Thursday, September 21, 2006

Translation of President Hugo Chavez's Speech at the United Nations General Assembly

SEPTEMBER 20, 2006

"Representatives of the governments of the world, good morning to all of you. First of all, I would like to invite you, very respectfully, to those who have not read this book, to read it. Noam Chomsky, one of the most prestigious American and world intellectuals, Noam Chomsky, and this is one of his most recent books, 'Hegemony or Survival: The Imperialist Strategy of the United States.'" [Holds up book, waves it in front of General Assembly.]

"It's an excellent book to help us understand what has been happening in the world throughout the 20th century, and what's happening now, and the greatest threat looming over our planet. The hegemonic pretensions of the American empire are placing at risk the very survival of the human species. We continue to warn you about this danger and we appeal to the people of the United States and the world to halt this threat, which is like a sword hanging over our heads. I had considered reading from this book, but, for the sake of time," [flips through the pages, which are numerous] "I will just leave it as a recommendation.

It reads easily, it is a very good book, I'm sure Madame [President] you are familiar with it. It appears in English, in Russian, in Arabic, in German. I think that the first people who should read this book are our brothers and sisters in the United States, because their threat is right in their own house. The devil is right at home. The devil, the devil himself, is right in the house.

"And the devil came here yesterday. Yesterday the devil came here. Right here." [crosses himself]

"And it smells of sulfur still today."

Yesterday, ladies and gentlemen, from this rostrum, the president of the United States, the gentleman to whom I refer as the devil, came here, talking as if he owned the world. Truly. As the owner of the world.

I think we could call a psychiatrist to analyze yesterday's statement made by the president of the United States. As the spokesman of imperialism, he came to share his nostrums, to try to preserve the current pattern of domination, exploitation and pillage of the peoples of the world.

An Alfred Hitchcock movie could use it as a scenario. I would even propose a title: "The Devil's Recipe."

As Chomsky says here, clearly and in depth, the American empire is doing all it can to consolidate its system of domination. And we cannot allow them to do that. We cannot allow world dictatorship to be consolidated.

CHAVEZ (THROUGH TRANSLATOR): The world parent's statement -- cynical, hypocritical, full of this imperial hypocrisy from the need they have to control everything.

They say they want to impose a democratic model. But that's their democratic model. It's the false democracy of elites, and, I would say, a very original democracy that's imposed by weapons and bombs and firing weapons.

What a strange democracy. Aristotle might not recognize it or others who are at the root of democracy.

What type of democracy do you impose with marines and bombs?

The president of the United States, yesterday, said to us, right here, in this room, and I'm quoting, "Anywhere you look, you hear extremists telling you can escape from poverty and recover your dignity through violence, terror and martyrdom."

Wherever he looks, he sees extremists. And you, my brother -- he looks at your color, and he says, oh, there's an extremist. Evo Morales, the worthy president of Bolivia, looks like an extremist to him.

The imperialists see extremists everywhere. It's not that we are extremists. It's that the world is waking up. It's waking up all over. And people are standing up.

I have the feeling, dear world dictator, that you are going to live the rest of your days as a nightmare because the rest of us are standing up, all those who are rising up against American imperialism, who are shouting for equality, for respect, for the sovereignty of nations.

CHAVEZ (THROUGH TRANSLATOR): Yes, you can call us extremists, but we are rising up against the empire, against the model of domination.

The president then -- and this he said himself, he said: "I have come to speak directly to the populations in the MiddleEast, to tell them that my country wants peace."

That's true. If we walk in the streets of the Bronx, if we walk around New York, Washington, San Diego, in any city, San Antonio, San Francisco, and we ask individuals, the citizens of the United States, what does this country want? Does it want peace? They'll say yes.

But the government doesn't want peace. The government of the United States doesn't want peace. It wants to exploit its system of exploitation, of pillage, of hegemony through war.

It wants peace. But what's happening in Iraq? What happened in
Lebanon? In Palestine? What's happening? What's happened over the last 100 years in LatinAmerica and in the world? And now threatening Venezuela -- new threats against Venezuela, against Iran?

He spoke to the people of Lebanon. Many of you, he said, have seen how your homes and communities were caught in the crossfire. How cynical can you get? What a capacity to lie shamefacedly. The bombs in Beirut with millimetric precision?

CHAVEZ (THROUGH TRANSLATOR): This is crossfire? He's thinking of a western, when people would shoot from the hip and somebody would be caught in the crossfire.

This is imperialist, fascist, assassin, genocidal, the empire and Israel firing on the people of Palestine and Lebanon. That is what happened. And now we hear, "We're suffering because we see homes destroyed.'

The president of the United States came to talk to the peoples -- to the peoples of the world. He came to say -- I brought some documents with me, because this morning I was reading some statements, and I see that he talked to the people of Afghanistan, the people of Lebanon, the people of Iran. And he addressed all these peoples directly.

And you can wonder, just as the president of the United States
addresses those peoples of the world, what would those peoples of the world tell him if they were given the floor? What would they have to say?

And I think I have some inkling of what the peoples of the south, the oppressed people think. They would say, "Yankee imperialist, go home." I think that is what those people would say if they were given the microphone and if they could speak with one voice to the American imperialists.

And that is why, Madam President, my colleagues, my friends, last year we came here to this same hall as we have been doing for the past eight years, and we said something that has now been confirmed -- fully, fully confirmed.

CHAVEZ (THROUGH TRANSLATOR): I don't think anybody in this room could defend the system. Let's accept -- let's be honest. The U.N. system, born after the Second World War, collapsed. It's worthless.

Oh, yes, it's good to bring us together once a year, see each other, make statements and prepare all kinds of long documents, and listen to good speeches, like Abel's (ph) yesterday, or President Mullah's (ph). Yes, it's good for that.

And there are a lot of speeches, and we've heard lots from the
president of Sri Lanka, for instance, and the president of Chile.

But we, the assembly, have been turned into a merely deliberative organ. We have no power, no power to make any impact on the terrible situation in the world. And that is why Venezuela once again proposes, here, today, 20 September, that we re-establish the United Nations.

Last year, Madam, we made four modest proposals that we felt to be crucially important. We have to assume the responsibility our heads of state, our ambassadors, our representatives, and we have to discuss it.

The first is expansion, and Mullah (ph) talked about this yesterday right here. The Security Council, both as it has permanent and non-permanent categories, (inaudible) developing countries and LDCs must be given access as new permanent members. That's step one.

CHAVEZ (THROUGH TRANSLATOR): Second, effective methods to address and resolve world conflicts, transparent decisions.

Point three, the immediate suppression -- and that is something everyone's calling for -- of the anti-democratic mechanism known as the veto, the veto on decisions of the Security Council.

Let me give you a recent example. The immoral veto of the United States allowed the Israelis, with impunity, to destroy Lebanon. Right in front of all of us as we stood there watching, a resolution in the council was prevented.

Fourthly, we have to strengthen, as we've always said, the role and the powers of the secretary general of the United Nations.

Yesterday, the secretary general practically gave us his speech of farewell. And he recognized that over the last 10 years, things have just gotten more complicated; hunger, poverty, violence, human rights violations have just worsened. That is the tremendous consequence of the collapse of the United Nations system and American hegemonistic pretensions.

Madam, Venezuela a few years ago decided to wage this battle within the United Nations by recognizing the United Nations, as members of it that we are, and lending it our voice, our thinking.

Our voice is an independent voice to represent the dignity and the search for peace and the reformulation of the international system; to denounce persecution and aggression of hegemonistic forces on the planet.

CHAVEZ (THROUGH TRANSLATOR): This is how Venezuela has presented itself. Bolivar's home has sought a nonpermanent seat on the Security Council.

Let's see. Well, there's been an open attack by the U.S. government, an immoral attack, to try and prevent Venezuela from being freely elected to a post in the Security Council.

The imperium is afraid of truth, is afraid of independent voices. It calls us extremists, but they are the extremists.

And I would like to thank all the countries that have kindly
announced their support for Venezuela, even though the ballot is a secret one and there's no need to announce things.

But since the imperium has attacked, openly, they strengthened the convictions of many countries. And their support strengthens us.

Mercosur, as a bloc, has expressed its support, our brothers in Mercosur. Venezuela, with Brazil, Argentina, Paraguay, Uruguay, is a full member of Mercosur.

And many other Latin American countries, CARICOM, Bolivia have
expressed their support for Venezuela. The Arab League, the full Arab League has voiced its support. And I am immensely grateful to the Arab world, to our Arab brothers, our Caribbean brothers, the African Union. Almost all of Africa has expressed its support for Venezuela and countries such as Russia or China and many others.

CHAVEZ (THROUGH TRANSLATOR): I thank you all warmly on behalf of Venezuela, on behalf of our people, and on behalf of the truth, because Venezuela, with a seat on the Security Council, will be expressing not only Venezuela's thoughts, but it will also be the voice of all the peoples of the world, and we will defend dignity and truth.

Over and above all of this, Madam President, I think there are
reasons to be optimistic. A poet would have said "helplessly
optimistic," because over and above the wars and the bombs and the aggressive and the preventive war and the destruction of entire peoples, one can see that a new era is dawning.

As Sylvia Rodriguez (ph) says, the era is giving birth to a heart. There are alternative ways of thinking. There are young people who think differently. And this has already been seen within the space of a mere decade. It was shown that the end of history was a totally false assumption, and the same was shown about Pax Americana and the establishment of the capitalist neo-liberal world. It has been shown, this system, to generate mere poverty. Who believes in it now?

What we now have to do is define the future of the world. Dawn is breaking out all over. You can see it in Africa and Europe and LatinAmerica and Oceanea. I want to emphasize that optimistic vision.

We have to strengthen ourselves, our will to do battle, our
awareness. We have to build a new and better world.

Venezuela joins that struggle, and that's why we are threatened. The U.S. has already planned, financed and set in motion a coup in Venezuela, and it continues to support coup attempts in Venezuela and elsewhere.

CHAVEZ (THROUGH TRANSLATOR): President Michelle Bachelet reminded us just a moment ago of the horrendous assassination of the former foreign minister, Orlando Letelier.

And I would just add one thing: Those who perpetrated this crime are free. And that other event where an American citizen also died were American themselves. They were CIA killers, terrorists.

And we must recall in this room that in just a few days there will be another anniversary. Thirty years will have passed from this other horrendous terrorist attack on the Cuban plane, where 73 innocents died, a Cubana de Aviacion airliner.

And where is the biggest terrorist of this continent who took the responsibility for blowing up the plane? He spent a few years in jail in Venezuela. Thanks to CIA and then government officials, he was allowed to escape, and he lives here in this country, protected by the government.

And he was convicted. He has confessed to his crime. But the U.S. government has double standards. It protects terrorism when it wants to.

And this is to say that Venezuela is fully committed to combating terrorism and violence. And we are one of the people who are fighting for peace.

Luis Posada Carriles is the name of that terrorist who is protected here. And other tremendously corrupt people who escaped from Venezuela are also living here under protection: a group that bombed various embassies, that assassinated people during the coup. They kidnapped me and they were going to kill me, but I think God reached down and our people came out into the streets and the army was too, and so I'm here today.

But these people who led that coup are here today in this country protected by the American government. And I accuse the American government of protecting terrorists and of having a completely cynical discourse.

CHAVEZ (THROUGH TRANSLATOR): We mentioned Cuba. Yes, we were just there a few days ago. We just came from there happily.

And there you see another era born. The Summit of the 15, the Summit of the Nonaligned, adopted a historic resolution. This is the outcome document. Don't worry, I'm not going to read it.

But you have a whole set of resolutions here that were adopted after open debate in a transparent matter -- more than 50 heads of state. Havana was the capital of the south for a few weeks, and we have now launched, once again, the group of the nonaligned with new momentum.

And if there is anything I could ask all of you here, my companions, my brothers and sisters, it is to please lend your good will to lend momentum to the Nonaligned Movement for the birth of the new era, to prevent hegemony and prevent further advances of imperialism.

And as you know, Fidel Castro is the president of the nonaligned for the next three years, and we can trust him to lead the charge very efficiently.

Unfortunately they thought, "Oh, Fidel was going to die." But they're going to be disappointed because he didn't. And he's not only alive, he's back in his green fatigues, and he's now presiding the nonaligned.

So, my dear colleagues, Madam President, a new, strong movement has been born, a movement of the south. We are men and women of the south.

With this document, with these ideas, with these criticisms, I'm now closing my file. I'm taking the book with me. And, don't forget, I'm recommending it very warmly and very humbly to all of you.

CHAVEZ (THROUGH TRANSLATOR): We want ideas to save our planet, to save the planet from the imperialist threat. And hopefully in this very century, in not too long a time, we will see this, we will see this new era, and for our children and our grandchildren a world of peace based on the fundamental principles of the United Nations, but a renewed United Nations.

And maybe we have to change location. Maybe we have to put the United Nations somewhere else; maybe a city of the south. We've proposed Venezuela.

You know that my personal doctor had to stay in the plane. The chief of security had to be left in a locked plane. Neither of these gentlemen was allowed to arrive and attend the U.N. meeting. This is another abuse and another abuse of power on the part of the Devil. It smells of sulfur here, but God is with us and I embrace you all.

May God bless us all. Good day to you.




Pan-African News Wire said...

VENEZUELA: Guns, drugs and thugs: the threat from Plan Colombia

Jim McIlroy & Coral Wynter, Caracas

National and state governments are attempting to tackle the threat posed to Venezuela by right-wing paramilitary groups that have infiltrated the regions of the country bordering Colombia, particularly the state of Tachira.

From December 2005, when Venezuelan army colonel Heber Aguilar assumed leadership of the Tachira state police, there has been a drastic change in the situation, with a greater police presence in the streets. Aguilar told the July 13 Ultimas Noticias, “The job has not been easy. First, we must fight and keep fighting against internal corruption. More than 80 police have resigned, and some have been dismissed for being involved in crimes. Many of those collaborate directly with paramilitary groups ...”

More than 150 police out of a total of 2500 in Tachira are being investigated for alleged involvement in crime. Aguilar added that they had created special groups to operate in the municipalities near the border — the Tactical Group for Joint Actions and the Rapid Response Group.

Tachira’s governor, Blanco la Cruz, claims “Plan Colombia” has increased the penetration of the paramilitaries into Venezuela. Plan Colombia is the Washington-funded counterinsurgency war against left-wing guerrilla movements in Colombia, especially the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia — the FARC — under the cover of waging a “war on drugs”. The Center for International Policy estimates that the US government spent US$631.6 million on military and police assistance programs for Plan Colombia last year.

The Colombian armed forces that are the beneficiaries of Washington’s largesse have long been known to be linked to right-wing paramilitary groups.

In 2001 Human Rights Watch reported that many Colombians told its researchers “that paramilitaries are so fully integrated into the [Colombian] army’s battle strategy, coordinated with its soldiers in the field, and linked to government units via intelligence, supplies, radios, weapons, cash, and common purpose that they effectively constitute a sixth division of the army ... certain Colombian army brigades and police detachments continue to promote, work with, support, profit from, and tolerate paramilitary groups, treating them as a force allied to and compatible with their own.”

La Cruz told UN that Plan Colombia is used to justify the paramilitary presence in Venezuelan territory, and that this forms part of the strategy of the US government to confront Venezuela’s left-wing President Hugo Chavez, whose Bolivarian revolution threatens US imperialism in a region long-considered Washington’s “own backyard”.

Some Venezuelans believe that Plan Colombia is being used as part of a military “pincer” movement against Venezuela to destabilise Bolivarian democracy and eventually force Chavez from power.

La Cruz said: “The zones that suffer this problem most intensely are [the area] south of Lake Maracaibo in Zulia, Alto Apure, and, obviously, Tachira. In these states, the paramilitaries, helped by the Colombian government, have taken control of various areas, buying up farms with the money from extortion, kidnapping and, principally, drug-dealing.”

In Tachira the most frequent crime is extortion, which is almost never denounced publicly, allowing the paramilitaries to act with impunity. In the first six months of 2006, kidnappings markedly decreased, in comparison to the previous three years, but they are still a major problem.

Laws have been presented to the National Assembly to specifically deal with the border security situation. La Cruz said that his administration was having meetings with the Supreme Court’s president to find ways of protecting judges who act against the paramilitaries. The July 18 UN reported that he said: “We are also having a meeting with the attorney-general of the republic, as well as the president, to talk about this issue, as it has implications on a national level.”

The Venezuelan people have mobilised against the paramilitary threat. On June 17, thousands of campesinos (peasants) from six states arrived in Guasdualito, in Apure state, for a march against Plan Colombia and “against the paramilitaries who are aiming to destabilise the Bolivarian revolution”, a spokesperson stated. This was the first protest of such breadth to occur on the border.

More than 150 campesinos have been murdered over the last four years, with the killers believed to be paramilitaries and other thugs in the employ of large landowners who feel threatened by Chavez’s radical land reform program, which has confiscated some large estates and handed them over to landless peasants.

From Green Left Weekly, September 20, 2006.
Visit the Green Left Weekly home page.

Pan-African News Wire said...

September 21, 2006

Chile Seeks U.S. Files on 1976 Assassination

New York Times

SANTIAGO, Chile — Thirty years after a Chilean-organized hit squad assassinated former Foreign Minister Orlando Letelier and an American colleague on the streets of Washington, investigators here are drawing closer to implicating this country’s former dictator, Gen. Augusto Pinochet, in the killings.

But they say their efforts are being hindered by a parallel investigation in the United States that has been stalled since President Bush took office and that is withholding potentially important documents.

Mr. Letelier, one of the most visible leaders of the opposition to the Pinochet dictatorship, and Ronni Karpen Moffitt were killed on Sept. 21, 1976, when a bomb planted under his car exploded as they were riding to work.

Even after 9/11, the Letelier assassination remains the most audacious act of state-sponsored terrorism committed on American soil.

“Every day it is clearer that Pinochet ordered my brother’s death,” said Fabiola Letelier, a prominent human rights lawyer here. “But for a proper and complete investigation to take place we need access to the appropriate records and evidence.”

General Pinochet was detained in London in 1998 by prosecutors seeking to bring him to justice for abuses committed during his 17-year rule.

Afterward, the Clinton administration came under new pressure from the Letelier and Moffitt families, and it released more than 24,000 declassified diplomatic and intelligence cables. It also reopened an investigation of the assassination,
sending an F.B.I. team to Chile in 2000 to interview more than 40 witnesses.

That mission resulted in a recommendation that the United States indict General Pinochet, but Attorney General Janet Reno decided to leave the decision to her successors in the Bush administration.

The case remains politically delicate in Washington, where previous Republican administrations supported the Pinochet dictatorship as a bulwark against leftist encroachment in Latin America during the cold war.

Though President Bush, whose father was director of central intelligence at the time of the assassination, promised to “direct every resource at our command” to defeating terrorism, the American investigation continues to languish, Ms. Letelier and Chilean officials say.

They and others complain that hundreds of secret documents are being kept out of Chilean hands.

“It’s been six years, three times longer than the original investigation that fingered the hit team, and nothing has happened,” said Peter Kornbluh, a Chile specialist at the National Security Archive, which obtained the release of the original trove of documents. “I’ve filed Freedom of Information Act requests, but the documents that come closest to Pinochet are still being withheld, ostensibly as evidence.”

No one in the Bush administration would comment on the case. William Blier, head of the unit in the office of the United States Attorney in Washington that is in charge of the case, declined a request for information on the status of the investigation. He referred the question to a press spokesman, Channing Phillips, who also would not discuss any aspect of the case.

Other lawyers involved in the case on the victims’ side said the Bush administration’s performance contrasted with promises made after Sept. 11 to put pressure on states that sponsored terrorism.

“It is stunning to me that with all the energy being put into the war on terror,” the Bush administration “has been completely unresponsive to our queries,” said Sam Buffone, a Washington lawyer representing Ms. Moffitt’s husband, Michael Moffitt.

“The most basic lesson of that war is that anyone responsible for an act of domestic terrorism will never get away with it, no matter how long it takes,” Mr. Buffone said. “But that rule seems to have been honored in the breach for Augusto Pinochet.”

General Pinochet, now 90, ailing and discredited here, ruled Chile from Sept. 11, 1973, to March 1990. Since mid-2004, investigations in the United States and in Chile have uncovered an illicit fortune of more than $27 million that he hid abroad.

He is now facing tax fraud and forgery charges, two indictments for human rights violations and several other investigations of murders, kidnappings and disappearances that occurred during his rule.

John Dinges, co-author of
“Assassination on Embassy Row” and a professor at Alberto Hurtado University here, said, “The evidence against Pinochet is as strong in the Letelier case as any of the other cases he is facing.”

He noted that the dossier now included damning testimony from central officials. Among them are Gen. Manuel Contreras, the former chief of the National Intelligence Directorate, or DINA, General Pinochet’s secret police, and Michael Townley, an American-born former DINA agent.

Facing intense diplomatic pressure, the Pinochet government handed Mr. Townley over to the United States in 1978. He admitted organizing and carrying out the assassination with Cuban exiles recruited for the task. He served a short prison term and was enrolled in the witness protection program.

General Pinochet refused to extradite other officials of the intelligence directorate who were Chilean citizens. But in 1995 General Contreras was convicted here of the Letelier assassination and sentenced to seven years in prison.

In interviews, including one with The New York Times in November 2004, General Contreras, currently serving a prison term here for the disappearance and torture of political prisoners, said General Pinochet had known and approved of all the actions he took.

But he has not specifically said that General Pinochet, whom American diplomatic cables show as irate about Mr. Letelier’s activities in exile, ordered the killing.

Most recently, Chilean courts agreed to consider a request that General Pinochet be stripped of his immunity in a related case: the murder of Eugenio Berrios, a DINA agent nicknamed Pinochet’s Mad Scientist, whose headless body was found on a beach in Uruguay in 1995.

Mr. Berrios had been spirited into exile there in 1992, in
anticipation that he would soon be called to testify in an
investigation of the Letelier and other assassinations.

In March, Chile asked that three senior Uruguayan military officers said to be involved in the Berrios killing be extradited here. Uruguayan courts complied, and the men were recently interrogated by a Chilean investigative judge, Alejandro Madrid, whose inquiry into the Berrios case inevitably led him to the Letelier assassination.

“The Chileans have been remarkable, exemplary, in going forward on Pinochet,” E. Lawrence Barcella, the lead prosecutor in the original trial of Mr. Letelier’s assassins in 1980, said in a telephone interview from Washington. “In my view, outliving those you kill is not a defense, and I hope nobody stops trying” to build the case against General Pinochet.