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« Chinese labour activist gets Sigrid Rausing Trust Award | Main | Afternoon at the UN »

Cuba and Venezuela call it

I wish I had stuck around for the President of Venezuela yesterday (I had to go). Yesterday, I complained the world leaders were too sterile. Well, Hugo Chavez is completely infectious.

Witness the 4000 blog posts that have been written about his appearance at the UN yesterday. He said the document of the meeting has been "hijacked" by the US. He waved it in the air and called it an "illegal" document "approved with a dictator's hammer". Check out the video.

Chavez suggested (and he wasn't joking) that we should move the UN out of the US, because they do not respect international law. He said this had been a proposal from the World Social Forum. And went on to suggest it's new location could be Jerusalem... after it were converted to an international city for all peoples. He also refused to stop speaking after his 15 minutes ran out, saying that Bush had been allowed 20.

Save for the impracticality (ahem) of some of Chavez suggestions, it was refreshing to hear someone say out loud what most people here seem to be thinking. The document is weak and undemocratic. Some bloggers are being pretty snide about Chavez' comments, saying the US doesn't want the UN anyway (ha, there's more where this comes from). Meanwhile Cuba's envoy Ricardo Alarcon agreed with Chavez, saying:

"The purpose of this meeting was hijacked amid tortuous manipulation. Those who imagine themselves the owners of the planet do not even want to recall those promises that were proclaimed with hypocritical fanfare"..."Even worse, those countries are trying to impose an alleged reform of the U.N. that seeks only to totally dominate the organization and convert it to an instrument of their global dictatorship."

You might not like where it's coming from, and certainly it's not a very diplomatic way of saying it (dare I say politically correct?), but I think both left and right can agree the UN struck out at this Summit. Check openDemocracy's UN democracy debate for more thoughtful commentary on US maneuvers and how to repair the United Nations, and why it's so important we get it right.

September 17, 2005 in Un Summit 2005 | Permalink


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Chavez does have a good point about relocating the UN. The UN has the problem of being viewed as a lackey of the US by other countries, but as a tool of international bureaucrats by US conservatives. On another note, Chavez is gaining a ton of PR points back home with his public stance against Bush. Because he is an elected leader, it just makes Bush look anti-democratic and hypocritical every time he criticizes him, and gives the Venezuelan people another reason to be skeptical of the US crusade for democracy.

Posted by: Taylor Kirk | 19 Sep 2005 15:07:07

The problem with Chavez is not that he is incorrect in many of his charges or that he's 'pandering' for support at home. As the previous poster alluded, any elected leader does this - Bush is an expert.

The problem with Chavez is that the world community cannot take him seriously. He openly advocates a change in the world economic order, not that this is necessarily wrong either, but the comment invokes latent cold war fears. This alone, disregarding his bombastic nature and sometimes ludicrous assertions, makes his voice irrelevant in the world community.

Chavez is an intelligent and charismatic man and Venezuela is not an insignificant power, at least in the Western Hemisphere. I wish that he would figure out a way to get himself taken seriously. This would likely require some moderation on his part, but he has a lot to say that people should be listening to.

Posted by: zak bleicher. | 19 Sep 2005 21:41:55

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