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  • Writer's pictureMichael Laxer

"Let us hear in the streets of the world the fury of the peoples": Diaz-Canel and Maduro speak

Highlights from the speeches at the United Nations General Assembly of two of the world's great anti-imperialist fighters, September 22 & 23, 2020

Highlights from the speeches at the United Nations General Assembly of two of the world's great anti-imperialist fighters, September 22 & 23, 2020

The sought-after right of humanity to live in peace and security, with justice and freedom, the basis for unity among nations, is constantly under threat.
Over 1.9 trillion dollars are being squandered today in a senseless arms race promoted by the aggressive and war-mongering policies of imperialism, whose leader is the present government of the US, which accounts for 38 percent of the global military expenditure.
We are referring to a markedly aggressive and morally corrupt regime that despises and attacks multilateralism, uses financial blackmailing in its relations with UN system agencies and that, in a show of unprecedented overbearance, has withdrawn from the World Health Organization, UNESCO and the Human Rights Council.
Paradoxically, the country where the UN headquarters is located is also staying away from fundamental international treaties such as the Paris Agreement on climate change; it rejects the nuclear agreement with Iran reached by consensus; it promotes trade wars; it ends its commitment with international disarmament control instruments; it militarizes cyberspace; it expands coercion and unilateral sanctions against those who do not bend to its designs and sponsors the forcible overthrow of sovereign governments through nonconventional war methods.
Along such line of action, which ignores the old principles of peaceful co-existence and respect of the right of others´ to self-determination as the guarantee for peace, the Donald Trump administration is also manipulating, with subversive aims, cooperation in the sphere of democracy and human rights, while in its own territory there is an abundance of practically uncontrolled expressions of hatred, racism, police brutality and irregularities in the election system and as to the voting rights of citizens...
...Today, we are witnessing with sadness the disaster the world has been led to by the irrational and unsustainable production and consumption system of capitalism, decades of an unjust international order and the implementation of ruthless and rampant neoliberalism, which has widened inequalities and sacrificed the right of peoples to development.
Unlike excluding neoliberalism, which puts aside and discards millions of human beings and condemns them to survive on the leftovers from the banquet of the richest one percent, the COVID-19 virus does not discriminate between them, but its devastating economic and social effects shall be lethal among the most vulnerable and those with lower incomes, whether they live in the underdeveloped world or in the pockets of poverty of big industrial cities.
According to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) projections, the 690 million people who were going hungry in 2019 might be joined by a further 130 million as a result of the economic recession caused by the pandemic. Studies by the International Labor Organization (ILO) say that over 305 million jobs have been lost and that more than 1.6 billion workers are having their livelihoods at stake. We cannot face COVID-19, hunger, unemployment and the growing economic and social inequalities between individuals and countries as unrelated phenomena. There is an urgency to implement integrated policies that prioritize human beings and not economic profits or political advantages. It would a crime to postpone decisions that are for yesterday and for today. It is imperative to promote solidarity and international cooperation to lessen the impact...
The SARS-CoV-2 outbreak and the early signs that it would bring a pandemic did not catch Cuba off guard. With the decade-long experience of facing terrible epidemics, some of which were provoked deliberately as part of the permanent war against our political project, we immediately implemented a series of measures based on our main capabilities and strengths, namely, a wellstructured socialist state that cares for the health of its citizens, a highly-skilled human capital and a society with much people´s involvement in its decision-making and problem solving processes.
The implementation of those measures, combined with the knowledge accrued for over 60 years of great efforts to create and expand a high-quality and universal health system, plus scientific research and development, has made it possible not only to preserve the right to health of all citizens, without exception, but also to be in a better position to face the pandemic.
We have been able to do it in spite of the harsh restrictions of the long economic, commercial and financial blockade being imposed by the US government, which has been brutally tightened in the last two years, even at these pandemic times, something that shows it is the essential component of the hostile US Cuba policy.
The aggressiveness of the blockade has reached a qualitatively higher level that further asserts its role as the real and determining impediment to the managing of the economy and the development of our country. The US government has intensified in particular its harassment of Cuban financial transactions and, beginning in 2019, it has been adopting measures that violate international law to deprive the Cuban people of the possibility to buy fuels they need for their everyday activities and for their development.
So as to damage and demonize the Cuban Revolution and others it defines as adversaries, the US has been publishing spurious lists having no legitimacy by which it abrogates itself the right to impose unilateral coercive measures and unfounded qualifications on the world.
Every week, that government issues statements against Cuba or imposes new restrictions. Paradoxically, however, it has refused to term as terrorist the attack that was carried out against the Cuban embassy in Washington on April 30, 2020, when an individual armed with an assault rifle fired over 30 rounds against the diplomatic mission and later admitted to his intent to kill.
We denounce the double standards of the US government in the fight against terror and demand a public condemnation of that brutal attack.
We demand a cease of the hostility and slanderous campaign against the altruistic work by Cuba´s international medical cooperation that, with much prestige and verifiable results, has contributed to saving hundreds of lives and lowering the impact of the disease in many countries. Prominent international figures and highly prestigious social organizations have acknowledged the humanistic work done by the “Henry Reeve” International Medical Brigade for Disaster Situations and Serious Epidemics and called for the Nobel Peace Prize to be given to them.
While the US government is ignoring the call to combine efforts to fight the pandemic and it withdraws from the WHO, Cuba, in response to requests made to it, and guided by the profound solidarity and humanistic vocation of its people, is expanding its cooperation by sending over 3 700 cooperation workers distributed in 46 medical brigades to 39 countries and territories hit by COVID-19.
In this sense, we condemn the gangster blackmailing by the US to pressure the Pan-American Health Organization so as to make that regional agency a tool for its morbid aggression against our country. As usual, the force of truth shall do away with lies, and facts and protagonists shall go down in history as they should. Cuba´s example shall prevail. Our dedicated health workers, the pride of a nation brought up in José Marti’s idea that My Country Is Humanity, shall be awarded the prize their noble hearts deserve, or not; but it has been years since they won the recognition of the peoples blessed by their health work.
The US government is not hiding its intention to enforce new and harsher aggressive measures against Cuba in the next few months. We state once again before the international community that our people, who take pride in their history and are committed to the ideals and achievements of the Revolution, shall resist and overcome.

In this same General Assembly, in 2001, our Eternal Commander Hugo Chávez said - I quote - "We come, then, without fear, with much good faith, with much optimism in life, in brotherhood, in union and in the supreme possibility that we, the leaders of the countries of the planet, have today to seek and build real solutions to real problems in order to seek justice and peace". From Venezuela, we believe that the world must be completely revised, with a great magnifying glass said Commander Chávez; a very powerful magnifying glass, because the world has become very bad, it has been stumbling from one mistake to another. It was a call made by Commander Chávez in 2001, to take a sense of reality in the re-founding of the United Nations Organization. And we have arrived at 2020, insisting on this need for renewal of the paradigms.
Venezuela recognizes that, in these 75 years, the United Nations Organization has given great contributions to humanity. However, we demand more will and efforts to preserve the achievements, to advance in new objectives. We insist on the need to strengthen South-South cooperation and to create alternative mechanisms for financing and technical support that will back up the initiatives and priorities defined by our peoples to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals. This is a timely and urgent task and every day counts. "The South also thinks, the South also matters, the South also exists", as the poet Benedetti said, from his centennial presence.
We must all work to save our planet. We make a call to achieve the highest political commitment to fight climate change which is a reality and an urgent priority. We recognize the importance of strengthening mitigation and adaptation actions, in accordance with the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and the Paris Agreement. We therefore reaffirm the importance of the means of implementation for developing countries to carry out their climate actions. Noam Chomsky recently warned, "there is not much time left”...
...The United States of America, far from taking a positive or proactive leadership position, conducts itself erratically under a government that is intransigent and hostile to diplomacy and high politics, since it openly disregards multilateralism and any type of pre-existing global rule.
The COVID-19 pandemic has come to change the realities and priorities of all humanity, because of its consequences for human life. The pandemic has made evident the inequalities in the world and exacerbated them. Unfortunately, some contingency measures in the face of the pandemic have increased the social and economic gaps within countries. That is why the international community, as a whole, must provide a global and coordinated response to support all nations in need, helping to create the conditions for stronger economies and more inclusive societies.
Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, the collapse of the international geopolitical and geo-economic order was already taking place. However, this emergency has made us aware of and critically think about the contradictions of capitalism and its logical and operational inability to deal with these crises. In many cases, the States were reduced to a minimum expression and the imposed neo-liberalism suffocated the public institutions, turning the rights of the people into private services; health became a luxury.
Let us hear in the streets of the world the fury of the peoples who feel orphaned and unprotected!
The health and well-being of the population are not merchandise; the market cannot continue to regulate the destiny of humanity!...
...Venezuela, as you know, is under constant attack. Our beloved Homeland is the victim of a multiform attack by the U.S. Empire, in the media field, in the political field, in the economic field; we have even been threatened with direct military aggressions.
The unilateral measures imposed by the Government of the United States of America have tried to subdue the Venezuelan people. However, our people, together with the Constitutional Government, have heroically resisted the opprobrium, the illegality, the inhumanity of an empire which today represents the most serious threat facing the multi-polar and multi-centered world.
Today, standing up, and with the dignity of the people, children of the glories of the Liberator Simon Bolivar, we say to the supremacist Government of the United States that the world is watching them, that the 21st century has millions of eyes that see beyond the media matrices. There is still time to return to international legality. We tell you that you are still in time to reverse the discredit and global malaise that your arbitrariness and arrogance provoke in the conscious world. Continuing on the path of violation of the United Nations Charter will lead them inexorably to the isolation, discredit and condemnation of the history of peoples, including that of their own people, the people of the United States, who have taken to the streets to protest against racism, against police brutality, against abuse.
Unilateral coercive measures have awakened not only the indignation and repudiation of the peoples against the alleged global dictatorship raised from the United States, which is trying to impose on us, but have also generated cohesion and national initiatives around new forms of production, technical and technological solutions. Inventiveness has been the answer to the persecution of our national industry. This is what the real Venezuelan is like, of flesh and bone, who is so hidden and who they try so hard to despise. Today I can tell you, Excellency that a revolution of innovation has been unleashed in our Homeland, a new offensive to transform into a virtuous cycle of opportunities the attempts of aggression to make our nation collapse.
We have made a titanic effort with our own capacities, in addition to the solidarity and cooperation of friendly countries and the United Nations System to confront the entire COVID-19 pandemic situation. We have avoided the worst, despite the plans, prognoses and catastrophic wishes of those who attack us. Neither the illegal blockade, nor the aggressions against our government have distracted us and prevented us from fulfilling a great effort: the goal of protecting the lives of our population...
...In Venezuela, I can tell you, there are all the necessary guarantees to hold the parliamentary elections and that is why we have invited the world to join us, to be witnesses of a living democracy, nothing and nobody will be able to take away from the Venezuelan People the right to elect the new Legislative Power, since this is a fundamental tool for collective existence and will be an expression of the will of the original power. No one decides for us Venezuelans; we do not intervene nor do we intend to do so in any case – ever – before any other nation, we are respectful and thus we demand respect.
Even so, the Government of Washington, which has led its own people to the collapse of the pandemic – which, by the way, will hold presidential elections next November -, in blatant violation of international law, illegally imposed new unilateral coercive measures against the Venezuelan democratic institutions, in this case, the Electoral Power, to try to interfere with the conduct of the parliamentary election provided for in our Constitution. This is why, the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela reiterates the need to vindicate the principles of respect to sovereignty and self-determination of the peoples, expressed in the United Nations Charter, whose illegal violation by some Member States of this Organization is intended to lead Venezuela to violence and conflict. We will not allow it! We demand respect. The Venezuelan path is of peace, democracy, freedom, vote, participation and protagonism of the people. That is how it has been, and that is how it will be.


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