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Chavez UN speech--Calls Bush the Devil


From Green Left Weekly, September 27, 2006.
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Hugo Chavez: Hero of the poor slams Bush

Stuart Munckton



Venezuela’s socialist President Hugo Chavez once again sent waves of shock through the US elite, and the corporate media, by using his speech before the United Nations General Assembly on September 20 not for diplomatic niceties but to expose the reality of US imperialism’s domination of the world and to call for a global struggle to end it.

A September 21 Washington Post report noted that “Even by U.N. standards, where the United States is frequently criticized as the world's superpower, Chavez's anti-American remarks were exceptionally inflammatory. They were also received with a warm round of applause.”

In colourful language that made headlines in the corporate press, Chavez denounced the speech given the day before by US President George Bush, saying: “Yesterday the Devil was here, in this very place. This table from where I speak still smells like sulfur ... in this same hall the president of the United States, whom I call 'The Devil’, came here talking as if he owned the world.”

Chavez used his speech to argue that the UN was effectively finished as a useful body and called for significant changes in order to refound it. The four changes urged by Chavez were the opening up of permanent and non-permanent Security Council seats to new members from the Third World, the ability for the General Assembly to enforce decisions, the expansion of the role of the secretary-general, and an end to the ability of the Security Council’s permanent members to veto decisions.

Chavez’s speech came only days after his attendance at the September 11-16 summit of the 118-member Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) in Havana, where he had urged the unity of Third World nations to overcome the legacy of imperialist domination. Prensa Latina reported on September 15 that Chavez used his speech to the summit to officially propose the creation of a “Bank of the South” to encourage economic cooperation and integration of the Third World. “We don’t accept the kind of development the International Monetary Fund and World Bank want to push on us”, Chavez told the summit to resounding applause.

Chavez made an impact even before he arrived at the UN, accusing the US government of attempting to deny visas to his medical and security team, telling the NAM summit “the gringos don’t want me to go”.

Following Chavez’s speech, it isn’t hard to see why. Chavez began by highly recommending a book Hegemony or Survival: America's Quest for Global Domination by Noam Chomsky, “one of the most prestigious intellectuals in America and the world”. Holding up a copy, Chavez explained: “An excellent piece to help us understand what happened in the world during the 20th century, what is going on now and the greatest threat looming over our planet: the hegemonic pretension of US Imperialism that puts at risk the very survival of the human species.” (By September 22, Chomsky’s book was the biggest seller for online retailing giant Amazon.com.)

Attacking Bush’s UN speech, Chavez said that “As the spokesperson for Imperialism he came to give us his recipes for maintaining the current scheme of domination, exploitation and pillage of the world's people ...

“They want to impose upon us the democratic model they devised, the false democracy of elites. And moreover, a very original democratic model imposed with explosions, bombings, invasions and cannon-shot.”

In response to the claim in Bush’s speech that the US wants peace, Chavez commented: “If we walk the streets of the Bronx, if we walk through the streets of New York, Washington, San Diego, California, any city, San Antonio, San Francisco and we ask the people on the street: the people of the US want peace. The difference is that the government of ... the US, does not want peace; it wants to impose its model of exploitation and plundering and its hegemony upon us under threat of war ...

“The people want peace and, what is happening in Iraq? And what happened in Lebanon and Palestine? And what has happened over the last 100 years in Latin America and the world and now the threats against Venezuela, new threats against Iran? [Bush] spoke to the people of Lebanon, 'Many of you have seen your homes and communities caught in crossfire’. What cynicism! What capacity to blatantly lie before the world! The bombs in Beirut launched with millimetric precision are 'crossfire’?”

Chavez wondered, given that Bush had addressed the people of Afghanistan and Lebanon and Iran, “what would those people say to him?” He added: “I have an idea because I know the souls of the majority of those people, the people of the South, the downtrodden peoples would say: 'Yankee imperialist go home!’”

“I believe that almost no one in this room would stand up to defend the system of the United Nations”, Chavez claimed. He said the UN General Assembly had been turned into “a mere deliberative organ with no kind of power to impact in the slightest way the terrible reality the world is experiencing. Therefore we again propose here today, September 20 to re-found the United Nations.”

Explaining Venezuela’s proposal to abolish the “anti-democratic” veto held by the five permanent members of the Security Council — the US, Britain, France, China and Russia — Chavez gave the example of “the immoral veto by the US government that freely allowed Israeli forces to destroy Lebanon, in front of us all, by blocking a resolution in the UN Security Council”.

Chavez spoke about Venezuela’s campaign to get a temporary seat on the Security Council, which it claims to have the votes for. “We are an independent voice, representing dignity and the search for peace, the formulation of an international system to denounce persecution and hegemonic aggression against people worldwide.” In response to the US attacks on Venezuela’s attempt to win a seat, Chavez said: “The empire is afraid of the truth and of independent voices. They accuse us of being extremists. They are the extremists.”

Chavez insisted, “I think there are reasons to be optimistic. Hopelessly optimistic, as a poet would say, because beyond the threats, bombs, wars, aggressions, preventative wars, and the destruction of entire peoples, one can see that a new era is dawning.”

“Alternative tendencies, alternative thoughts, and youth with distinct ideas are emerging. In barely a decade it has been demonstrated that the 'end of history’ theory was totally false. The establishment of the American Empire, the American peace, the establishment of the capitalist, neoliberal model that generates misery and poverty — all totally false ... Now the future of the world must be defined. There is a new dawning on this planet that can be seen everywhere ... Venezuela has joined this struggle and for this we are threatened.”

The US government, which backed a military coup against Chavez, has funnelled millions of dollars to his opponents inside Venezuela and called for a “united front” of countries to isolate the Chavez government, responded strongly to the speech. US ambassador to the UN John Bolton said: “We're not going to address that kind of comic strip approach to international affairs.”

Venezuelanalysis.com reported on September 20 that Flordia Republican Connie Mack called on the international community to block Venezuela's entry as a UN Security Council member, saying, “Chavez's diatribe in the United Nations against liberty only strengthens the fact that he is no more than the paladin of demoralisation and of despotism and a sworn enemy of hope and opportunity”.

According to a September 20 CNN report, Chavez mocked Washington’s hostility to his speech, ending a press conference following it by saying: “I have a meeting with the axis of evil somewhere around here, so I have to go.”

The speech helped cement Chavez’s reputation as a spokesperson for the world's oppressed. He merely repeated the same sentiments he has expressed in a number of speeches around the world. The outrage generated can be explained, firstly, by the fact that speaking so truthfully is not considered “the done thing” in a diplomatic body like the UN. Secondly, imperialism is increasingly worried about Chavez's growing stature across the world as a result of the gains being made by the Venezuelan revolution and his willingness to take action against injustice — such as Venezuela's decision to withdraw its charge d’affaires from Israel during the war on Lebanon, which made Chavez a hero in the Middle East.





Madame President, Excellencies, Heads of State, Heads of Governments, and high ranking government representatives from around the world. A very good day to you all.

First of all, with much respect, I would like to invite all of those, who have not had a chance, to read this book that we have read: Noam Chomsky, one of the most prestigious intellectuals of America and the world. One of Chomsky's most recent works: Hegemony or Survival? America's Quest for Global Dominance. An excellent piece to help us understand what happened in the world during the 20th century, what is going on now and the greatest threat looming over our planet: the hegemonic pretension of US Imperialism that puts at risk the very survival of the human species. We continue to warn about this danger and call on the people of the US and the world to halt this threat that is like the sword of Damocles.

I intended to read a chapter, but for the sake of time, I will leave it as a recommendation. It's a fast read. It's really good Madame President, surely you are familiar with it. It is published in English, German, Russian, and Arabic (applause). Look, I think our brothers and sisters of the United States should be the first citizens to read this book because the threat is in their own house.

The Devil is in their home. The Devil, the Devil himself is in their home. The Devil came here yesterday [laughter and applause]. Yesterday the Devil was here, in this very place. This table from where I speak still smells like sulfur. Yesterday, ladies and gentlemen, in this same hall the President of the United States, who I call "The Devil," came here talking as if he owned the world. It would take a psychiatrist to analyze the US president's speech from yesterday.

As the spokesperson for Imperialism he came to give us his recipes for maintaining the current scheme of domination, exploitation and pillage of the world's people. It would make a good Alfred Hitchcock movie. I could even suggest a title: "The Devil's Recipe." That is to say, US Imperialism, and here Chomsky says it with profound and crystalline clarity, is making desperate efforts to consolidate its hegemonic system of domination. We cannot allow this to occur, we cannot permit them to install a world dictatorship, to consolidate a world dictatorship.



Politican is another dirty word!

People get the politicians they deserve, for in office the average person would behave like them.

Politican is another dirty word!