A colorful new version of Loteria! a Mexican version of Bingo reveals the powerful companies acting behind the scenes of the World Trade Organization (WTO). This new game, a deck of 54 cards with characters ranging from El Vaquero (the cowboy) representing Philip Morris to La Jeringa (the Syringe) representing Eli Lilly, is a popular education tool for young and old alike about the corporations and their lobby groups who rig the global trading system.
LoWTOteria (LOMCeria in Spanish) shows how these corporations are playing a game of chance with the lives of people all over the planet. Free trade is not free at all, but the management and manipulation of the global economy to serve the wealthy at the expense of the poor, says Pratap Chatterjee, program director of Corpwatch.
The bilingual game (Spanish and English), launched to coincide with the WTO meeting in Cancun, Mexico,from September 10-14, 2003. At this, the 5th ministerial, will work to lock in agreements on issues ranging from intellectual property rights, to agriculture, to new horizons such as government procurement potentially lucrative area for many multinationals, turning a blind eye to those directly impacted by trade policies.
LoWTOria features hand drawn cartoons, based on the popular childrens game, by Algerian-American artist Khalil Bendib, that portrays companies that sit on WTO lobbying committees. El Mundo (the World) is used to represent Bechtel, which uses a globe as its logo, while El Diablito (the Little Devil) has been transformed into a parody of Ronald McDonald.
The golden arches of McDonalds fast-food chainin almost every major city in the worldmake this company the poster child of globalization. In the United States they employ minimum wage workers and use prison labor to make their uniforms. The billions and billions of McDonalds hamburgers consumed by American kids have contributed to making them the worlds most obese children, while also fattening the companys profits, is the accompanying text to explain the card.
Along with the cards is a booklet with information about the company lobbying efforts. For example this guide explains that United States Vice President Dick Cheney used to run a Texas-based construction company called Halliburton, whose executives chaired the WTO Energy Services Coalition, pushing for the elimination of barriers to private energy services in their negotiations and a set of 10 playing boards featuring information on major industries, such as resource extraction, agribusiness and pharmaceuticals which have a lot to gain from the WTOs pro-corporate agreements.
The game is also played just like the original: each player gets a playing board with pictures of 16 cards arranged in a grid. The dealer who is running the game has a deck of 54 cards pulls cards from the deck and reads out information about the companies presented in the game. Each player tries to locate the picture on their board. The first to create the previously announced pattern shouts Lotera, Lotera!and wins.
Note to Reporters: The cards, the playing boards and the information from the booklet are available online at Website: http://www.wtoloteria.com
Northern California-based reporters: CorpWatch will be hosting an event on Wednesday, September 17th, at La Pena in Berkeley, to report back from the protests at the WTO meeting. Attendees will also get a chance to play and win their own deck of the WTO Loteria game. Speakers will include representatives of CorpWatch, the International Forum on Globalization, and the Mexico Solidarity Network. For more information contact Natasha Ott at 510 849 2423.