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‘The great majority of
the intended goals ... will not be achieved’
Speech by President Hugo Chávez Frías of Venezuela
at the 60th General Assembly of the United Nations Organization. Translation by
Excellencies, friends, good afternoon.
original purpose of this meeting has been totally distorted. The core of the
debate foisted upon us has been an ill-named reform process that relegates to
the background the most urgent issues, what the peoples of the world demand with
urgency, which is the adoption of measures to deal with the real problems that
hinder and impede the efforts made by our countries toward development and a
years after the Millennium Summit, the harsh reality is that the great majority
of the intended goals -- although they were inherently very modest -- will not
attempted to reduce by half the 842 million hungry people by the year 2015. At
the current rate, that goal will be achieved by the year 2215. Who knows who
among us will be there to celebrate it -- assuming the human race manages to
survive the destruction that threatens our environment.
proclaimed our hope of achieving universal elementary education by the year
2015. At the current rate, that goal will be reached after the year 2100. Let us
prepare, then, to celebrate it.
friends of the world, leads us irreversibly to a bitter conclusion: The United
Nations has exhausted its model, and this is not simply about going ahead with a
reform. The 21st Century demands profound changes that will be possible only
through a re-founding of this organization. This [world body] does not work. We
must say it. It is the honest truth.
transformations -- which we Venezuelans tell the world about -- have for us,
from our viewpoint, two stages: The immediate, the right-this-moment stage, and
the dream stage, the Utopian stage. The former is marked by the agreements made
under the old scheme. We do not reject them, and we even bring concrete
proposals within that model, for the short term. But the dream of world peace,
the dream of a world not ashamed by hunger, disease, illiteracy, extreme
necessity, requires -- apart from roots -- wings with which to fly.
we need wings. We are aware of a terrifying neoliberal globalization, but there
is also the reality of an interconnected world that we have to face not as a
problem but as a challenge. We can, on the basis of national realities, exchange
knowledge, integrate markets, complement each other, but at the same time we
must understand that there are problems that no longer have a national solution.
A radioactive cloud, world prices, pandemic diseases, global warming, the hole
in the ozone layer -- none of these are national problems.
move toward a new model of the United Nations that will bring about the oneness
of all people, there are four urgent and irrecusable reform proposals we bring
to this Assembly.
the expansion of the Security Council, both in its permanent and nonpermanent
categories, thus granting admission to new developed and developing countries as
new permanent members.
a needed improvement of the means of labor, in order to increase transparency,
not to diminish it; to boost respect, not to reduce it; to expand inclusion.
the immediate suppression -- we've been saying this in Venezuela for the past
six years -- the immediate suppression of the veto in the decisions made by the
Security Council. That elitist vestige is incompatible with democracy,
incompatible with the single idea of equality and democracy.
fourth, the strengthening of the Secretary General's role -- of his political
functions within the framework of preventive diplomacy -- must be consolidated.
The gravity of the problems calls for deep transformations. Mere reforms are not
enough to regain the oneness all the peoples of the world expect. More than just
reforms, we in Venezuela call for the re-foundation of the United Nations. And
we in Venezuela know very well the words of Simón Bolívar, the Robinson [Crusoe]
of Caracas: "We must either invent or fail."
meeting last January of the 2005 World Social Forum in Porto Alegre, various
personalities asked that the United Nations be moved out of the United States if
that country's violations of international law continue. Today we know that
there were never any weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. The people of the
United States always have been rigorous about demanding the truth from their
leaders, and so are the people of the world. There were never any weapons of
mass destruction, and yet -- bypassing the United Nations --
was bombed, occupied and remains occupied.
is why we propose to this Assembly that the United Nations leave a country that
does not respect the very resolutions adopted by this Assembly. Some proposals
have pointed to
into an international city, as an alternative. That proposal generously posits
an answer to the conflict affecting
but it may have some sharp edges that could render it hard to accomplish. That
is why we are offering here another proposal, based on the Jamaica Charter that
Simón Bolívar, the great Liberator of the South, wrote in Jamaica in 1815, 190
years ago. In it, Bolívar proposed the creation of an international city that
might serve as the site of the idea of unity he posited. Bolivar was a dreamer
who dreamt what today are our realities.
believe the time has come to think about the creation of an international city
free of the sovereignty of any state, with its own moral strength to represent
all nations of the world. But that international city has to balance five
centuries of imbalance. The new headquarters of the United Nations must be in
the South. "The south also exists!" said [Uruguayan novelist] Mario Benedetti.
That city -- which may already exist or we can invent -- could rise at the
intersection of several borders, or on a territory that symbolizes the world.
Our continent is ready to offer the soil on which to build the universe's pivot,
as described by Bolívar in 1825.
and gentlemen, the world today faces an unprecedented energy crisis where an
unstoppable increase of energy consumption, the inability to increase the supply
of hydrocarbons and the perspective of a decline in the proven reserves of
fossil fuels are dangerously combined. Oil has begun to run out.
2020, the daily demand for oil will be 120 million barrels. Such demand, even
discounting future growth, would consume in 20 years a volume equivalent to all
the oil humanity has consumed up to now. Inevitably, that will mean an increase
in the emissions of carbon dioxide, which, as is well known, raise the
temperature of our planet every day.
Katrina has been a painful example of the consequences man can suffer if he
ignores such realities. The warming of the oceans is the fundamental factor
behind the devastating increase in the strength of the hurricanes we have
witnessed in recent years. We take this opportunity to express once more our
pain and our sorrow to the people of the United States, who are brothers and
sisters of the people of
and the people of the world.
practically and ethically impermissible to sacrifice the human race by insanely
invoking the validity of a socioeconomic model that has an overwhelming ability
to destroy. It is suicidal to disseminate it and impose it as an infallible
remedy for the ills caused principally by the disseminator.
long ago the President of the United States attended a meeting of the
Organization of American States to urge Latin American and Caribbean nations to
increase market-oriented policies, to open up their markets -- that is to say
neoliberalism -- when that is precisely the fundamental cause of the great ills
and the great tragedies suffered by our people -- neoliberal capitalism. The
Washington Consensus has generated nothing but a higher degree of misery,
inequality and infinite tragedy for all the people on this continent.
President, now, more than ever, we need a new international order. Let us
remember that the United Nations General Assembly, in its sixth extraordinary
session in 1974 -- 31 years ago, when some of those present here were not even
born or were very young -- adopted a declaration and action plan on a new
International Economic Order. Along with that action plan, the General Assembly
on Dec. 14, 1974
adopted the Charter of Economic Rights and Duties of the member states, which
concretized the New International Economic Order.
document was approved by an overwhelming majority: 120 votes in favor, 6 against,
and 10 abstentions. That was a time when voting was possible at the United
Nations, because no voting is conducted now. Now the member states approve
documents such as this one, which I denounce on behalf of Venezuela as null,
void and illegal. This document was approved in violation of the current rules
of the United Nations. This document is not valid!
document should be discussed -- the Venezuelan government will make it public --
but we cannot accept an open and shameless dictatorship in the United Nations.
These matters should be discussed and to this end I very respectfully ask my
colleagues, heads of states and heads of governments, to discuss it.
just meeting with President Néstor Kirchner [of Argentina] and, well, I pulled
out this document. This document was handed out five minutes earlier -- and only
in English! -- to our delegation and was approved by a dictatorial blow of the
gavel that I denounce to the world as illegal, null, void and illegitimate.
to me, Mr. President: if we accept this, we are lost. We might as well turn off
the lights, and close the doors and windows! It would be inconceivable for us to
accept a dictatorship here in this hall.
more than ever -- as we were saying -- we need to reprise issues left by the
wayside, such as the proposal approved in this Assembly in 1974 about a New
Economic International Order. Article Two of that charter confirms the right of
states to nationalize the property and natural resources held by foreign
investors. It also proposed the creation of cartels of producers of raw
Resolution No. 3021 of May 1974, the Assembly expressed its determination to
work urgently to establish a New Economic International Order based on -- listen
carefully, I beg you -- "the equity, sovereign equality, interdependence, common
interest and cooperation among all states, regardless of their economic and
social systems, that will correct the inequalities and repair the injustices
between developed and developing countries, and guarantee to present and future
generations peace, justice and an economic and social development that will grow
at a sustainable rate," unquote (I was reading from that historical resolution
objective of the New Economic International Order was to modify the old economic
order conceived at Breton Woods ... (TO THE ASSEMBLY PRESIDENT: I believe the
President of the United States spoke here for about 20 minutes yesterday, I am
told, so I ask your permission, Excellency, to finish my address.) The objective
of the New Economic International Order was to modify the old economic order
conceived at Breton Woods in 1944, which would be in effect until 1971, by
breaking down the international monetary system. It was only a good intention;
there was no willingness to move along that road. Yet we believe that that was
-- and continues to be -- the right road.
we the people demand -- in this case, the people of Venezuela -- a new
international economic order. But it is also indispensable to have a new
international political order. Let us not allow a few countries to try to
reinterpret with impunity the principles of international law to permit
doctrines such as "preemptive warfare" -- oh, how they threaten us with that
preemptive war -- and now the so-called "responsibility to protect." We need to
ask ourselves: who is going to protect us and how are they going to protect us?
believe that among the people who require protection are the people of the
United States. That was shown painfully recently with the Katrina tragedy. They
don't have a government that will protect them from the foretold disasters of
nature. If we are going to talk about protecting each other; these are very
dangerous concepts that outline imperialism, that outline interventionism and
try to legalize the disrespect for national sovereignty. A full respect for the
principles of international law and the United Nations Charter must be, Mr.
President, the cornerstone for international relations in today’s world and the
basis of the new order we propose.
me once again, so I can finish, to quote Simón Bolívar, our Liberator, when he
talks about the world's integration, the World Parliament, and a congress of
parliamentarians. It is necessary to reprise many proposals such as Bolivar's.
Bolivar said in
Jamaica in 1815 --
I've already quoted him, I'm reading a sentence from his Jamaican Charter -- "
How beautiful it would be if the isthmus of Panama were for us what the isthmus
of Corinth was for the Greek. I hope that someday we may be lucky enough to
install there an august congress of representatives from the republics, from the
kingdoms, to discuss and debate about the high interests of peace and war with
the nations of the other three parts of the world. This kind of corporation can
come together in some happy epoch of our regeneration."
urgent to fight international terrorism in an efficient manner, but not using it
as a pretext to unleash unjustified military aggressions that violate
international law, such as those that have become doctrine in the wake of Sept.
11. Only a close and true cooperation -- and the end of the double standard that
some countries of the North apply to the issue of terrorism -- can end this
President, in just seven years of Bolivarian Revolution, the people of Venezuela
can display important social and economic advances. One million 406 thousand
Venezuelans learned to read and write in one and one-half years. We number
approximately 25 million people and in a few weeks -- within a few days -- our
country can declare itself free from illiteracy. And three million Venezuelans
who previously had been excluded because of poverty have entered elementary,
secondary and university education.
Seventeen million Venezuelan men and women -- almost 70 percent of the
population -- are receiving, for the first time in history, free medical care,
including medicines, and in a few years all Venezuelans will have free access to
the finest medical care.
than one million 700 tons of food are supplied at reasonable prices to 12
million people, almost half the population. One million people get food free, on
a temporary basis. These measures have generated a high level of alimentary
security to the neediest people.
President, more than 700,000 new jobs have been created, thus reducing
unemployment by 9 percentage points, all of this amidst internal and external
aggressions that included a military coup d’état plotted in Washington and an
oil-industry shutdown also plotted in Washington, and despite the conspiracies,
the slander spread by the powerful media, and the permanent threat of the empire
and its allies, who even encourage the assassination of a president.
only country where a person can call for the assassination of a head of state is
the United States,
as happened recently in the case of a preacher named Pat Robertson, a man very
close to the White House. He called publicly -- before the world -- for my
assassination and he remains a free person. That is an international crime,
then, we shall fight for Venezuela, for Latin American integration and the world.
Here, in this hall, we reaffirm our infinite faith that mankind, thirsty for
peace and justice, will survive as a species. Simón Bolívar, founding father of
our country and guide of our revolution, swore never to give rest to his arms or
repose to his soul until he had seen America free. Let us not give rest to our
hands or repose to our souls until we save humanity.
Gentlemen, I thank you.