4973 - A transnational perspective on the forming of a national Mexican population policy

Until the beginning of the 1970s Mexico was, in a line with many Latin American and many self-understood block free countries, a country with strong pronatalistic policies, a growing population was regarded positive under all circumstances. Under pressure, especially of US-influenced transnational actors, Mexico made a radical turn to a policy with an antinatalistic stance under the umbrella of responsible parenthood. This transformation took place during the presidency of Luis Echeverría Álvarez, self-understood voice of the Third World. Mexico’s new policy was internationally quick presented as a model for all nations fighting for a new economic order. With these policy and linguistic turns it was possible to present a policy prepared by internal and external transnational pressures, especially by US-actors, as a national, sovereign, and even left policy example. Mexico not only implemented antinatalistic policies for its own population, it even began to become active in pressuring for policy change in neighboring countries, in exporting its understanding of a progressive and in new words sustainable population policy. The efforts were made via state channels, but especially via Mexican NGOs, often financed by or even in cooperation with US-NGOs.

The aim of the paper is to explore the turnaround in Mexico’s population policy not from a national perspective that includes international influences – as the history is usually narrated – but from a more actor focused perspective, that reaches beyond borders and categories and discovers the complexity and Janus-headed acting not only of transnational but also of state actors. The purpose is to discover the transnational roots as well as the linguistic turns and policy moves that integrated a policy close to US interests into a sphere of international fighting of the Third World, especially of the countries with a leftist self understanding, under Mexican leadership.

Keywords: Population, NGOs, Third World, Luis Echeverría Álvarez

Author: Faust-Scalisi, Mario (Univ. of Bremen, Germany / Deutschland)


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