Many of the changes that explain today’s world occurred in the 1990s. With the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, and the disintegration of the socialist bloc, free-market economic policies expanded, triggering responses from anti-globalisation and alter-globalisation movements, such as that started by the Zapatista Army of National Liberation in Chiapas, Mexico, on 1 January 1994, the same day the North American Free Trade Agreement came into effect. In Europe, the Maastricht Treaty, signed in 1992, was highly complex due to its double slant: on one side, it appealed to a federal Europe and propelled European citizenship, but on the other, it ushered in the move to a single currency, based on neoliberal economic policy. In Spain, six years after it joined the EU, in what was considered an example of successful integration into modernity, the celebrations of 1992 — the Universal Exhibition of Seville, the Barcelona Olympics, Madrid as European Capital of Culture — reflected an eagerness that was blinded to the weaknesses of an economic structure based partly on the housing bubble, which would burst in 2008, marking the beginning of the end for globalised euphoria.
Expo ‘92 in Seville was an event conceived to celebrate Spain’s categorical arrival into modernity and served to elucidate the light and darkness of Iberian colonial legacy, as well as enabling an analysis of the inherent relationship that exists between conquest and violence to be carried out. Violence defined by extractivism, by the plundering of history and by the logics of colonialist dispossession, including the exploitation of resources and people, and conflicts of gender and race.