Address of the President of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, Hugo Chavez Frias, at the 60th General Assembly of the United

September 26, 2005 18:56 | by Hugo Chavez

Your Excellencies, Friends, Good Afternoon,

The original purpose of this meeting has been distorted. There has been imposed on us as the centre of debate a misnamed process of reforms, which relegates to second place the most urgent. What the peoples of the world demand with urgency is the adoption of measures to confront the true problems which block and impede the efforts of our countries for development and for life.

Five years after the Millennial Summit, the crude reality is that the majority of the objectives designated, in spite of their being so extremely modest, will not be achieved.

We sought to reduce by half the incidence of hunger by the year 2015. At the present rate the measure will be reached in the year 2215. We will see who among us will be there to celebrate it.

We proclaimed the aspiration to achieve by 2015 universal primary education. At the present rate that will be reached after the year 2100 - we can then prepare to celebrate it.

That, friends of the world, brings us in an irreversible manner to a bitter conclusion. The United Nations model has withered, and it is not a simple matter of proceeding to a reform. The twenty-first century demands profound changes which will only be possible with a re-founding of this organization. This one does not work, and that is the plain truth.

Those transformations which we in Venezuela are showing to the world, have for us, from our point of view, two levels: the immediate, for right now, and that of dreams, that of utopia. The first is marked by the agreements weighed down by the old scheme. We don't avoid them, and we bring forward also concrete proposals within this model in the short term. But the dream of world peace, the dream of a world which is ours and which is not characterised by hunger, sickness, illiteracy, extreme need, requires - beyond roots - wings to fly. We need wings to fly, and we know that what we have is here is a landlocked neoliberal globalization, but we know also that there exists the reality of an interconnected world which we have to confront not as a problem, but as a challenge. We can, on the basis of national realities, exchange knowledge, complement each other, integrate markets; but at the same time we must understand that there are problems which do not have a national solution: neither a radioactive cloud, nor world prices, nor the warming of the planet, nor the hole in the ozone layer are national problems. While we advance toward a new model of the United Nations which will surely make these problems of the peoples its own, there are four reforms which cannot be renounced and which we bring to this Assembly: The first, the expansion of the Security Council in its permanent categories as well as in the non-permanent. The second, the necessary improvement of the methods of work to improve transparency and not diminish it; to increase respect and not diminish it, to increase inclusion. The third, the immediate suppression - we have continued saying this for six years from Venezuela - the immediate suppression of the veto on decisions of the Security Council. This elitist vestige is incompatible with democracy, incompatible with the whole idea of equality and of democracy. And in the fourth place, the strengthening of the role of the General Secretary - his public functions in the framework of preventive diplomacy must be consolidated. The gravity of the problems calls fourth the need for profound transformation. Mere reforms are not enough to recuperate the things which the people of the world hope for. Beyond the reforms, we demand the re-founding of the United Nations, and as we know well in Venezuela, in the words of Simon Rodriguez, "We either invent, or we err."

In the meeting of January of this year, 2005, at World Social Forum in Porto Alegre, several personalities asked that the seat of the United Nations leave the United States if the violations of international legality continued on the part of that country. Today we know that weapons of mass destruction never existed in Iraq, the people of the United States have been very rigorous in demanding the truth from their government, as have the people of the world. There never were weapons of mass destruction yet just the same, and without the approval of the United Nations, Iraq was bombed, occupied, and continues to be occupied. For this reason I propose to the Assembly that the United Nations leave a country which is not respectful of the very resolutions of this Assembly. Some proposals have pointed to a Jerusalem converted into an international city as an alternative. This proposal has the advantage of proposing a reply to the conflict in which Palestine lives, but perhaps has conflicts which would make it difficult to carry out. Therefore we bring here another proposal, one based on the "Letter from Jamaica", which was written by Simon Bolivar, the great Liberator of the South, in Jamaica, in 1815, 190 years ago. There Bolivar proposed the creation of an international city, which would serve as the seat for the idea of unity which he proposed. Bolivar was a dreamer who dreamed what today are our realities.

We believe that now is the time to think about the creation of an international city, outside of the sovereignty of any State, with the moral power to represent the nations of the world, restore equilibriu, after five centuries of disequilibrium. The new seat of the United Nations has to be in the South - 'The South also exists." said Mario Beneditti. This city, which may be one which already exists, or we can invent it, could be where various frontiers cross, or in a territory which offers a symbol to the world. Our Continent is disposed to offer the soil on which can be built the equilibrium of the universe of which Bolivar spoke in 1825.

Ladies and gentlemen, we confront today a crisis of energy without precedent in the world, in which is dangerously combined an unstoppable increase of energy consumption, the incapacity to increase the supply of hydrocarbons and the perspective of a decline in the proven reserves of fossil combustibles. Petroleum is starting to become exhausted.

By 2020 the daily demand for petroleum will be 120 million barrels, through which, without taking into account future consumption increases, there will be consumed in twenty years an amount similar to all the petroleum which humanity has used up to the present time, which will mean, inevitably, an increase in the emissions of carbon dioxide which, as is known, increases every day the temperature of the planet..

Katrina has been a sad example of the consequences this can bring if we ignore these realities. The heating of the oceans is, in its turn, the fundamental factor behind the demolishing force of the hurricanes which we have seen in recent years. It is worth taking this opportunity to transmit once again our sadness and our thoughts to the people of the United States, which is a brother people of the peoples of America also, and of the peoples of the world.

It is practically and ethically inadmissable to sacrifice the human species, invoking in an insane manner a socio-economic model with a galloping destructive capacity. It is suicidal to insist on disseminating it and imposing it as an infallible remedy for the ills of which it is, precisely, the main cause.

A little while ago the President of the United States took part in a meeting of the Organization of American States to propose to Latin America and the Caribbean that we increase the policies of the market, the opening of the market, that is, today, neoliberalism, when it is precisely the fundamental cause of the great ills and great tragedies through which the people are living; neoliberal capitalism, the Washington consensus, has generated is a greater degree of misery, of inequality and of infinite tragedy to the peoples of that continent.

Now more than ever we need, Mr. President, a new international order. We remember that the General Assembly, in its Sixth extraordinary period of sessions, held in 1974 - when some of those who are here had not been born, surely, or had been very small - adopted the program of action on a New Economic Order, together with the plan of action the General Assembly adopted on the 14th of December of that year, 1974, The Charter of Rights and Economic Duties of States, which concretised the New International Economic Order, being approved by an overwhelming majority of 120 votes in favour, 6 against and 10 abstentions.

Now more than ever we must reform, take up things which have been forgotten, like the proposal approved in this Assembly in 1974 on a New International Eonomic Order. To remind ourselves, let us say the following: Article 2 of the text confirms the right of states to nationalize the properties and natural resources which are in the hands of foreign investors, proposing equally the creation of cartels of producers of raw materials. In its resolution 3.201 of May 1974, he UN expressed the determination to work with urgency to establish the New International Economic Order based "on equity, sovereign equality, interdependence, common interest, and cooperation between all states whatever may be their economic and social systems, which will correct the inequalities and repair the injustices between the developed countries and countries in development and assure the present and future generations peace, justice and an economic and social development which accelerates at a sustained rate".

The object of the New International Order was to modify the old economic order, conceived in Breton Woods in 1944 and which remained in effect until 1971, with the overthrow of the international monetary system: good intentions, but no will to advance by that road, and we believe that that was, and that it continues to be, the right road.

Today we demand a new international economic order, and, what has also beco,e essential, a new international political order. We cannot permit the intention of a handful of countries reinterpret with impunity the principles of International Rights to give room to doctrines such as "Preventive War". They threaten us with preventive war and the so-called "Responsibility to Protect", but we have to ask those who are going to protect us, how they are going to protect us.

I believe that one of the peoples who require protection is the people of the United States, demonstrated now sadly with the tragedy of Katrina: that people has no government which protects it from the predicted disasters of nature. If we are going to talk about protecting some of us from others of us, these are very dangerous concepts which are imperialist and interventionist and seek to legalise disrespect for the sovereignty of the peoples. Full respect for the principles of International Rights of the Charter of the United Nations must constitute, Mr. President, the keystone of international relations in today's world, and the basis for the new order which we propose.

Mr. President,

In hardly 7 years of the Bolivarian Revolution, the Venezuelan people can exhibit important social and economic conquests.

1,406,000 Venezuelans learned to read and write in a year and a half. We are approximately 25 million, and in a few weeks the country - within a few days - will be able to declare itself free from illiteracy, and three million Venezuelans previously excluded for reason of poverty have been incorporated in primary, secondary and university education.

Seventeen million Venezuelans - almost 70 percent of the population, receive, for the first time in history, free medical assistance, including medicines and, in a few years, all Venezuelans will have free access to excellent medical attention.

More than 1,700,000 tons of food at low prices are supplied to 12 million persons, almost half of all Venezuelans, a million of them receive it without cost, on a temporary basis. These measures have generated a high level of food security to those most in need.

Mr. President,

More than 700,000 jobs have been created, reducing unemployment by 9 percentage points, all of this in the midst of external and internal aggressions, which include a military coup planned in Washington, a petroleum coup also planned in Washington, and in spite of the conspiracies, the calumnies by the media power, and the permanent menace of the imperialists and their allies, which even encourage assassination.

The only country where a person can give himself the luxury of demanding assassination of a Head of Government is the United States, as occurred recently in the case of the Reverend Pat Robertson, a close friend of the White House: he asked publicly before the world for my assassination and walks free. This is an international crime! It is international terrorism.

We reaffirm here in this chamber our infinite faith in humanity, today thirsty for peace and justice and to survive as a species. Simon Bolivar, father of our country and guide of our revolution, swore not to rest his arm nor repose his soul until he could see America free. We cannot rest our arms, nor repose our souls until humanity is saved.

Many thanks, ladies and gentlemen.

Thanks to John Manning for the translation