Luis Echeverría’s international policy was very active. Following in the footsteps of López Mateos, Echeverría positioned himself as a leading actor within the so-called third world bloc, that is, the countries that did not belong to the capitalist first world or the communist second world.
It has been recalled that Echeverría aspired to receive the Nobel Peace Prize and to lead the United Nations Organization. He did not achieve either of those two recognitions. When he left the presidency he took refuge in the Center for Economic and Social Studies of the Third World, founded by himself. The third world discourse faded over time until it remained like a relic. When the Berlin Wall fell in 1989, the concept of the “third world” ceased to make sense, as the “second world” collapsed.
On what did Echeverría base his aspirations for the Nobel Prize or to lead the UN? Among all his international policy actions, perhaps the most prominent was the “Charter of Economic Rights and Duties of States” approved by the United Nations General Assembly on December 12, 1974.
The second article declared that every State had the right to “regulate and exercise authority over foreign investments within its jurisdiction.”
national” and even to “nationalize, expropriate or transfer ownership of foreign assets” as long as adequate compensation was paid. The third article stated that every State had the right to participate in international trade regardless of
his political regime
The antecedent of this Charter was the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, held on May 18, 1972 in Santiago, Chile, in which “the urgent need to establish mandatory rules that systematically and universally govern the economic relations between states”, in particular, relations between developed and developing nations. At that conference, the drafting of a Charter of Economic Rights and Duties of the States was agreed upon.
Although the Charter was drawn up by a team made up of representatives from various countries, the initiative and even the general lines of its content were proposed by Mexico and, in particular, by Echeverría, which is why the national press described the approval of the Charter as a triumph of Mexican diplomacy and, personally, of the president himself.
What were the main ideas of this Charter? The purpose of the Charter was “to promote the establishment of a new international economic order based on equity, sovereign equality, interdependence, common interest and cooperation among all States, without distinction of economic and social systems.” The first article stated that “Every State has the sovereign and inalienable right to choose its economic system, as well as its political, social and cultural systems, in accordance with the will of its people, without interference, coercion or external threats of any kind” . The second article declared that every State had the right to “regulate and exercise authority over foreign investments within its national jurisdiction” and even to “nationalize, expropriate or transfer the ownership of foreign assets”, as long as adequate compensation was paid. . In the third article it was stated that every State had the right to participate in international trade regardless of its political regime. The eighth article held that it was the duty of all States to “cooperate to facilitate more rational and equitable international economic relations” in order to achieve a more balanced world economy and one that, in particular, would respond to the needs of developing countries. The thirteenth article indicated as an obligation of the States that they favor the scientific and technological transfer towards the developing countries to close the gap between these and the most developed ones. The sixteenth article stated that “It is the duty and right of all States, individually and collectively, to eliminate colonialism, apartheid, racial discrimination, neocolonialism and all forms of foreign aggression, occupation and domination.”
Although the Charter was approved by a majority in the Assembly, it did not have the favorable vote of the most powerful countries of the first world, such as the United States and England. For this reason, the effort made remained a dead letter.
On what did Echeverría base his aspirations for the Nobel Prize or to lead the UN? Among all the actions
of its international policy, perhaps the most outstanding was the “Charter of Economic Rights and Duties of States” approved in the General Assembly of the United Nations on December 12, 1974
The ideal scenario that the Charter paints for us is that of a world prior to neoliberal globalization. However, it is a fact that this globalization, in which we have lived for several decades, is in crisis. Can we suppose that in the new world panorama some of the ideas of the Charter will become relevant again?
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Echeverrismo and the international economic order