The Other Cancun

The Other Cancun

Mexican president Vicente Fox, eager to advance the cause of
corporate globalization, addressed business executives and
government officials from 30 countries at a February 26-27 regional
meeting of the World Economic Forum in Cancun. Meanwhile, activists
outside the luxurious Westin Regina Hotel (which was fortified by
2,000 police and military personnel) showed the media a different
side of this once-idyllic Caribbean resort town, reports Canadian
journalist John Ross in Now Magazine, Toronto’s
alternative weekly.

After taking a ‘reality tour’ of the slums on Cancun’s swampy
outskirts, Ross had this to say: ‘Cancun is itself a snapshot of
how corporate globalization operates in the underdeveloped world.
Built by transnational capital and studded with posh international
hotels, it caters almost exclusively to foreign tourists, mostly
young North Americans.’

‘Meanwhile,’ Ross adds, ‘far from the gleaming hotel district, tens
of thousands of Mayan Indian maids and day labourers occupy
swampland squatter settlements lacking city services. As a magnet
for employment, Cancun draws its workforce from the surrounding
Yucatan peninsula, shredding the social fabric of life in its Mayan
villages as dramatically as it wreaks havoc upon a once
paradisiacal Caribbean coastal environment.’
–Leif Utne
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For an interesting contrast, check out ‘Cuban Impressions,’ a
recent report by Russell Mokhiber and Robert Weissman on returning
from their first trip to the island nation, published in the
political webzine Eat the State. Cuba has steadfastly
kept the effects of corporate globalization at bay for 40 years,
but as it’s tourism industry grows, that is rapidly changing.
‘Walking by the hip clubs in Havana’s Vedado neighborhood,’ they
write, ‘one can feel the magnetic pull of the corporate culture on
kids who have little way of understanding the very dramatic
sacrifices their society would have to make were Versace and Nike
goods to become freely available.’
Go there>>

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