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2003 Summer Institute for Teachers

Ten Years After NAFTA:
How Has Globalization Affected Mexico?

Films


The following films have been reviewed to give teachers an idea of how they might fit into their curriculum.

Bill Moyers Reports: Trading Democracy (2002)
This informative film explains how corporations have been able to use NAFTA’s Chapter 11 regulations to undermine environmental laws in Canada, Mexico and the United States. Moyers does a good job of clearly explaining a complicated issue.

To read a transcript of this film, go to http://www.pbs.org/now/transcript/transcript_tdfull.html

To order the film ($29.98 plus shipping) call: 1-800-336-1917.


Señorita Extraviada (2001)
Over 200 young, poor women have been raped and murdered in Ciudad Juárez since 1993. Lourdes Portillo documents their story in this slow-moving but powerful film. In the end, she can draw no conclusions about who is responsible for these unsolved murders, although she investigates several factors that contribute to the lack of justice in this maquila town. Note: This film contains some graphic scenes showing the retrieval of women’s bodies from the desert.

For more information, visit http://www.lourdesportillo.com/senoritaextraviada/


Maquila: A Tale of Two Mexicos (2000)
This film moves at a faster pace than some of the other films, incorporating corridos and rap songs about life along the border. However, it makes no attempt to be unbiased, coming out clearly against the role of multinational companies in the border region. It attempts to show how poverty in rural areas like Chiapas drives people to the shanty towns of border cities like Juárez. While this is an important point, the film does a much better job at painting a complex picture of life on the border. The scenes from Chiapas come off like stock footage, limited to peasants marching and brief video clips of sub-comandante Marcos.

For more information, visit http://www.womenontheborder.org/films.htm



Borderline Cases: Environmental Matters at the U.S.–Mexico Border (1997)
This even-handed, thorough albeit slow-paced film investigates environmental problems that have been festering for the last 25 years in border cities from Brownville, Texas to Tijuana, Mexico. It also shows how various groups have tried to tackle the problems.

For more information, visit http://www.bullfrogfilms.com/catalog/bc.html


Escaping From History (1994)

This film explores the concept of the “global village” showing how mass communication and mass production go hand in hand. The basic premise of the film is that before mass communication, all mass societies were dictatorships. Mass communication, beginning with the printing press, made democracy possible. It follows the expansion of television in Mexico, and the gradual opening of the media to opposition parties arguing that this expansion is the precursor to true democracy.

The film also delves into the problems caused by mass consumption. With television access, people in the third world can see what they are missing and begin to want the luxuries and conveniences they see people in the first world enjoy. Unfortunately, the environment will not support everyone on the planet consuming at first world levels. The film makes the argument that global environmental rules and worldwide rationing of consumption must be put in place so that everyone has fair access to the fruits of development. Although some of the statements made in this film seem like over-simplifications of a complex reality, it does raise several interesting issues and does not seem nearly as dated as most films on globalization from the early 90’s.

For more information, visit http://www.bullfrogfilms.com/catalog/efh.html



Research Questions

What is globalization?

Why did the U.S., Mexico and Canada sign NAFTA?

Why were the labor and environment side agreements added?

Does the labor side agreement protect workers?

Does the environmental side agreement protect the environment?

What is Chapter 11?

How has globalization affected growth in Mexico?

Who benefits from NAFTA?

What is sustainable development?

Should NAFTA be expanded?

 
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