[Marxism] Chávez speaks at G 15 (March 1)
mstainsby at resist.ca
Mon Mar 8 09:24:00 MST 2004
Speech by President Hugo Chavez, at the Opening of XII G-15 Summit
Monday, Mar 01, 2004:
..... In his letter to Jamaica in 1815, Bolivar said, talking about the
Panama isthmus and his idea of convening there a Amphictyonic Congress:
"I wish one day we would have the opportunity to install there an august
congress with the representatives of the Republics, Kingdoms and Empires
to debate and discuss the highest interests of Peace and War with the
countries of the other three parts of the world."
Bolivar reveals himself as an anti-imperialist leader, in the same
historic perspective that 140 years after that insightful letter at
Kingston materialized in the Bandung Conference in April 1955. Inspired
by Nehru, Tito and Nasser, a group of important leaders gathered at this
conference to face great challenges and expressed their wish of not
being involved in the East-West conflict and rather work together toward
national development. This was the first key milestone: the first
Afro-Asian conference, the immediate precedent of the Non-Aligned
Countries that gathered 29 Heads of State and from which the "Conscience
of the South" was born.
Two events of great political significance occurred in the 60's: the
creation of the Non-Aligned Movement in Belgrade in 1961 and the Group
of the 77 in 1964: Two milestones and a clear historic trend: the need
of the self-awareness of the South and of acting together in a world
reality characterized by imbalance and unequal exchange.
In the 70's a proposal, arising from the IV Summit of Heads of State of
the Non-Aligned Countries in Algiers in 1973, becomes important: the
need to create a new international economic order. In 1974 the UN
Assembly ratified this proposal, which maintains full effectiveness, but
ended up becoming a mere historical reference.
Two events that were very important for the struggles in the South
occurred during the 80's: the creation of the Commission of the South in
Kuala Lumpur in 1987 under the leadership of Julius Nyerere, the
unforgettable fighter of Tanzania and the world.
Two years later, in September 1989, the Group of the 15 is born within
the framework of the meeting of the Non-Aligned Countries, with the
purpose of strengthening the South-South cooperation.
In 1990, the South-Commission submitted its strategic proposal: "A
Challenge for the South". And later on... later on came the Flood with
the fall of the Berlin Wall and the implosion of the Soviet Union;
unipolarity appears and the "happy 90's" arrived, as Joseph Stiglitz
All those struggles, ideas and proposals sunk in the Neo-liberal Flood
and the world began to witness the so-called "end of History" and the
triumphant chant of the Neo-liberal Globalization, which today, besides
an objective reality, is a weapon of manipulation intended to force us
to passiveness faced to an Economic World Order that excludes our South
countries and condemns them to the never-ending role of producers of
wealth and recipients of leftovers.
Never before had the world such a tremendous scientific-technical
potential, such a capacity to generate wealth and well-being. Authentic
technological wonders that have made any place in the world to be always
close with regard to distances and communications and have not been
capable of bringing well-being for everybody, but only for a meager 15%
living in the countries of the North.
Globalization has not brought the so-called interdependence, but an
increase in dependency. Instead of wealth globalization, there is
poverty widely spreading. Development has not become general, or been
shared. To the contrary, the abyss between North and South is now so
huge, that the unsustainability of the current economic order and the
blindness of the people who try to justify continuing to enjoy opulence
and waste, are evident.
The face of this world economic order of globalization with a
neo-liberal sign is not only Internet, virtual reality or the
exploration of the space.
This face can also be seen, and with a greater dramatic character in the
countries of the South, in the 790 millions of people who are starving,
800 millions of illiterate adults, 654 millions of human beings who live
today in the south and who will not grow older than 40 years of age.
This is the harsh and hard face of the work economic order dominated by
the Neoliberalism and seen every year in the south, the death of over 11
millions of boys and girls below 5 years of age caused by illnesses that
are practically always preventable and curable and who die at the
appalling rate of over 30 thousand every day, 21 every minute, 10 each
30 seconds. In the South, the proportion of children suffering from
malnutrition reaches up to 50% in quite a few countries, while according
to the FAO, a child who lives in the First World will consume throughout
his or her life, the equivalent to what 50 children consume in an
The great possibilities that a globalization of solidarity and true
cooperation could bring to all people in the world through the
scientific-technical wonders, has been reduced by the neo-liberal model
to this grotesque caricature full of exploitation and social injustice.
Our countries of the South were repeated a thousand times that the sole
and true "science" capable of ensuring development and well-being for
everybody, without exception, was synthesized in leaving the markets
operate without regulation, privatizing everything and creating the
conditions for transnational capital investment, and banning the State
from intervening in the economy.
Almost the magic and wonderful philosopher's stone!!
Neoliberal thought and politics were created in the North to serve their
interests, but it should be highlighted that they have never been truly
applied there, but they have been spread throughout the South in the
past two decades and reached the disastrous category of a single
Through the application of the sole thought, the world economy as a
whole grew less than in the three decades between 1945 and 1975, when
the Keynesian theories promoting market regulation through State
intervention were applied. The gap separating the North and the South
continued to grow, not only with regard to economic indicators, but also
in the strategic sector of access to knowledge, from which the
fundamental possibility of integral development in our times arises.
The countries of the North with 15% of the world population count with
over 85% of Internet users and control 97% of the patents. These
countries have an average of over 10 years of schooling, while in the
countries of the South schooling hardly reaches 3.7 years and in many
countries is even lower.
The tragedy of underdevelopment and poverty in Africa, which historic
roots lay in colonialism and the slavery of millions of its children, is
now reinforced by the neoliberalism from the North. In this region, the
rate of infant mortality in children under 1 year of age is 107 per each
thousand children born alive, while in the developed countries this rate
is 6 per each thousand children born alive; also, life expectancy is 48
years, thirty years less than in countries of the North.
In Asia, economic growth in some countries has been remarkable, but the
region, as a whole, still presents a delay with regard to the North in
basic economic and social development aspects.
We are, dear friends, in Latin America, the favorite scenario of the
neo-liberal model in the past decades. Here, neoliberalism reached the
status of a dogma and was applied with greatest severity.
Its catastrophic results can be easily seen and are the explanation for
the growing and uncontrollable social protest that the poor people and
the excluded people of Latin America have been expressing, every day
more vigorously, for some years now, claiming their right to life, to
education, to health, to culture, to a decent living as human beings.
I saw with my own eyes, a day like today but exactly 15 years ago, the
27 of February 1989, when an intense day of protest broke out on the
streets of Caracas against the neo-liberal package of the International
Monetary Fund and ended in a real massacre known as "The Caracazo".
The neo-liberal model promised Latin Americans greater economic growth,
but during the neo-liberal years growth has not even reached half the
growth achieved in the 1945-1975 period with different politics.
The model recommended the most strict financial liberalization and
exchange freedom to achieve a greater influx of foreign capitals and
greater stability. But in neo-liberal years the financial crises have
been more intense and frequent than ever before, the external regional
debts non-existent at the end of the Second World War amounts today to
750 billion dollars, the per capita highest debt in the world and in
several countries is equal to more than half the GDP. Only between 1990
and the year 2002, Latin America made external debt payments amounting
to 1 trillion 528 billions of dollars, which duplicates the amount of
the current debt and represented an annual average payment of 118
billions. That is, we pay the debt every 6.3 years, but this evil burden
continues to be there, unchanging and inextinguishable.
It is a never-ending debt!!
Obviously, this debt has exceeded the normal and reasonable payment
commitments by any debtor and has turned into an instrument to
undercapitalize our countries additionally to the imposition of socially
adverse measures that subsequently generate powerful politically
destabilizing factors for the governments that insist in their
We were asked to be ultraliberal in trade and to lift any barrier, which
may obstruct the imports coming from the North, but the oral champions
of free trade actually are the champions in the practice of protectionism.
The North spends 1 billion dollars a day in practicing what has been
banned from doing, that is, subsidizing inefficient products.
I want to tell you--and this is a true and verifiable data--that
each cow grazing in the European Union receives in its four stomachs
2.20 dollars a day in subsidies, thus having a better situation than 2.5
billion poor people in the South who barely survive with an income less
than 2 dollars a day.
With the FTAA, the government of the United States wants us to reach a
zero tariff situation in their benefit and wants us to give away our
markets, our oil, our water resources and biodiversity, in addition to
our sovereignty, whereas walls of subsidies for agriculture keep access
closed to the market of that country. It is a peculiar way of relieving
the huge commercial deficit of the United States, to do exactly the
contrary to what they present as a sacred principle in economic policy.
Neoliberalism promised Latin American people that if they accepted the
demands of the multinational capital, investments would overflow the
region. Indeed, the incoming capital increased. A portion to buy
state-owned companies sometimes at bargain prices, another portion was
speculative capital to seize the opportunities involved in the financial
The neo-liberal model promised that after a painful adjustment period
necessary to deprive the State of its regulatory power over economy and
liberalize trade and finance, wealth would spread over Latin America and
the long-lasting history of poverty and underdevelopment would be left
behind. But the painful and temporary adjustment became permanent and
appears to become everlasting. The results cannot be concealed.
Taking 1980 as the conventional year of the commencement of the
neo-liberal cycle, by that time around 35 percent of the Latin American
population were poor. Two decades thereafter, 44 percent of Latin
American men and women are poor. Poverty is particularly cruel to
children. It is a sad reality that in Latin America most of the poor
people are children and most children are poor. In the late 90s', the
Economic Commission for Latin America reported that 58 percent of
children under 5 were poor, as well as 57% of children with ages ranging
from 6 to 12.
Poverty among children and teenagers tends to reinforce and perpetuate
inequalities of access to education, as shown by a survey conducted by
the Inter-American Development Bank on 15 countries where householders
in 10 percent of the population with the highest income had an average
schooling of 11 years, whereas among householders in 30 percent of the
lowest income population such average was 4 years.
Neoliberalism promised wealth. And poverty has spread, thus making of
Latin America the most unequal region over the world in terms of income
distribution. In the region, the wealthiest 10 percent of the population--
those who are satisfied with neoliberalism and feel enthusiastic
about the FTAA--receive nearly 50 percent of the total income, where the
poorest 10 percent--those who never appear in high class society
chronicles of the oligarchic mass media--barely receive 1.5 percent
of such total income.
This exploitation model has turned Latin America and the Caribbean into
a social bomb ready to explode, should anti-development, unemployment
and poverty keep increasing.
Even though the social struggles are growing sharp and even some
governments have been overthrown by uprisings, we are told by the North
that the neo-liberal reform has not yielded good results because it has
not been implemented in full.
So, they now intend to recommend the formula of suicide. But we know,
brothers and sisters, that countries do not commit suicide. The people
of our countries awake, stand up and fight!
As a conclusion, their Excellencies, because of its injustice and
inequality, the economic and social order of neo-liberal globalization
appears to be a dead-end street for the South.
Therefore, the passive acceptance of the excluding rules imposed by this
economic and social order cannot be the behavior to be exercised by the
Heads of State and Government who have the highest responsibility before
The history of our countries does not admit any doubt--passivity and
grieving are useless, instead, the joined and firm action is the sole
conduct enabling the South to rise from its sad role of exploited and
Thanks to the heroic struggle against colonialism, the developing
countries broke the economic and social order condemning them to the
condition of exploited colonies. Colonialism was not defeated by the
accumulations of tears of sorrow or by the repentance of colonialists,
but for centuries of heroic fights for independence and sovereignty in
which the resistance, tenacity and sacrifice of our peoples worked
Here, in South America, this year we are precisely commemorating 180
years of the heroic deeds of Ayacucho battle, where people joined and
became a liberating army after almost 20 years of revolutionary wars
under the bright leadership of Jose de San Martin, Bernardo O'Higgins,
Jose Inacio Abreu e Lima, Simon Bolivar and Antonio Jose de Sucre,
sending away the Spanish empire hitherto extended from the warm
Caribbean beaches to the cold lands of Patagonia, thus ending 300 years
Today, vis-A-vis the obvious failure of neoliberalism and the great
threat that the International Economic Order represents for our
countries, it is necessary to retake the Spirit of the South.
That is where this Summit in Caracas is heading for.
I propose to re-launch the G-15 as a South Integration Movement rather
than a group. A movement for the promotion of all possible trends, which
walks towards the Non-aligned Movement, the Group of 77, China--The
entirely whole South!!
I propose that we retake the proposals of the 1990 South Commission:
Why not focus our attention and our political actions to the proposals
for granting several thousands of the "Grants of the South" per year to
students from underdeveloped countries to continue studies in the South;
or multiplying cooperation in health to decrease infant mortality,
provide basic medical care, fight AIDS and many other actions that would
only be possible if we would foster them with the solidarity necessary
to ease the dark panorama of life in the South and thus face the
expensive and ineffective dependency from the North?
Why not create the Debtors Fund as an elemental defense tool to have
consultations and coordinate collective action policies, taking into
account the full operation of the creditors forum structured by
different bodies to protect their interests?
Why not advance the system of trade preferences among developing
countries that only exists symbolically, whereas the protectionism of
the North expels our countries from the markets?
Why not promote the compensation trade and investment flows within the
South instead of competing in a suicidal fashion among us offering
concessions to the multinationals of the North?
Why not establish the University of the South?
Why not create the Bank of the South?
These and other proposals retain their value and await for our political
will to become true.
But finally, dear friends, I would like to mention in particular a
proposal, which, in my opinion, has great significance within this set
In the South we are victims of the media monopoly of the North, which
acts as a power system responsible for disseminating in our countries
and planting in the minds of our citizens, information, values and
consumption patterns that are basically alien to our realities and that
have turned themselves into the most powerful and effective tool of
domination. Never is domination more perfect than when the dominated
people think like the dominators do.
To face and begin to change this reality, I dare to propose the creation
of a TV channel that could be seen throughout the world showing
information and pictures from the South. This would be the first and
fundamental step to crush the media monopoly.
In a very shot time this TV channel of the South could broadcast
throughout the world our own values, our own roots and tell the people
in the world in the words of the great poet Mario Benedetti, a man from
the deep South, Uruguay, where the La Plata River opens so much that it
looks like a silver sea, and washes my dear Buenos Aires and blueish
"THE SOUTH ALSO EXISTS"
With its French horn and its Swedish academy, its American sauce and its
English wrenches, with all its missiles and its encyclopedias, its star
wars and its opulent viciousness, with all its laurels the North commands--
but down here close to the roots is where memory no remembrance omits
and there are who undies and who unlives and thus, all together work
wonders be it known: the South also exists.
Ladies and Gentlemen, thank you very much.
In the contradiction lies the hope
More information about the Marxism