Greetings of brotherhood to the presidents, heads of government and prime ministers of the 193 countries that make up the United Nations Organization.
In the same way, we salute Secretary General António Guterres, and also Dr. Csaba Korosi, President of the United Nations General Assembly, and other authorities present at this 77th Annual General Assembly, wishing them every success in the development of this important debate of ideas for timely and collective action, in the face of common problems.
I take advantage of the time that corresponds to us to speak in this forum and on behalf of the 30 million Venezuelan men and women, to send an open letter to humanity, because I do not believe that the words of a ruler of the 21st century can have any other audience or any other purpose.
Above all, in such a crucial moment for the world when greater protagonism of the peoples is needed to create alternatives to transform reality, and we have never been so conscious of being the community, one and multiple at the same time, as in this juncture that has put in jeopardy that which we share and makes us equal: Life.
This letter comes from the heart of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, a country that many have heard of and of which, paradoxically, little is known about its political truth, its historical identity and its concrete reality.
Certainly, a pernicious worldwide campaign of discredit and stigmatization has been waged against our people, our republican institutions and our democratic revolution, for the simple fact of challenging, at the end of the last century, the single thought regime that was imposed on the world under the mask of the market economy and neo-liberal globalization, a model that in the name of freedom became the modern version of colonization.
The objective of this campaign against Venezuela is none other than to create the objective conditions to politically and economically suffocate any attempt to create alternatives to an imperialist and predatory system, as capitalism has turned out to be in all its historical phases; imposing their false narrative they accuse us of being a dictatorship and a failed state to hide the truth from the world.
During the last two decades 29 free elections have been held in my country that have been defending our social, economic and political model which we have called: Bolivarian Socialism. This is the reason why we have been attacked in many ways. The peoples of the world should know that Venezuela has been subjected to all the manuals to destabilize its democracy.
In the political sphere, imperialism has been using a failed and illegal method of regime change, they have promoted assassination and invasion attempts, they have created seditious movements against the Constitution, and they have even invented a fictitious parallel government that bordered on the ridiculous.
In the economic sphere, few know that this small but worthy country is under 913 illegal sanctions that, in short, prevent my people from selling and buying what they produce and need for the development and enjoyment of our individual and collective existence.
In concrete terms, this translates into suffering, deprivation and systematic aggressions that restrict the life and collective rights of my country, which is why we do not hesitate to denounce these cruel measures as crimes against humanity.
This economic war, whose losses for my nation exceed $150 billion in recent years, increased during the most severe period of the global pandemic, making it impossible for us to buy medical supplies, medicines and vaccines.
Stigmatization has also served as an alibi for Europe and the United States to carry out the most shameless plundering ever committed against our patrimony and assets abroad. More than 31 tons of Venezuelan gold reserves deposited in the Bank of England, estimated at $1.3 billion, are being held hostage. The theft of the Citgo Petroleum Corporation valued at more than $30 billion in February 2019 is another example in addition to the more than $10 billion of Venezuelan deposits and funds in foreign banks illegally blocked.
But these illegal sanctions have never been able to bend the will of a people, but rather strengthen it in the same way that they strengthen the conscience and determination to be free. Nor have they diverted us from our path to social justice. Even in the worst circumstances, our model protects and prioritizes human beings in their social rights, access to housing, education, health, work and culture.
This act of piracy against our homeland, however, has left deep wounds in society, among them the induced migration that the media boast about for political and propaganda purposes, who have encouraged and promoted it with false promises and blockade of their living conditions. Nothing is said about the 60% of the Venezuelan population that emigrated and have voluntarily returned to the country, fleeing the conditions of slavery and exploitation, as well as the mistreatment and persecution to which they are subjected in many countries of the world.
It is also hidden from the world that the Venezuelan State is the only one that has a repatriation policy through its airline Conviasa, which is permanently boycotted by illegal sanctions. We ask the multilateral organizations: Where have the millions of dollars supposedly destined to support Venezuelan migrants gone? An accountability would be useful to clear the opacity with which such allocations have been carried out.
In the same way, we demand that multilateral organizations guarantee the rights of all migrants around the world. We do so with the moral authority of being a country that for more than 100 years has been a recipient of good practices towards the migrant population.
In this order of ideas, we alert the peoples of the world to the resurgence of xenophobia and aporophobia, hate speeches and crimes and intolerance in general, incubated by neo-fascist and neo-Nazi movements that are sheltered in ultra-conservative and extreme right-wing parties and governments.
The humanity that sees and listens to us today has the right to know that, in the most extreme conditions summarized here, our people have not given up; on the contrary, they have built their way to the consolidation of social peace, economic recovery and the strengthening of democracy.
We know firsthand the adversity and the miracles that our own will and effort can perform. For this reason, from concrete experience we have built consensus around social and political peace, we have implemented an economic plan to face the blockade, creating new sources of wealth such as tourism, national industrialization, entrepreneurship and agricultural development.
For the first time in 120 years we are producing 80% of what we consume, so we can affirm that we are in a position to join forces to face the great threats that loom over the world.
As one of the world’s major oil and gas powers, Venezuela can and wants to be useful as a member of OPEC in this energy emergency which has been dragging on for a decade and which deeply affects the price and supply system, impacting the poorest countries as well as the richest ones.
The Covid 19 pandemic and the conflict between Ukraine and Russia aggravate the situation dramatically, but beyond this historical position of guaranteeing the energy balance demanded by the international community as an irreplaceable producer, we are concerned with the impact of the different world conflicts on food security.
Venezuela has 30 million hectares of arable land and we are convinced that a return to sustainable agriculture can help overcome world hunger and poverty. We bring to the table our potential and our firm conviction to work actively in the search for global solutions.
Undoubtedly, all nations are beset by various problems, each one so complex and serious that it would be difficult to rank them in order of importance. Perhaps one of the most pressing of these is that of world peace and security, now severely undermined, an event that has been mentioned by all those who have spoken before me.
Regardless of ideological positions, we must agree on the need to prioritize the reestablishment of the diplomatic path, of political dialogue over military confrontation. Humanity will not survive a world war. Therefore, an escalation of war in any part of the world is not in anyone’s interest.
For my country, a people that has never participated in an international armed conflict, there is no other path than peace, justice and trust, respect for international law. We therefore subscribe to the proposal of President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, who advocates the creation of an International Commission to facilitate sovereign dialogue between Russia and Ukraine, and we stand ready to facilitate its conditions.
We reject all military provocations and interfering economic sanctions that have been taken against Russia, as well as the hate campaign unleashed to the detriment of the Slavic people, considering that these actions, far from adding to peace, fuel the fire of war.
In the eyes of my homeland, and I am sure I agree with the judgment of the peoples, there are no good wars and bad wars. Since the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan in 2001, international trust was broken and the contradictions of an imperialist and supremacist logic became more acute. Since then we have seen blood flow with impunity in Iraq, Yemen, Haiti, Somalia, Libya and Syria, just to name a few milestones of this shameful tragedy that is undermining the indispensable international law.
Nevertheless, in Venezuela we have reasons to be optimistic. We have learned to trust the people and their intelligence, their benevolence, their attachment to justice and true life. But it is necessary to recognize that the dominant world order faces multiple crises that compete in their lethal potential, converge and articulate with each other.
The climate crisis aggravates the food crisis, the health crisis deepens the social crisis, the energy crisis intensifies the economic crisis, and the latter endangers world peace. And transversally to all this operates the no less pernicious crisis of truth, today increased by information pollution and fake news.
We are facing a regime of representation, distortion and suppression of reality, imposed by the algorithm of the new communication technologies at the convenience of the most powerful.
The manipulation of information and emotions is only part of the problem; we are witnessing a global state of surveillance and digital control that violates citizens’ rights to privacy and truthful information, turning our democracies into infocracies, as the South Korean philosopher Byung-Chul Han states in his most recent book.
The death of truth is the clearest symptom of the decline of a civilization and the preamble to perpetual conflict. Let us not allow truth to succumb at the historical moment when we have the best chance of applying it, together with reason and sensitivity, as an antidote to collapse.
The peoples of America, Europe, Asia, Africa and Oceania know that, in this multidimensional crisis due to its transcendent and definitive character, it is up to us to face it with humanity by going to the heart of the problem. Where is the telluric fault [earthquake] that makes the edifice of the prevailing order tremble? In the crisis of the imperialist supremacist Western civilizational model, which denies, attacks and tries to suppress the other, the different, and which does not recognize other models, other political, economic, religious and cultural paradigms foreign to its own.
In spite of Western arrogance, we are living in a change of the post-imperial epoch and the North of the world has to recognize that the reigning unipolar and colonialist order is not capable of responding satisfactorily to the problems and needs that it has created to the detriment of humanity, animal life and the planet. The latter is, from our original cosmovision, the living being most exploited, violated and destroyed by capitalism in all its historical phases.
We are not just making an ideological reflection, the climate crisis is already irreversible, it could be the confirmation that it is imminent to change the model.
The North of the world has to accept the indisputable emergence of new powers and new leaderships such as China, Russia, India, Iran, Turkey. They have to open themselves to the possibility of being part of a multipolar, pluricentric and hegemonism-free world. It is urgent an ethical change in the old powers in favor of the construction of a new common world without colonized or colonizers, where the solutions of our peoples are worked together.
There is no time for arrogance, no time for confrontations and useless skirmishes. 207 years ago in very singular circumstances, the Liberator Simón Bolívar in the prophetic Letter of Jamaica invoked the wisdom of the West, I quote: “And civilized, commercial and freedom-loving Europe allows an old snake to devour the most beautiful part of our globe just to satisfy its poisoned anger”, and Bolívar continued interpreting “Europe is deaf to the clamor of its own interest”. And President Nicolás Maduro wonders, is the European and North American leadership deaf? We ask ourselves today on the brink of a crisis that could be the last one for humanity.
Venezuela hopes that reason, wisdom and prudence will be heard in this Assembly. And that the rights of the peoples of the world be recognized and respected, and that the injustice committed against the Saharawi and Palestinian people, by denying them the right to have a homeland, be corrected.
We pray for an end to the illegal economic sanctions and political persecutions against Nicaragua, against sister Cuba, Iran and Russia. We pray for the reparation of the Argentine people and the restitution of their rights over the Malvinas, taken away with blood and fire by the imperial logic that we have been denouncing.
Only dialogue can, only words and reason shared among equals can build and raise the bridges we need to mend the wounds and leave behind the abysses that cause vertigo and fear in humanity.
It is with this faith that I write this message, not to comply with the protocol of the Summit, for my eyes are fixed on the streets where ordinary men and women in New York, Istanbul, London, Damascus, Ramallah, Tehran, Cape Town, Moscow, Beijing, Managua, Havana, Caracas and many more await not answers but the call to be part of the construction of a new humanity. And because I believe in the power of the word, and because I believe in that man, in that woman who refuses to give up hope.
I am confident that this call will not fall on deaf ears. Let us have the good sense to recognize the end of this hegemonic global model and let us arm ourselves with the necessary enthusiasm to found a new multicentric, pluripolar, intercultural and balanced world. Let us change whatever needs to be changed and have the courage to be reborn in the face of new times and new challenges. Another world, another life is not only possible, but more urgent than ever.
Nicholas Maduro Moors
In Caracas, September 24, 2022.