Wednesday, September 26 at the UN General Assembly
CUBA – Cuba’s Foreign Minister, Felipe Perez Roque, got his chance yesterday to whack President Bush for his highly inappropriate comments about Fidel Castro which caused the Cuban delegation to walk out on Bush. Before Roque responded to Bush, he spoke on behalf of the non-aligned nations, which Cuba chairs. His general theme was that we must quit arming ourselves to the teeth and turn our money and attention to attacking very serious humanitarian issues in every region of the world.
Then, Roque unloaded. The speech appears in its entirety in the post just previous to this one. But, here’s my favorite part of the Bush-whacking:
“It was an embarrassing show. The delirium tremens of the world’s policeman. The intoxication of the imperial power, sprinkled with the mediocrity and the cynicism of those who threaten to launch weapons which they know their life is not at stake. The President of the United States has no right at all to pass judgment on any other sovereign nation on this planet. Having powerful nuclear weapons offers no right whatsoever to tread upon the rights of the peoples of the other 191 countries that are represented here.”
HAITI – What can I say about the presentation by President Rene Preval? It was lackluster and obligatory. How do you come to the UN and thank them for having their troops occupy your country? The only thing worth repeating here is that he said that the people of Haiti view foreign troops on their soil as a “wound to their sovereignty.”
ZIMBABWE – As much as I looked forward to hearing from Cuba, Venezuela, and Bolivia, I knew that it was really Robert Mugabe who would deliver the best tongue lashing to the west. He did not disappoint.
Anyone watching the BBC knows that Great Britain and the US have been carrying out a disgraceful destabilization campaign to overthrow Mugabe. It’s over redistribution of land in Zimbabwe. The former colonial ruler in Zimbabwe, the British, behaved as all colonial occupiers and stole land from indigenous Africans. After gaining its independence from Britain in 1980, Mugabe became president and the redistribution of land became a central focus of Mugabe’s administration. It was especially important that the soldiers who fought in the liberation struggle got a chance to provide for themselves and their families. As you might expect, the British have been fighting the land redistribution ever since. Considering economy-busting embargoes against Zimbabwe by the British and the US and an active campaign by the US National Endowment for Democracy to demonize Mugabe including the funding of numerous opposition groups and coups, Mugabe has plenty to holler about. Here’s a segment
“Yes, for us post-colonials, we still have an aloof immigrant settler landed gentry – all-white, all-royal, all untouchable, all-western supported –pitted against a bitter, disinherited, landless, poverty-begrimed, right-lesscommunal black majority we have vowed to empower, and in the cause of whom Zimbabwe continues to be vilified, in a country that is ours and very African and sovereign. Hence, in spite of the present global milieu of technological sophistication, we remain a modern world divided by old dichotomies and old asymmetries that make genuine calls for digital solidarity sound hollow. It is a sad, sad story of improved technological means for unimproved human ends.”
BOLIVIA – After his successful splash in NY appearing on the Daily Show with John Stewart and this morning at on “Democracy Now” Morales had his rap down pat.
When Morales first became president, he was cautious in his rhetoric, but by the time he go to the podium at the UN General Assembly, he had had enough nasty encounters with the US,, and was ready to share his concerns.
Morales’ heralded the great improvements in Bolivia’s economy since he came to office largely by nationalizing gas reserves and jettisoning the IMF and World Bank. But it took Morales’ and the people of Bolivia a long time to get where they are.
The previous president, Gonzalo Sanchez de Losada, like other presidents of Bolivia, privatized everything that was not nailed down. He also collaborated with the IMF and World Bank and nearly structurally adjusted Bolivia off the map of South America. But the final blow came when de Losada tried to privatize Bolivia’s water. The indigenous Indians, usually the most discriminated group in any Latin American society, decided it all had to stop. They blocked roads, burned tires, marched and didn’t give up. They weren’t settling down quick enough for de Losada, so he sent the Bolivian military to quiet things down. The military murdered 70 some people. Within days, the people of Bolivia sent de Losada packing — to the US, of course. So now the indigenous people of Bolivia have an Indian president and for the first time in 500 years they have a president that not only looks like them, but thinks like them. Bolivia is seeking extradition of Gonzalo Sanchez de Losada from the US to Bolivia for genocide.
The National Endowment for Democracy is now haunting Bolivia the same as it has haunted Venezuela, Haiti, Zimbabwe, etc.
Before the UN General Assembly, Morales spoke about the damage of concentrating capital in the hands of only a few. He recommended that the UN be de-colonized which has been a familiar theme in many speeches because of the choke hold that the US, France, Britain, etc. have on virtually every aspect of UN activities. Referencing difficulties he had in getting his visa to come to the UN meeting, he suggested that the UN be moved outside the US.
VENEZUELA – Venezuela was a no-show. at the General Assembly. We know that President Chavez is busy mediating the Colombia-FARC issue. Supposedly, the foreign minister was sent in his place. I don’t see Venezuela on the UN General Assembly schedule. The foreign minister is probably sitting in a plane on the tarmac at JFK trying to negotiate his clearance through US immigration.