Alto Total in
for further reports on the protests please go to http://www.chapman.edu/~starr
At about , i had a feeling to go to the wto press centre, having spent almost all my time on the other side of the barricades here in cancun. Just as we walked in the door, press were rushing some delegates who had just emerged from a Green Room to announce that the MEETINGS HAVE COLLAPSED. At , the G21 had a press conference in which they announced that the meetings are over, not waiting for the Director-General to do so as it's not his decision.
This is a great victory for the Developing (3rd world) Countries and also for all of us who have been struggling to show that there is dissent, that there are alternatives, and that there will be international solidarity in support of developing countries who refuse to go along.
The failure of the meetings
comes primarily as a result of the solidarity of the G21 (Group of 21) which
expanded to be the G32 sometime yesterday. These countries include many
But today at around 2:15 pm,
in a small "Green Room" meeting in which the EU was pressing the
developing countries to accept negotiations on the Singapore or "New
Issues" (investment, competition, services, and government procurement),
the ACP (African Caribbean Pacific) Group, the African Union (including
(Guinea, Tanzania, Zambia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, and Kenya +/-), the LDC (least
developed countries), and some Asian countries (including India and Malaysia)
refused to launch these negotations. Some people say that
Two or three hundred press
crushed around the delegates who had just emerged and eventually sorted
themselves out by language (I was best able to hear the delegate from
Soon Walden Bello, Maude
Barlow, Lori Wallach, and Anuradha Mittal appeared and by far the largest crush
of press centered on them.
Before long, cheers are spreading across the hall, Bello and friends are singing, others are dancing, there are hugs everywhere, and most everyone is smiling. People have run to print out signs saying "we won" and are holding it behind Bello's head for the video cameras. NGOs are using the WTO's nice laser printers and photocopy machines to issue victory statements which they are distributing everywhere.
The US Trade Rep has issued the following erudite and petulant press release saying that "Whether developed or developing, there were 'can do' and 'won't do' countries. The rhetoric of the 'won't do' overwhelmed the concerted efforts of the 'can do'. 'Won't do' led to impasse." He also characterized the countries in resistance as "focused on rhetoric" and "unwilling to focus on work, ambition, and flexibility". Now Zoellick (the US TR) and Veneman (Secretary of Agriculture) are having a lonely press confernece (no solidarity with them) saying again, just as after seattle, that "the real losers" are the countries which most need the wto.
We've heard that the barricades are down already. (This may not be true.) Anyway, we're going back to the city now to celebrate with our compadres. The news has not really arrived to the streets yet.
Nosotros ganamos!!! (We won)
Que se vayan todos! (Get rid of them all)
reporting from the WTO Press Center
16:56 on s14 September 2003
for reports on the protests please go to http://www.chapman.edu/~starr (right hand side of the page)