Magazine article New Internationalist

Canning the WTO in Cancun; Global Justice Movement Converges for 'Another Seattle' in Mexico

Magazine article New Internationalist

Canning the WTO in Cancun; Global Justice Movement Converges for 'Another Seattle' in Mexico

Article excerpt

GLOBAL justice groups are gathering in the Mexican resort city of Cancun, preparing forums and mobilizations to protest the World Trade Organization Ministerial Conference that starts on 10 September.

Up to 100,000 people from around the world are expected to arrive in Cancun to `push the WTO meeting into failure', according to Hector de la Cueva, spokesperson for the Mexican Network of Action Against Free Trade (REMALC). The network has been working for the past year to coordinate actions and set up a Peoples' Forum for Alternatives as a counterweight to the conference.

The WTO Ministerial Conference, the fifth such meeting, will take place in a luxurious convention centre of 19,000 square metres. Delegates from the WTO's 146 member states will attend.

Governments want the Cancun conference to produce advances in key areas of multilateral trade liberalization. But judging from the preparatory meetings, there is little consensus amongst the various parties. The talks are bogged down in issues of trade in agricultural products and poor countries' access to low-cost essential medicines, among others.

For the past two months in Cancun - a major tourist destination on the Mexican Caribbean coast with its luxury hotels, shopping centres and beaches - hundreds of soldiers and police have been keeping watch over the official preparations for the September conference.

`The objective of our groups in Cancun is to derail the Ministerial Conference and to lift our voices against unjust globalization and the power of the WTO,' said Alberto Gomez, leader of the National Union of Autonomous Peasant Organizations of Mexico. …

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