Friday, September 23, 2005

Chavez: "We Cannot Accept... Dictatorship in the UN"


This is a transcript of Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez's speech to the UN on September 15, 2005. In it he vows to stand up to the latest act of Bush Administration agression: Dictatorial Control of the United Nations.

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English Translation from

Speech by President Chavez at UN General Assembly, Thursday September 15, 2005

Translated by Néstor Sánchez
(Agencia Bolivaria de Noticias Photo)

Your Excellencies, friends, good afternoon:

The original purpose of this meeting has been completely distorted. The imposed center of debate has been a so-called reform process that overshadows the most urgent issues, what the peoples of the world claim with urgency: the adoption of measures that deal with the real problems that block and sabotage the efforts made by our countries for real development and life.

Five years after the Millennium Summit, the harsh reality is that the great majority of estimated goals- which were very modest indeed- will not be met.

We pretended reducing 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 in this audience will be there to celebrate it? That is only if the human race is able to survive the destruction that threats our natural environment.

We had claimed the aspiration of achieving universal primary 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, this takes us to a sad conclusion: The United Nations has exhausted its model, and it is not all about reform. The XXI century claims deep changes that will only be possible if a new organization is founded. This UN does not work.

We have to say it. It is the truth.

These transformations – the ones Venezuela is referring to- have, according to us, two phases: The immediate phase and the aspiration phase, a utopia. The first is framed by the agreements that were signed in the old system. We do not run away from them. We even bring concrete proposals in that model for the short term.

But the dream of an ever-lasting world peace, the dream of a world not ashamed by hunger, disease, illiteracy, extreme necessity, needs-apart from roots- to spread its wings to fly. We need to spread our wings and fly.

We are aware of a frightening 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 could, on the basis of national realities, exchange knowledge, integrate markets, interconnect, but at the same time we must understand that there are problems that do not have a national solution: radioactive clouds, world oil prices, diseases, warming of the planet or the hole in the ozone layer. These are not domestic problems.

As we stride toward a new United Nations model that includes all of us when they talk about the people, we are bringing four indispensable and urgent reform proposals to this Assembly:

  • the first; the expansion of the Security Council in its permanent categories as well as the non permanent categories, thus allowing new developed and developing countries as new permanent and non permanent categories.
  • The second; we need to assure the necessary improvement of the work methodology in order to increase transparency, not to diminish it.
  • The third; we need to immediately suppress- we have said this repeatedly in Venezuela for the past six years- the veto in the decisions taken by the Security Council, that elitist trace is incompatible with democracy, incompatible with the principles of equality and democracy.
  • And the fourth; we need to strengthen the role of the Secretary General; his/her political functions regarding preventive diplomacy, that role must be consolidated.
The seriousness of all problems calls for deep transformations. Mere reforms are not enough to recover that “we” all the peoples of the world are waiting for. More than just reforms we in Venezuela call for the foundation of a new United Nations, or as the teacher of Simón Bolívar, Simón Rodríguez said: “Either we invent or we err.”

At the Porto Alegre World Social Forum last January different personalities asked for the United Nations to move outside the United States if the repeated violations to international rule of law continue. Today we know that there were never any weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. The people of the United States have always been very rigorous in demanding the truth to their leaders; the people of the world demand the same thing. There were never any weapons of mass destruction; however, Iraq was bombed, occupied and it is still occupied.

All this happened over the United Nations. That is why we propose this Assembly that the United Nations should leave a country that does not respect the resolutions taken by this same Assembly. Some proposals have pointed out to Jerusalem as an international city as an alternative. The proposal is generous enough to propose an answer to the current conflict affecting Palestine. Nonetheless, it may have some characteristics that could make it very difficult to become a reality. That is why we are bringing a proposal made by Simón Bolívar, the great Liberator of the South, in 1815. Bolívar proposed then the creation of an international city that would host the idea of unity.

We believe it is time to think about the creation of an international city with its own sovereignty, with its own strength and morality to represent all nations of the world. Such international city has to balance five centuries of unbalance. The headquarters of the United Nations must be in the South.

Ladies and gentlemen, we are facing an unprecedented energy crisis in which an unstoppable increase of energy is perilously reaching record highs, as well as the incapacity of increase oil supply and the perspective of a decline in the proven reserves of fuel worldwide. Oil is starting to become exhausted.

For the year 2020 the daily demand for oil will be 120 million barrels. Such demand, even without counting future increments- would consume in 20 years what humanity has used up to now. This means that more carbon dioxide will inevitably be increased, thus warming our planet even more.

Hurricane Katrina has been a painful example of the cost of ignoring such realities. The warming of the oceans is the fundamental factor behind the demolishing increase in the strength of the hurricanes we have witnessed in the last years. Let this occasion be an outlet to send our deepest condolences to the people of the United States. Their people are brothers and sisters of all of us in the Americas and the rest of the world.

It is unpractical and unethical to sacrifice the human race by appealing in an insane manner the validity of a socioeconomic model that has a galloping destructive capacity. It would be suicidal to spread it and impose it as an infallible remedy for the evils which are caused precisely by them.

Not too long ago the President of the United States went to an Organization of American States’ meeting to propose Latin America and the Caribbean to increase market-oriented policies, open market policies-that is neoliberalism- when it is precisely the fundamental cause of the great evils and the great tragedies currently suffered by our people. : The neoliberal capitalism, the Washington Consensus. All this has generated is a high degree of misery, inequality and infinite tragedy for all the peoples on his continent.

What we need now more than ever Mr. President is a new international order. Let us recall the United Nations General assembly in its sixth extraordinary session period in 1974, 31 years ago, where a new International Economic Order action plan was adopted, as well as the States Economic Rights and Duties Charter by an overwhelming majority, 120 votes for the motion, 6 against and 10 abstentions.

This was the period when voting was possible at the United Nations. Now it is impossible to vote. Now they approve documents such as this one which I denounce on behalf of Venezuela as null, void and illegitimate. This document was approved violating the current laws of the United Nations. This document is invalid! This document should be discussed; the Venezuelan government will make it public. We cannot accept an open and shameless dictatorship in the United Nations. These matters should be discussed and that is why I petition my colleagues, heads of states and heads of governments, to discuss it.

I just came from a meeting with President Néstor Kirchner and well, I was pulling this document out; this document was handed out five minutes before- and only in English- to our delegation. This document was approved by a dictatorial hammer which I am here denouncing as illegal, null, void and illegitimate.

Hear this, Mr. President: if we accept this, we are indeed lost. Let us turn off the lights, close all doors and windows! That would be unbelievable: us accepting a dictatorship here in this hall.

Now more than ever- we were saying- we need to retake ideas that were left on the road such as the proposal approved at this Assembly in 1974 regarding a New Economic International Order. Article 2 of that text confirms the right of states to nationalizing the property and natural resources that belonged to foreign investors. It also proposed to create cartels of raw material producers. In the Resolution 3021, May, 1974, the Assembly expressed its will to work with utmost urgency in the creation of a New Economic International Order based on- listen carefully, please- “the equity, sovereign equality, interdependence, common interest and cooperation among all states regardless of their economic and social systems, correcting the inequalities and repairing the injustices among developed and developing countries, thus assuring present and future generations, peace, justice and a social and economic development that grows at a sustainable rate.”

The main goal of the New Economic International Order was to modify the old economic order conceived at Breton Woods.

We the people now claim- this is the case of Venezuela- a new international economic order. But it is also urgent a new international political order. Let us not permit that a few countries try to reinterpret the principles of International Law in order to impose new doctrines such as “pre-emptive warfare.” Oh do they threaten us with that pre-emptive war! And what about the “Responsibility to Protect” doctrine? We need to ask ourselves. Who is going to protect us? How are they going to protect us?

I believe one of the countries that require protection is precisely the United States. That was shown painfully with the tragedy caused by Hurricane Katrina; they do not have a government that protects them from the announced nature disasters, if we are going to talk about protecting each other; these are very dangerous concepts that shape imperialism, interventionism as they try to legalize the violation of the national sovereignty. The full respect towards the principles of International Law and the United Nations Charter must be, Mr. President, the keystone for international relations in today’s world and the base for the new order we are currently proposing.

It is urgent to fight, in an efficient manner, international terrorism. Nonetheless, we must not use it as an excuse to launch unjustified military aggressions which violate international law. Such has been the doctrine following September 11. Only a true and close cooperation and the end of the double discourse that some countries of the North apply regarding terrorism, could end this terrible calamity.

In just seven years of Bolivarian Revolution, the people of Venezuela can claim important social and economic advances.

One million four hundred and six thousand Venezuelans learned to read and write. We are 25 million total. And the country will-in a few days- be declared illiteracy-free territory. And three million Venezuelans, who had always been excluded because of poverty, are now part of primary, secondary and higher studies.

Seventeen million Venezuelans-almost 70% of the population- are receiving, and for the first time, universal healthcare, including the medicine, and in a few years, all Venezuelans will have free access to an excellent healthcare service. More thatn a million seven hundred tons of food are channeled to over 12 million people at subsidized prices, almost half the population. One million gets them completely free, as they are in a transition period. More than 700 thousand new jobs have been created, thus reducing unemployment by 9 points. All of this amid internal and external aggressions, including a coup d’etat and an oil industry shutdown organized by Washington. Regardless of the conspiracies, the lies spread by powerful media outlets, and the permanent threat of the empire and its allies, they even call for the assassination of a president. The only country where a person is able to call for the assassination of a head of state is the United States. Such was the case of a Reverend called Pat Robertson, very close to the White House: He called for my assassination and he is a free person. That is international terrorism!

We will fight for Venezuela, for Latin American integration and the world. We reaffirm our infinite faith in humankind. We are thirsty for peace and justice in order to survive as species. Simón Bolívar, founding father of our country and guide of our revolution swore to never allow his hands to be idle or his soul to rest until he had broken the shackles which bound us to the empire. Now is the time to not allow our hands to be idle or our souls to rest until we save humanity.


Blogger sixstringslinger said...

That's nice. Now you're quoting communist dictators and the Enquirer. How much lower can you go?

September 26, 2005 4:03 PM  
Blogger Paul Hue said...

(Well, at least he's making it nearly impossible to read, with the dark print on dark background.)

Nadir, when you were last at my house a few days ago, I noticed the news websites that you frequent. Each contained only bad news and negative interpretations about America and its government. Yet we live in a country that millions of foriegners struggle as a life-mission to get to, and in which nearly nobody ever leaves. It seems that there is much about America to be happy about.

My news websites reflect my view of America: a mostly great place but with plenty to criticize. I will use Hurricane Katrina as an example. I find much to criticize, and much to celebrate in that story. And my news websites include both.

I wish that Chavez was really interested in expelling dictatorship from the UN. Which dictators does he oppose? George Bush? Fidel Castro? I suppose we could divide the world into two groups: those who view Bush as a dictator, and those who view Castro as one. Which way are the home-made boats floating?

September 29, 2005 9:54 AM  
Blogger Nadir said...


That's a very cowardly (but common) right-wing tactic to call people names and then run away from the debate. What about the content of the article?


Yes, I had some issues with the font color and changing the background was a way to fix it, but it didn't. I'll explore this further, but I'm not thrilled with blogger's templates.

The news site I visit most often is which is like a Drudge Report for black folks. This site's publisher takes great pains to present differing views and often prints links to your favorites like Armstrong Williams, John McWhorter and Thomas Sowell next to other opinion leaders like Louis Farrakhan, Davey D and Cynthia McKinney. He has a very well-rounded site. The reason I didn't go there when I was at your house is because that site is updated daily, and I usually read it in the morning.

The sites you saw me visit where which is published by a right-winger who is angry with the direction this administration has taken, and, a liberal site that pulls its links from mainstream news sources like the Washington Post, New York Times and Reuters.

I'm searching for the truth, whether I agree with the viewpoint expressed or not. As for Chavez's speech, I posted it because it was a reaction to UN reforms that were presented by the Bush Administration. I don't necessarily agree with everything Chavez says, but I knew his comments would spark debate.

The problem is that you right-wing nuts call people names or try to change the subject instead of addressing the content of the article. What do you think about what Chavez said? Have the courage to debate. Don't just throw stones and run away.

September 29, 2005 11:41 AM  
Blogger Nadir said...

Here is what the Global Policy Forum, an organization that analyzes the UN, has to say about the current reform initiatives in the introduction to its reform information page

"The UN needs reform. On that everyone agrees. But there is sharp disagreement on what kind of reform is needed and for what purpose. Again and again over the years, the UN has been reformed on average once every eight years. But the pace has now quickened and reform projects seem almost a constant part of the landscape. Foundations, think tanks and blue ribbon commissions regularly call for institutional renovation at the UN. Secretary Generals frequently re-organize departments and set up new coordinating committees. NGOs gather to press their reform causes. Diplomats negotiate. And from Washington come somber warnings that the UN must 'reform or die.'

But after the fireworks, the same problems regularly persist because the shortcomings of the UN are primarily rooted in the dysfunctional global order and the conflict-prone state system, not in the UN's institutional arrangements. Few reformers are willing to admit that the UN's complex and inefficient machinery results from deep political disagreements among its members and between other contending forces in the global system. Yet the United States, military superpower and transnational corporate headquarters, clearly wants a weak UN with an impossibly small budget and scarcely any voice in economic matters. Many other nations, to the contrary, want a stronger UN and more effective multilateral policy making. Whose 'reform' is to prevail? And how will any newly-devised UN institutions be paid for?

The Millennium+5 reforms, proposed by the Secretary General in March 2005, were neither ambitious nor far-reaching. Designed to please (or at least not to displease) the superpower, they substantially ignored the most urgent issues - the UN's financial woes, the unilateralism of the superpower, the absence of real disarmament, and the shaky and unjust global economic order. For a time, it seemed that these modest if flawed reforms might nevertheless be adopted. But as the summit approached, negotiations faltered, due largely to last-minute, far-reaching demands from Washington. In the end, the world leaders approved an embarrassingly weak document, filled mostly with empty platitudes. It remains to be seen how the UN will weather this contentious and divisive reform process, and what avenues remain open for a stronger and more effective multilateral system."

In his speech, Chavez offers his own proposals for reform. I don't agree with them all, but I thought it would provide the substance for some interesting debate.


Chavez isn't addressing the question of dictators within member countries. He states he doesn't want any one country being the dictator of the UN, which is what the Bush Administration's proposals would have effectively set up. The UN is a multilateral body that should serve the interests of humanity, not the narrow interests of the rich over the poor or of one block over another or one country over all the others.

September 29, 2005 11:52 AM  
Blogger Paul Hue said...

I disagree with the very concept of the UN, other than as a forum for representatives of nations to communicate with each other. How does a body comprised of dictator nations and democratic nations vote on resolutions that they both most abide? I don't understand it. I support instead a Coalition of Democratic Nations, where qualification for membership includes meeting a set of democratic standards, as determined by representatives from current member nations.

How can the UN both support improving human rights, but simultaneously not imposing on the member despotic governments?

And I certainly disagree with Chavez's socialization of medicine as an effective means of maximizing medical access and quality. Free markets and free people can acquire those things for themselves, and while doing so, cause the medical system in their country to upgrade and expand.

September 30, 2005 12:20 PM  
Blogger Nadir said...

Paul says: "I support instead a Coalition of Democratic Nations, where qualification for membership includes meeting a set of democratic standards, as determined by representatives from current member nations."

Great! Then you certainly should appreciate Hugo Chavez's opinion in this matter. He is currently the most democratically elected president in the world.

Hugo Chavez has been elected to his office 4 TIMES by the majority of the people in his nation! (That's 4 times if you count the people demanding an end to the U.S. backed coup attempt, returning Chavez to power.)

That, my friend, is democracy in action. He is loved and defended by the majority of people in his country.

The rich, who are the minority, hate him because he is instituting measures that promote economic parity and egalitarianism. The poor, who are the majority, love him because he wants to help end poverty and illiteracy and to improve the quality of life for all of the nation's people.

His programs are working and his people are not only happy with him, but will defend his government to the end. I think there is a striking contrast between his example, and the example of the Bush administration.

You praise his leadership and defend his policies, but you, my friend, are in the minority. His programs are hated and reviled not only by the majority of Americans, but the majority of the rest of the world!

No one is more hated in the world than George Bush. He is much more hated than Ossama Bin Laden!

Chavez is loved by his people and the rest of South America is behind him. He is making friends, where Bush and America are only making enemies.

What is more democratic than making friends and winning people to your side by improving the quality of their lives?

Paul says: "How can the UN both support improving human rights, but simultaneously not imposing on the member despotic governments?"

Despotism is a disease that all humans are fighting. We are certainly struggling with its effects here in America. (I know you oppose the Patriot Act.)

The U.S. negotiates with military dictators and despotic monarchies. Certainly you wouldn't want to include U.S. allies like Pakistan, Egypt, and Israel in your "Coalition of Democratic Nations"?

Paul says: "And I certainly disagree with Chavez's socialization of medicine as an effective means of maximizing medical access and quality. Free markets and free people can acquire those things for themselves, and while doing so, cause the medical system in their country to upgrade and expand."

That's the theory isn't it? Free markets will make sure everyone has health care.

Well, the reality is, the United States is the only developed nation that DOES NOT provide universal health care coverage to its people. THE ONLY ONE!!!

Therefore the rest of the so-called civilized world, disagrees with you! And do you know what?

If they get sick, they can go to a doctor. The care may not be the best in the world, but they can go to a doctor.

Paul, it surprises me that a man who fancies himself to be something of an herb doctor would be AGAINST universal health care. What could be a more democratic notion than universal health care??

October 02, 2005 3:24 PM  
Blogger Paul Hue said...

I feel sorry for the people of Venezuala. They have chosen the path of socialism, which I am certain they will find works no better (and probably worse) than the previous path of oligarchy. Perhaps they need to experiance first-hand the results of socialism before using their democratic mechanisms to construct a free market. In the meantime, their nation's oil riches will result in poverty.

October 05, 2005 11:13 AM  
Blogger Nadir said...

I think you are wrong there, but we shall see.

October 05, 2005 2:05 PM  

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