Chavez at the UN

Your Excellency and Friends

The original intention of this meeting has been totally weakened. We have been prevailed upon, as center of our debate, to consider some badly named “reforms”. These reforms relegate as unimportant all that the world’s people are urgently crying out for. This includes the adoption of measures to confront the real problems that impede development in our countries.

Five years after the Millennium Summit it is still crude reality that the great majority of its already modest goals will not be reached. We wanted to reduce the world’s hungry population to half, from an original figure of 842 million people, by the year 2015. At the present rate this goal would not be achieved until the year 2215. How many of us we will be there then to celebrate this achievement? Such a celebration would depend in any case course on humanity’s capacity to survive environmental destruction until that date.

We had proclaimed our aspiration for universal primary education by 2015. At the present rate, the goal will only be reached after year 2100. Let’s get ready for that great celebration, too.

This, my friends of the world, leads us to an irreversible and bitter conclusion: The United Nations have exhausted their model. It is not simply a case of getting on with a reform. The XXI Century demands deep changes that are only possible with a re-founding of this organization. The present one is not working; it is necessary to say it; this is the pure truth.

Those transformations, from our Venezuelan point of view, must happen in two time-frames: the immediate one, and utopian one. The first one is weighed down by the old scheme. We did not try to avoid it, and we even brought proposals to make short term changes in that model. But the dream of world-wide peace, is the dream of a collective “we” who are not ashamed to face the goals of eliminating hunger, disease, illiteracy, and extreme need. The solution to these problems requires, in addition to roots, wings to fly. We need wings to fly.

We know that there is a frightful, neoliberal globalización, but there also exists an interconnected world which we must face, not as a problem, but as a challenge. Based on our own national realities, we can interchange knowledge, harmonize with each other, and integrate markets. But at the same time we must understand that there are problems that no longer have national solutions: problems such as a radioactive cloud, international pricing practices, a pandemic illness, the over heating of the planet, and the hole of the ozone layer are not national problems.

As we advance towards a new model for the United Nations that affirms and recognizes this collective “we” there are urgent reforms we recommend for this assembly that cannot be postponed:

First, the expansion of the Security Council, both in its permanent and transitory areas, thus giving new developed and developing countries the status of permanent members.

Second, it is necessary to improve operational methods, to increase and not diminish transparency, to increase and not diminish mutual respect, and to increase inclusion.

Third, we demand the immediate suppression, as we have been saying already for six years in Venezuela, the immediate suppression of the veto in the Security Council. That elitist relic is incompatible with democracy, incompatible with the very idea of equality and democracy.

And in fourth place, we propose the strengthening the Secretary General’s role. His political functions within the framework of the preventive diplomacy must be consolidated.

The gravity of the problems requires deep transformations. Token reforms are not enough to recover our sense of “we”. What are the world’s peoples waiting for? Beyond the reforms, we Venezuelans demand the re-founding of the United Nations. As we well know in Venezuela, and in the words of Simón Rodriguez, Caracas’ Robinson, either we create or we go astray. 

Last January, of this year 2005, we were in World Social Forum in Porto Alegre. There, several personalities requested that the seat of United Nations be taken from the United States if that country continues to violate international legal norms. Today we know that there never were any weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. The American people has always been very scrupulous in their demand that their rulers be truthful with them. The other peoples have also made this demand. Even though there never were weapons of mass destruction, in spite of the United Nations’ objections, Iraq was bombed, occupied, and continues to be occupied. For that reason we propose to this assembly that the United Nations should leave a country that does not respect the resolutions of its own assembly.

Some proposals have included converting Jerusalem into an international city. Perhaps this idea has the generosity of offering an answer to the conflict that Palestine is living through, but such a proposal would be difficult to carry out. For that reason we have brought another one here, based on Simón Bolívar’s “Letter of Jamaica”, written in Jamaica, in 1815, 190 years ago. He suggested the creation of an international city that would represent the idea of international unity. Bolivar was a dreamer that dreamed today’s world. We believe that it is time to create an international city that is not associated with a particular State’s sovereignty. Such a city would have sufficient moral force to represent the nations of the world. But this international city must redress five centuries of imbalance. The new seat of United Nations must be in the South. The South also exists, said Mario Bennedetti. It could be an existing city, or we can invent it.  It could be located at a point where several territorial borders meet or on land that symbolizes the world. Our continent is ready to offer such a soil on which the balance of the Universe could be constructed, as Bolívar recommended in 1825.

Ladies, gentlemen: we today face an unprecedented world power crisis. Inexorable power consumption growth is dangerously combined with both the incapacity to increase the supply of hydrocarbons, and the perspective of a decline in the proven reserves of fossil fuels. Petroleum is beginning to run out  In 2020, the daily demand of petroleum will be 120 million barrels. Even without taking future growth into account, in 20 years a quantity of petroleum will be consumed that will be equal to all that humanity has used until the now. This will inevitably lead to an increase in the emissions of carbon dioxide that, as it is known, contribute every day to increasing the temperature of our planet.

Katrina has been a painful example of the consequences of ignoring these realities. The heating of the oceans is the fundamental factor behind the dangerous increase of hurricane violence that we have seen in recent years. This is a good occasion to once again transmit our pain and our sadness to the people of the United States. The towns of America are our towns, and are also the world’s towns.

It is practically and ethically inadmissible to sacrifice the human species, madly invoking the use of a socioeconomic model of careening destructive capacity. It is suicidal to insist on spreading this model as if it were an infallible remedy for the evils which it has, indeed, caused. Recently the President of the United States attended a meeting of the Organization of American States in which he proposed increasing market policies, the opening of markets, that is, neoliberalism for Latin America and the Caribbean. These policies are indeed the fundamental cause of great tragedies and evils that our people endure. Neoliberal Capitalism is the “Consensus” of Washington. It has generated greater misery, inequality and an infinite tragedy for the peoples of this continent.

Now more than ever we need, Mr. President, a new international order. Let us remember the General Assembly of the United Nations, in its sixth extraordinary period of sessions, celebrated in 1974 in Breton Woods (some of those who are here had not been born yet, or were very small). In 1974, 31 years ago, the Assembly adopted the Declaration and the Program of Action of a new international economic order. That 14th of December of 1974, along with the action plan, the General Assembly adopted the Bill of Rights and Economic Duties of the States that the new international economic order made specific. It was approved by an overwhelming majority of 120 votes in favor, 6 against and 10 abstentions. In those days the delegates voted in the United Nations, because now they do not do that anymore. These days documents are approved here that I denounce, on Venezuela’s behalf, as null and illegal. It was approved violating the norm of the United Nations. This document is not valid. It should be discussed. The government of Venezuela is going repeat this all over the world. We cannot accept an open and shameless dictatorship in the United Nations. Because of this I call very respectfully on my colleagues, the Chiefs of State and Governments. Recently I met with President Néstor Kirchner and I showed him the document. This document was given to our delegates five minutes before this general discussion, only in English, and it was approved with a dictatorial hammer blow that I have denounced as being illegal, irksome, null and illegitimate.

Hear me well, Mr. President. If we are going to accept this we are lost. Let us turn off the light, close the doors, and close the windows. It would be terrible that we accept a dictatorship here in this hall. We need to rediscover what was lost along the way like the proposal approved in this assembly in 1974 of a new international economic order. Particularly we might remember Article 2 of the text of that resolution which confirms the State’s right to nationalize natural properties and resources that had fallen into the hands of foreign investors. The proposition also proposed the creation of cartels for the producers of raw materials. We might remember the May, 1974 Resolution 3201. It expressed the urgent determination to establish a new international economic order based on fairness, sovereign equality, interdependence, common interest and equality between all the States without reference to their economic and social systems.

The objective of the new international economic order was to modify the old one. (I believe that the president of the United States spoke yesterday for 20 minutes. I request permission, Your Excellence, to finish my speech, too.) The objective of the new international economic order was to modify the old one that was conceived in 1944. This order still was in use in 1971 during the collapse of the international monetary system. The motivations to change were only good intentions; there was no will to advance along that road. We think that that was and continues to be the right way. Today in Venezuela we demand  a new international economic order. But also essential is a new international political order. We cannot allow a handful of countries to  unconstrainedly reinterpret the principles of international law, giving legitimacy to doctrines like preventive war. And do they ever threaten us with preventive war! They now call it the responsibility to protect us, but we have to ask who will be doing this protecting? How they are going to protect us?

I believe that the United States needs protection, as has been so painfully demonstrated now by the tragedy of Katrina. This country does not have government to protect it from predictable natural disasters, as long as we are talking about protecting each other. These are very dangerous concepts that imperialism is drawing up. They are mark out intervensionism and are trying to legalize the lack of respect for people’s sovereignty. They ignore respect for the principles of international law and the Letter of the United Nations. This should constitute, Mr. President the keystone of international relations in today’s world, and the basis of the new order that we advocate.

Permit me, in conclusion, to mention how our liberator, Simon Bolivar spoke of world integration, of a world-wide parliament, a congress of parliamentarians. It is necessary to again take up proposals like this. As I mentioned earlier, In Jamaica in 1815 Bolivar said, and I quote, “How beautiful it would be for us that the isthmus of Panama were to become what Corinth was for the Greeks. Hopefully someday we will have a noble congress of representatives of the Republic of the Kingdoms. There we could deal with and discuss the high interests of peace and war among nations that belong to the other three parts of the world “. This kind of unitary corporation may happen, some happy renaissance. It is certainly urgent to find an effective way of dealing with international terrorism, but this danger should not become a pretext to let loose unjustified and violent military antagonism posing as doctrine after the 11th of September. Only close and real cooperation, and the end of double discourse on the subject of terrorism, used by some countries of the North, will be able to end this horrible calamity.

Mr. President: in only seven years the Bolivarian Revolution, the Venezuelan people, can show important social and economic conquests. 1,406,000 Venezuelans learned to read and to write in one and a half years, and our population only consists of 25 million people. In a few weeks, the country will be able to declare itself to be a territory free of illiteracy. Three million Venezuelans have incorporated to the primary, secondary and university education that before were excluded because of poverty. 17.000.000 Venezuelans, almost 70% of the population, receive for the first time in history free medical attention, including medicines. And in a few years, all Venezuelans will have access to excellent medical attention. More than 1,700,000 tons of food were distributed at reasonable prices to 12.000.000 people, almost half of the Venezuelans. 1.000.000 million of them are temporarily receiving this food for free. These measures have generated a high level of nutritional security for the most needy. Mr. President, 700,000 jobs have been created, reducing unemployment by 9 percentage points. All this has occurred in the middle of internal and external aggression that included a military coup, supported by Washington, and an oil strike, also supported by Washington. In spite of these conspiracies, and the lies that have appeared in the media and the permanent threats of the Empire and its allies. These threats have included the incitation to magnicide. The only country where a person has the luxury to request assassination of a Chief of State is the United States. This just happened when the Reverend Pat Robertson, a very good friend of the White House publicly requested my murder, and then walked free. This is an international crime, international terrorism.

We will fight for Venezuela, for Latin American integration and the world. We reaffirm here in this hall our infinite faith in man, who today thirsts for peace and justice, and to survive as a species. Simón Bolivar, father of our country and our revolutionary guide, swore not to give his arm any rest, or repose to his soul, until America was free. We also will not rest our arms or give repose to our souls until we have contributed to saving humanity.


Leave a comment