HUGO RAFAEL CHÁVEZ FRÍAS, President of Venezuela, said that the night before, he had attended a screening of Oliver Stone’s new movie, South of the Border, in which Bolivia’s President Evo Morales was shown chewing coca leaves and saying, “Coke is not the same as coca”. Other Presidents of Latin America had been shown in various contexts, and the movie even captured United States President Barack Obama in Trinidad, “chatting with a group of us, his hand held out, his face smiling”. He mentioned the film because it could help decipher several enigmas of the times, chief among them the ideological warfare currently under way.
Indeed, a geopolitical revolution was under way -- a moral, spiritual, comprehensive and necessary revolution, he said. After centuries during which millions of people in Latin America and the Caribbean had suffered, the world had come to this moment. The revolution marked the beginning of a world renewed and it would only grow with the passing of time.
As a result of that revolution, the twenty-first century would be the century of socialism. Even Albert Einstein had concluded that the only way for the human species to live on the planet was through socialism. Capitalism was actually a road to ruin, not allowing for change. By contrast, the socialism of South America, which was Indian-American as well as Bolivarian, was a “heroic system” that had to be made anew.
Noting that former United States President John F. Kennedy had, just days before his assassination, observed that hunger was the main reason for the revolution in the South, he said President Kennedy had not been a revolutionary, but had been intelligent. Likewise, the current United States President was an intelligent man. “It doesn’t smell of sulphur here any more, it’s gone. It smells of something else: hope.”
Stressing hope’s potential, he urged fellow Member States to take up the challenge of translating the hope in their hearts into action. Revising the comment made the day before by Brazilian President Lula da Silva, he said it was not true that there was no political will, only that some of the necessary will was missing.
He went on to say that those who blocked the doors to a peaceful revolution, would only make it violent, and he reminded the Assembly that while its Members were gathered in New York, one of their fellow leaders sat with a small group of people in the Brazilian embassy in Honduras. He had spoken to Honduran President Manuel Zelayas just hours ago and now was asking for the Assembly’s resolution, as well as the resolution of the Organization of American States, to be implemented.
Outlining his further thoughts on the causes and impacts of the coup in Honduras, he suggested the Pentagon had been behind it. Those who had had forced President Zelaya into exile had been trained by the United States and had even held him on a United States base before taking him to Costa Rica. Those facts, according to Mr. Chavez, had created a contradiction that had caused many to wonder if there were two President Obamas. For his part, he hoped the one who had spoken to the Assembly yesterday would prevail.
Returning to the revolution that was under way in the South, he said it was not a movement that had sprung up among guerrillas in the mountains, but was rather a democratic revolution that sought to remain peaceful. It would not be blocked. “This is our century now. We are going to build our own path. No one can stop us. Imperialism must end.”
Critiquing President Obama’s Assembly address point by point, he said that if the United States sought nuclear non-proliferation, it should destroy its own nuclear weapons. If it sought international peace and security, it should seek peace in Colombia. Having seven bases there was not the route to peace. If the United States wanted to address climate change, then it should move beyond words and embark on actions, particularly by addressing the problem of over-consumption.
Finally, he promoted the conclusions of the Commission of Experts appointed by former General Assembly President Miguel d’Escoto Brockman to analyse the financial and economic crisis, and invited the United States -- “the Socialist side” -- to pursue a global economy that advanced opportunity for all people. For so long everyone had been hearing about a new world order. Clearly a new paradigm with new institutions and a new economy was needed. Fortunately, he said, the birth of that world had already started.