: Orlando Sáenz, Salvador Allende Gossens, Augusto Pinochet, National Association of Manufacturers (Chile)

Category Tags: Chile, Origins

Sergio De Castro, leader of the Chicago University movement in Chile and the head author of “The Brick,” is made a chief economic adviser to Augusto Pinochet’s authoritarian regime almost immediately after the overthrow of the democratically elected government of Salvador Allende. During the first one and a half years of Pinochet’s rule, Chile is subject to a large array of neoliberal economic reforms. These include the privatization of state-owned firms, financial deregulation, removal of import tariffs, a ten percent cut in government spending (with the notable exception of military spending), and the termination of price controls. As a result, the cost of basic goods will skyrocket while domestic industries are put out of business by imported goods. Orlando Sáenz, who originally recruited the Chicago School graduates to redesign the Chilean economy (see September 1971-September 11, 1973), will declare the consequences to be “one of the greatest failures of our economic history.” [Klein, 2007, pp. 79-80]

Entity Tags: Sergio De Castro, Augusto Pinochet, Orlando Sáenz

Category Tags: Chile, Origins

The US Federal Reserve, under recent Carter appointee Paul Volcker, declares that it will begin a major policy shift by tightening the money supply. Its main method of doing so will be significant increases in the interest rate. [Campbell, 2005, pp. 194-195]

Entity Tags: Paul Volcker, US Federal Reserve

Category Tags: US

As a result of Paul Volcker’s tightening of the US money supply (see October 6, 1979), 145 developing and emerging market economies pay a total of $7.673 trillion (in current dollars) in order to service their external debts. $675 billion of this money comes from Africa, the poorest continent in the world. Despite these massive payments, the external debt held by these nations actually increases from $618 billion in 1980 to $3.150 trillion in 2006. [Nakatani and Herera, 6/2007]

Category Tags: Statistics

The breakdown of the import substitution industrialization (ISI) model of development and the advent of neoliberal economic reform in Latin America lead to what is now termed the “lost decade” due to poor economic growth in the region. From 1980 to 1990, the region’s share of the world economy slips from 6 to 3 percent. Also, its average annual percentage change of real GDP per capita growth from 1980 to 1989 is -0.4, lower than any other region in the world and significantly lower than Latin America’s previous rate of 2.5 percent for the period between 1973 to 1980. [Robinson, 1999, pp. 112-113]

Category Tags: Statistics

A combination of factors puts the Mexico into a major balance of payments crisis. US Federal Reserve Bank Chairman Paul Volcker’s decision to increase the Federal Reserve’s interest rate (see October 6, 1979) increases the amount of debt held by the Mexican government. In addition, a decrease in the global price of oil and a recession in the US (thereby decreasing US demand for Mexican goods) makes it harder for Mexico to pay off the debt on its own. The Mexican government decides to devalue the peso, its national currency, by 78 percent. [Hart-Landsberg, 12/2002]

Entity Tags: Mexico, Paul Volcker

Category Tags: Mexico

The Mexican government temporarily suspends payments of its foreign debt and requests that the US offer some form of emergency aid. It also devalues the peso again by 60 percent. [Hart-Landsberg, 12/2002]

Entity Tags: Mexico

Category Tags: Mexico

The International Monetary Fund approves of a $3.9 billion to the Mexican government. As a condition for receiving the loan, the Mexican government is expected to engage in a series of free market reforms. Such reforms include: fiscal austerity, privatization of state-owned companies, reductions in trade barriers, industrial deregulation, and foreign investment liberalization. [New York Times, 12/24/1982, pp. D4; Global Exchange, 9/2001, pp. 3 pdf file]

Entity Tags: International Monetary Fund, Mexico

Category Tags: IMF, Mexico

The IMF’s recommended reforms are widely viewed to have a negative effect on the earnings of the average Mexican. For example:
bullet In the period between 1983 and 1988, per capita income falls at a rate of about 5 percent per year.
bullet In the same period, the value of workers’ real wages falls from 40 to 50 percent.
bullet The share of national income received by workers declines from 49 percent in 1981 to 29 percent in 1990.
bullet Adjusted for inflation, the Mexicans’ real wages fall by 75 percent throughout the 1980s. [Global Exchange, 9/2001, pp. 4 pdf file; Harvey, 2005, pp. 100]

Entity Tags: Mexico, International Monetary Fund

Category Tags: IMF, Mexico, Statistics

The Mexican government, in 1984, controls about 1,212 firms and entities. By December of 1988, this number will be reduced to 448 through a massive privatization program. [Hart-Landsberg, 12/2002]

Entity Tags: Mexico

Category Tags: Mexico

Financial sources inform media outlets that the Mexican government’s failure to cut its budget deficit in accordance with an IMF austerity program may jeopardize its access to $908 million worth of assistance. This news comes at about the same time as an earthquake hits Mexico that will require the government to spend even more on reconstruction, thereby increasing the deficit. The IMF says that it will not make any exception as a result of Mexico’s fiscal needs following the earthquake. [New York Times, 9/20/1985, pp. A6]

Entity Tags: Mexico, International Monetary Fund

Category Tags: IMF, Mexico

The Reagan administration’s Office of the US Trade Representative (USTR) pressures several countries—under threat of sanctions—to open their markets to American cigarettes: Japan in September 1986, Taiwan in late 1986, and South Korea in May 1988. By 1991, sales of American cigarettes in these new markets are 600 percent higher than they would have otherwise been without US intervention, according to the Boston-based National Bureau of Economic Research. The Bureau also notes that American tobacco companies’ cheap prices and sophisticated advertising campaigns increased average cigarette consumption per capita by nearly 10 percent in the targeted countries. Much of the new demand for cigarettes was created among women and young people. [Washington Post, 11/17/1996; South-North Development Monitor (SUNS), 8/8/2000]

Entity Tags: Office of the US Trade Representative (USTR), Reagan administration

The IMF grants Haiti a $24.6 million loan under its Structural Adjustment Facility (SAF). As a condition, Haiti is expected to cut public spending, close “inefficient public enterprises”, and liberalize its trade policy. [Inter Press Service, 12/30/1986]

Entity Tags: International Monetary Fund

Category Tags: Haiti, IMF

One of the conditions for Haiti obtaining the IMF loan it previously received (see December 30, 1986) was a lowering of tariffs on rice and an end to support for domestic rice farmers. This has the effect of putting much of Haiti’s rice farmers out of business. [Washington Post, 4/13/2000; Global Exchange, 9/2001, pp. 13 pdf file]

Entity Tags: International Monetary Fund

Category Tags: Haiti

1990: Mexico Privatizes Phone Company

The Mexican government, with technical assistance from the World Bank, sells off a profitable phone company called Telmex. In the months preceding the sell-off, the Mexican government increases the rate of calls by local users from 16 pesos per minute to 115 pesos per minute in order to make the company more attractive to potential buyers. This makes the privatization of the phone system detrimental to consumers. In a 1992 report, The World Bank will admit that “the privatization of Telmex, along with its attendant pricetax regulatory regime, has the result of ‘taxing’ consumers—a rather diffuse, unorganized group—and then distributing the gains among more well-defined groups, shareholders, employees, and the government.” [Global Exchange, 9/2001, pp. 4 pdf file]

Entity Tags: World Bank, Telmex

Category Tags: World Bank, Mexico

Around $91 billion flows into the Mexican economy from foreign investors, allowing for a certain degree of economic growth. This growth slows down in 1992, however, as trade and current account deficits increase sharply. The deficits suggest a large deterioration in the country’s economic base during the 1980s. [Hart-Landsberg, 12/2002]

Entity Tags: Mexico

Category Tags: Mexico

In preparation for the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), Mexico opens up its financial services to foreign ownership. By 2000, 85 percent of the banking system will be owned by foreign entities and lending to Mexican businesses will have dropped from 10 percent of the GDP to 0.3 percent. [Jones, 3/2007, pp. 3]

Entity Tags: Mexico

Category Tags: NAFTA, Mexico, Statistics

The North American Free Trade Agreement Implementation Act (H.R. 3450) is voted on by the US House of Representatives and passes 234-200. [US Congress, 11/17/1993] It is later estimated that Congresspersons who voted in favor of H.R. 3450 received an average of $8,018 more in corporate PAC contributions than those who voted against. [Francia, 1/2001, pp. 98, 103]

Entity Tags: North American Free Trade Agreement, US Congress

Category Tags: NAFTA, Statistics

US President Bill Clinton signs the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), which he says will “tear down trade barriers between” the US, Canada, and Mexico. [US President, 12/8/1993]

Entity Tags: William Jefferson (“Bill”) Clinton, North American Free Trade Agreement

Category Tags: NAFTA

In early 1994, investors pull money out of the Mexican economy in response to an increase in US interest rates and political instability. This causes the Mexican government to lose massive amounts of reserves and lead it to allow the peso to float in December of 1994. In January of 1995 it again asks the IMF for assistance and receives packages from both the IMF and US Treasury. This time, massive privatizations of “transportation, banking and finance, railways and the petrochemical industries” were recommended as a way of paying off the loans. A devaluation of the peso in 1995 along with an IMF-mandated rise in interest rates triggers the worst depression in Mexico in 60 years. GDP falls by 6.2 percent, wages fall by 25 percent, unemployment doubles, and 12,000 Mexican firms file for bankruptcy. [Global Exchange, 9/2001, pp. 4-5 pdf file; Hart-Landsberg, 12/2002]

Entity Tags: US Department of the Treasury, Mexico

Category Tags: IMF, Mexico, Statistics

A 15-year period begins during which most trade barriers between the US, Canada, and Mexico will be dismantled in accordance with NAFTA. The New York Times comments: “The government has taken few steps, however, to prepare smaller and medium-sized companies, poor farmers, and inefficient industries for the new competition. Even after a wave of industrial restructuring that cost half a million Mexican jobs, worker re-training programs are almost nonexistent.” [New York Times, 1/1/1994]

Entity Tags: North American Free Trade Agreement

Category Tags: NAFTA, Mexico

Under NAFTA, Mexico reduces its protection of domestic corn growers. This leads to a massive influx of corn from the US, where its production is heavily subsidized. This has the effect of reducing the price of corn in Mexico by 70 percent and ruining the livelihoods of some 15 million Mexican farmers who depend on the crop for income. [Fanjul and Fraser, 8/2003, pp. 23 pdf file]

Entity Tags: North American Free Trade Agreement

Category Tags: NAFTA, Mexico, Statistics

Former Haitian president Jean-Bertrand Aristide promises donors that he will implement neoliberal reforms if he is returned to power. He agrees to a plan calling for the privatization of some state-owned enterprises, including the country’s flour mill, cement factory, and electric company. The plan also requires the removal of import controls, reforming of customs, and the elimination of limits on interest rates. But due to strong domestic opposition, Aristide will not completely follow through with the Structural Adjustment Program once in office. [Inter Press Service, 9/28/1995]

Entity Tags: Jean-Bertrand Aristide

Timeline Tags: Haiti Coup

Within 24 hours of the US Democratic Party receiving a $500,000 “donation” from Chiquita Brands International, the Clinton administration files a complaint with the WTO complaining about the EU’s banana trade policy with the Caribbean. [Guardian, 3/5/1999; Alternet, 2/6/2001] The US is opposed to the European Union’s quota system for Caribbean bananas which provides Europe’s former island colonies with a guaranteed market. The purpose of the quota system is to protect Caribbean growers from their regional competitors. Banana exporters in Central and South America tend to have lower production costs since they have large-scale, mechanized plantations that are often run by giant US-based corporations. The EU rule was aimed at enabling the countries’ economies to grow independently, without dependence on overseas aid. The EU, with 74 percent of its citizens willing to pay more for “fair trade” bananas, stands firm against the US challenge, making only a few small changes and leaving its quota intact. The US responds with punitive tariffs against the EU, forcing the EU to rescind its tariffs. [Oxfam, 3/1998; Guardian, 3/5/1999; Alternet, 2/6/2001]

Entity Tags: Democratic National Committee, Clinton administration, Chiquita Brands International

Category Tags: WTO

In Geneva, at the 1998 World Health Assembly, delegates from the US State Department and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA ) threaten to withdraw funding for the World Health Organization (WHO) when members propose including a provision in its resolution on the Revised Drug Strategy that would urge countries “to ensure that public-health interests rather than commercial interests have ‘primacy’ in pharmaceutical and health policies.” As a result of the United States’ opposition, the statement is not adopted. The US also opposes a proposal to give the WHO a role in monitoring international trade agreements. [Consumer Project on Technology, 5/13/1998; Consumer Project on Technology, 10/16/1998; Wilson et al., 11/27/1999]

Entity Tags: World Health Organization, Clinton administration

A new international alliance of culture ministers “to promote and protect cultural diversity” is formed at the conclusion of the two-day International Meeting on Culture Policy held in Ottawa, Canada. Attending culture ministers from Armenia, Barbados, Brazil, Canada, Croatia, Greece, Iceland, Italy, Ivory Coast, Mexico, Morocco, Poland, Senegal, South Africa, Sweden, Switzerland, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, Ukraine, and the United Kingdom—dubbed the Ottawa Group of Ministers—agree to set up the International Network on Cultural Policy (INCP). Both the ministers’ meeting and the formation of the new alliance were launched at the initiative of Canada, largely through its Heritage Minister Sheila Copps. An initial “contact group” consisting of Sweden, Mexico, Greece, and Canada is formed to coordinate activities of the new network. Canada provides the first secretariat for INCP. The ministers agree to set the next meeting to be held the following year in Mexico, and the meet after that, in 2000, in Greece. Canadian Heritage Minister Sheila Copps says, in the light of the network’s formation, “Canadians are delighted that we’ve found so many other countries that share our determination to put culture front and centre on the global stage and to promote cultural diversity for everyone in the world.” [International Network on Cultural Policy, 6/30/1998]

Entity Tags: Sheila Copps, International Network on Cultural Policy

The Commission on Human Rights, in its resolution 1999/21, condemns the unilateral use of economic sanctions, urging “all States to refrain from adopting or implementing unilateral measures not in accordance with international law and the Charter of the United Nations, in particular those of a coercive nature with extraterritorial effects, which create obstacles to trade relations among States, thus impeding the full realization of the rights set forth in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other international human rights instruments, in particular the right of individuals and peoples to development.” [United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, 4/23/1999; South-North Development Monitor (SUNS), 12/21/1999]

Entity Tags: Commission on Human Rights

In Montreal, Canada, the Ad Hoc Working Group on Biosafety (BSWG) continues negotiations on the text of the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety (CPB), the first protocol to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD). The conference is the last in a series of BSWG discussions that began on February 22, 1999 in Cartagena, Colombia. It is attended by over 750 participants, representing 133 governments, NGOs, industry organizations, and the scientific community. The purpose of the protocol is to develop a set of international minimum safety standards for the regulation of trade in genetically engineered organisms (GMOs). The major points of contention during the negotiations relate to (1) the obligations of an exporter to inform importers of shipments containing GMOs, (2) the rights of an importer to reject GMO imports, and (3) whether CBD or World Trade Organization (WTO) regulations have primacy in cases where there is a conflict between the two. The two main negotiating blocks are the “Miami Group” (which includes the GMO-exporting countries of the US, Canada, Australia, Argentina, Chile, and Uruguay) on one side and the European Union and the Like Minded Group (which includes most developing countries) on the other. The Miami Group had formed earlier in Cartagena in order to prevent genetically modified agricultural commodities from being included within the scope of the Protocol, preferring that their regulation remain solely under the jurisdiction of the WTO. The delegates agree on a final draft during the early morning hours of January 29. [Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety (CPB), 6/5/1992; IISD Linkages, 2/18/2000; EAAP News, 8/2000; Genewatch, 3/24/2004; Convention on Biological Diversity, 2/26/2005; Biowatch, 3/26/2005] The Protocol will enter into force on September 11, 2003, ninety days after receiving its 50th ratification. [Convention on Biological Diversity, 2/26/2005]
Biodiversity Clearing-House - The CPB establishes a “Biodiversity Clearing-House” to facilitate the exchange of information on GMOs and to assist countries in the implementation of the Protocol. [Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety (CPB), 6/5/1992; Genewatch, 3/24/2004; Biowatch, 3/26/2005]
Advanced Informed Agreement (AIA) - The Protocol requires exporters of GMOs to seek permission from the importing country before the GMOs are exported. For most GMO exports, the exporter will be required to follow a set of procedures referred to as the “Advance Informed Agreement” (AIA). However, for GMOs intended for food, feed, or processing (LMO-FFPs), and not planting, a different, less rigorous notification system applies. For these types of GMOs the CPB only requires governments to notify the Biodiversity Clearing-House when they have decided to permit the use of a GMO in their own country and to supply certain information about it. This alternative notification system for food, feed, and processing GMOs was a concession negotiated by the GMO-exporting Miami Group. Pharmaceutical GMOs, GMOs-in-transit, and GMOs intended for use in a laboratory, are also subject to fewer, less stringent regulations. [Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety (CPB), 6/5/1992; Genewatch, 3/24/2004; Biowatch, 3/26/2005]
The Precautionary Principle - The CPB permits countries to restrict or ban a GMO if they believe there is a potential for the GMO to cause adverse affects. Conclusive scientific evidence is not necessary. “Lack of scientific certainty due to insufficient relevant scientific information and knowledge regarding the extent of the potential adverse effects of a living modified organism shall not prevent that Party from taking a decision, as appropriate, to avoid or minimize such potential adverse effects.” [Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety (CPB), 6/5/1992; Genewatch, 3/24/2004; Biowatch, 3/26/2005]
Multilateral Trade Agreements vs. Convention on Biological Diversity - The Cartagena Protocol contains provisions that address circumstances that would also be under the jurisdiction of certain trade agreements. But it does not address the issue of which set of regulations should take precedence, only stating that “trade and environment agreements should be mutually supportive with a view to achieving sustainable development.” [Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety (CPB), 6/5/1992; Biowatch, 3/26/2005]

Entity Tags: Ad Hoc Working Group on Biosafety, World Trade Organization

Timeline Tags: Seeds, US International Relations

UNESCO’s Universal Declaration on Cultural Diversity is adopted at its 31st General Conference, the international agency’s governing body, in Paris, France. It is the highlight of the first ministerial-level meeting held by the international body after 9/11. The landmark international instrument brings cultural diversity to the unprecedented level of being defined “the common heritage of humanity” and deemed “as necessary for humankind as biodiversity is for nature.” In a statement marking the adoption, UNESCO Director General Koïchiro Matsuura says the declaration is “an opportunity for states to reaffirm their conviction that intercultural dialogue is the best guarantee of peace and to reject outright the theory of the inevitable clash of cultures and civilizations.” Matsuura adds that the declaration “can be an outstanding tool for development, capable of humanizing globalization.” The declaration is adopted just less than a year after “preliminary items” for a draft declaration on cultural diversity were first submitted at the second round table of culture ministers held on December 11-12, 2000 in Paris, France. The “preliminary items” were proposed alongside the presentation by a UNESCO Experts Committee of its conclusions on “strengthening UNESCO’s role in promoting cultural diversity in the context of globalization.” [UNESCO, 11/2001]

Entity Tags: Koichiro Matsuura, World Trade Organization, United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization

Around 100,000 farm workers march to the main square of Mexico City to protest the removal of duties on farm imports that occurred just weeks earlier (see January 1, 1994). They demand that the government renegotiate NAFTA to better protect Mexican agricultural producers. [Houston Chronicle, 2/1/2003; Fanjul and Fraser, 8/2003, pp. 23 pdf file]

Entity Tags: North American Free Trade Agreement

Category Tags: NAFTA, Mexico, Uprisings

The Mexican government, after weeks of negotiation with protesting farmers (see January 30, 2003), signs the National Rural Accord (also known as the National Agreement for the Countryside and the Development of Rural Society). The accord announces that the government will make “sweeping changes to rural infrastructure and state farm policy to modernize Mexico’s outdated agricultural system.” As part of the agreement, Mexico will also ask the US and Canada to allow for protection of Mexico’s rural economy, and review the possibility of implementing mechanisms against dumping and unfair competition. [Reuters, 4/28/2003; Fanjul and Fraser, 8/2003, pp. 23 pdf file]

Entity Tags: North American Free Trade Agreement

Category Tags: NAFTA, Mexico

In response to a suggestion by Mexico that it will put tariffs on corn to protect domestic farmers from subsidized US corn (see April 28, 2003), the Chairman of the US Senate Committee on Finance, Charles Grassley, writes a letter to Mexican officials stating: “Mexico has recently undertaken a number of actions against US agricultural products that undermine the spirit, if not the law, of NAFTA. Mexico’s continued pattern of not meeting its international trade negotiations is unacceptable.” [Fanjul and Fraser, 8/2003, pp. 23 pdf file]

Entity Tags: Charles Grassley, North American Free Trade Agreement

Category Tags: Mexico

Senator Norm Coleman, chairman of the Foreign Relations Western Hemisphere subcommittee, holds a hearing in which he says that a “tough response” against Mexico would be “warranted” for “unilateral renegotiation of NAFTA.” Present at the hearing are Bush administration officials and leaders of agribusiness interest groups. Jim Quackenbush, board member of the National Pork Producers Council, complains of a Mexican anti-dumping case against US hog exports and claims his goods are often halted at the border for “alleged sanitary concerns.” He calls for the US to “use all available means” to keep Mexico’s market open to US agricultural goods. Allen Johnson, chief agriculture negotiator in the office of the US Trade Representative, says that the US will work to defend its interests and is ready to retaliate if Mexico does not accede to its demands. [US Congress, 5/20/2003 pdf file; Star Tribune, 5/21/2003]

Entity Tags: North American Free Trade Agreement, Senate Foreign Relations Committee

Category Tags: NAFTA

A report by the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace finds that the positive aspects of NAFTA just barely compensate for its negative effects. Among its findings:
bullet The net jobs gain in Mexico has been surprisingly small. In fact, 30 percent of all jobs that have been created in the maquiladora sector (export assembly plants) have been lost as company operations have since moved to lower wage countries such as China.
bullet Despite growth in productivity, real wages in Mexico are lower than they were when NAFTA first took effect. Although this can partially be attributed to the Peso Crisis of 1994-1995. It is also noted that wages in Mexico are “diverging from, rather than converging with, US wages.”
bullet Income disparity has grown drastically, with the top 10 percent of households having increased its share of the national income while the remaining 90 percent has lost its share or has seen no change at all. [Papademetriou et al., 8/2003]

Entity Tags: North American Free Trade Agreement, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace

Category Tags: NAFTA, Mexico, Statistics

The UNESCO Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions is adopted at the 33rd UNESCO General Conference held in Paris, France. It is the first major international convention to be adopted that reaffirms the sovereign right of states to formulate and implement cultural policies. The convention’s approval is seen as a challenge to the legitimacy of the global regime of bilateral, regional and multilateral free trade agreements revolving around the World Trade Organization (WTO), in particular regarding international trade in cultural goods and services and the related cultural policies effected by governments. The approval of this international instrument is seen as a major culmination of years-long efforts led by Canada and the European Union, specifically France, to arrest liberalization commitments in various free trade agreements that tend to strengthen Hollywood’s overwhelming advantage in the global film, music, publishing, advertising, and other cultural industries. The convention is overwhelmingly approved despite a strong counter-lobby by the United States. A hundred and forty-eight vote in the convention’s favor, four countries (Australia, Honduras, Liberia, and Nicaragua) abstain, and only two countries—the United States and Israel—vote against its approval. [Coalition Currents, 10/2005]

Entity Tags: World Trade Organization, UNESCO Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions, United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization

Category Tags: US, WTO

Through a unanimous all-party vote at its National Assembly, Quebec becomes the first government worldwide to approve the UNESCO Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions. The approval comes just three weeks after the landslide vote for the international convention at the UNESCO 33rd General Conference in Paris, France. The day’s favorable vote on the convention is marked as well by statements by leading officials of Quebec noting Quebec’s prime role in the formation of the UNESCO instrument, as well as how the convention boosts Quebec’s efforts to protect and promote its cultural industries. Deputy Premier and Minister of International Relations Monique Gagnon-Tremblay emphasizes Quebec’s important contribution to the “emergence of an international instrument of fundamental importance for the cultural sector, and over and beyond this, for the socio-economic development of all our peoples at the beginning of the 21st century.” Culture and Communications Minister Line Beauchamp ends her own statements by calling the adoption of the convention “a great day for Quebec culture,” adding: ”(T)he fundamental issue is the commitment of states to support their cultures through cultural policies that take the form of subsidies, tax credits, of regulatory policies.… We should be aware to what degree everyday life is shaped and affected by culture and artistic creations.… It is important to realize that the cultural policies I just described are behind the songs you hear on the radio, the television programs you watch, the books you read, your encounters with culture.” For his part, Claude Béchard, minister of economic development, innovation, and exports, stresses the convention “will serve as a tool of reference for states facing pressure to liberalize their cultural sectors by helping to legitimize at the international level their cultural policies.” Premier Jean Charest, meantime, highlights the close cooperation between Quebec and the federal government of Canada in building international support for the convention. Charest indicates again his government is determined to continue championing the convention internationally, and to continue supporting Canada’s Coalition for Cultural Diversity and Quebec’s leading cultural organizations in their work to mobilize cultural professionals around the world to support ratification. [Coalition Update, 11/2005]

Entity Tags: United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, Claude Béchard, Jean Charest, UNESCO Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions, Line Beauchamp, Monique Gagnon-Tremblay

Canada becomes the first country to ratify the UNESCO Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions. Canada’s November 22 ratification comes just 33 days after the international instrument was adopted at the 33rd UNESCO General Conference in Paris, France. The prompt ratification meets a previous public commitment made by Minister of Canadian Heritage Liza Frulla, shortly after the November 22 adoption at the UNESCO Conference, that Canada would be the first to ratify the convention “ideally before Christmas [of 2005].” Frulla recalls at the signing ceremonies in Montreal on November 23, “some people gave me a very skeptical look [after I made that pronouncement], and thought I was dreaming in Technicolor.” But she points out that her resolve to make good the ratification commitment was matched by that of Canadian Prime Minister Paul Martin, who Frulla says “has always been a strong defender and promoter of this convention.” Frulla relates further: “[A]s soon as I got back, we triggered the process so that Canada could be in a position to ratify this convention.… And today we can say mission accomplished. Clearly, this is a great day for our artists, our culture, our cultural industries, and for our country.” Frulla, Martin, Quebec Minister of Culture and Communications Line Beauchamp, and Scott McIntyre and Pierre Curzi, co-chairs of Canada’s Coalition for Cultural Diversity, offer congratulations to each other at the Montreal ceremonies for the convention’s quick ratification in record time. [Coalition Update, 11/2005]

Entity Tags: UNESCO Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions, Coalition for Cultural Diversity (Canada), Line Beauchamp, Liza Frulla, Scott McIntyre, Paul Martin, Pierre Curzi

Members of the Local 22 of the National Education Workers Union (SNTE) delivers a list of economic grievances to Ulises Ruiz Ortiz, the governor of the Mexican state of Oaxaca. After receiving no official response, hundreds of teachers start to encamp themselves in the state’s historical center with the support of numerous anti-neoliberal organizations. The movement manages to block five access ways to the Oaxaca international airport on June 1 and attract a “mega-march” of around 80,000 people the next day. [González and Baeza, 7/2007]

Entity Tags: Ulises Ruiz Ortiz, National Education Workers Union

Category Tags: Mexico, Uprisings

About 2,000 state police attempt to evict the striking teachers from the Oaxacan city square “wielding clubs and firing tear gas.” They fail as the protestors quickly resume their positions but manage to injure at least 66 people. The teachers accuse the police forces of killing four; the Mexican national human rights commission will allege that they also “beat sleeping teachers with truncheons.” [Agence France-Presse, 6/14/2006; Los Angeles Times, 6/19/2006; González and Baeza, 7/2007]

Category Tags: Mexico, Uprisings

The Popular Assembly of the Peoples of Oaxaca (APPO) is formed in response to the recent crackdown. It is “comprised of around 365 social, political, human rights, non-governmental, environmental, gender, student, and union organizations, the indigenous communities, and thousands of independent Oaxacans.” Its main goal is the ouster of “the fascism personified in the state governor,” Ulises Ruiz Ortiz. [González and Baeza, 7/2007]

Entity Tags: Ulises Ruiz Ortiz, Popular Assembly of the Peoples of Oaxaca

Category Tags: Mexico, Uprisings

The UNESCO Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions enters into force. In accordance with the ratification procedure, this happens three months after 30 countries deposited their instruments of ratification at UNESCO. UNESCO Director General Koichiro Matsuura notes, “None of UNESCO’s other cultural conventions has been adopted by so many states in so little time.” The 30 countries are Albania, Austria, Belarus, Bolivia, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Canada, Croatia, Denmark, Djibouti, Ecuador, Estonia, Finland, France, Guatemala, India, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Madagascar, Mali, Malta, Mauritius, Mexico, Monaco, Namibia, Peru, the Republic of Moldova, Romania, Senegal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and Togo. By the time it comes into force, 22 more countries have deposited their ratification instruments at UNESCO. [UNESCO, 3/2007]

Entity Tags: Koichiro Matsuura, United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, UNESCO Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions

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