U.S. military threats against Syriadominated the opening of the United Nations General Assembly debates on Sept. 24, but voices from Latin America and the Caribbean answered them, loud and clear.
Bolivian President Evo Morales put the responsibility for war and devastation squarely on U.S. imperialism. He called for a “court of the people, of major defenders of human rights” to file a case against the U.S. government for crimes against humanity.
“Who did the oil in Libya belong to before and who does it belong to now? At least the people of Libya profited from its oil. Now who is? What happened in Iraq?” asked Morales.
“Capitalism wants to emerge from its crisis through war and armed intervention. We must ask ourselves, who benefits from the wars? Who distributes the natural resources after the interventions? Whose hands do they end up in?”
He went to the heart of the class question: “Who is really governing the United States? … Those who finance political campaigns, election campaigns are bankers and big businessmen. They are the ones setting policy. … Who has the greatest nuclear arsenal in their hands? Who invented chemical weapons? Who industrialized these weapons that put an end to human life? …
“I’d like to ask the people of the United States — how is it possible when there are so many unemployed, for your government, for your president, to spend $700 billion on the military? … [T]here are so many brothers and sisters in the United States without homes, without jobs, without schooling. … I simply cannot understand how they can spend so much money to interfere in other countries while leaving their own unprovided for.”
In July, Washington’s European allies refused to allow the Bolivian presidential plane, which was carrying Morales back home from a meeting in Moscow, to land and refuel. U.S. “intelligence” thought that Edward Snowden, the former contract worker turned international whistleblowing hero, was on the plane. He wasn’t.
Puncturing U.S. professions of democracy
Morales asked how the U.S. could talk of democracy “when the espionage services of the United States violate human rights, privacy and security of others using private companies. Not only do they spy on democratic governments, but even on their own allies, their own citizens and the United Nations itself. … Not only do they spy, they hatch coup d’etats.”
Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff also expressed outrage at the spying, which she said included sensitive corporate and economic information that could be used by capitalist competitors.
Morales called this a “new moment in geopolitical imperial distribution. And now once again [the imperialists] want to split it all up with military intervention and putting in military bases.”
Morales later told Russian Television: “At the General Assembly Obama said that the U.S. ‘is prepared to use all elements of our power, including military force, to secure these core interests’ in the Middle East. Among the core interests, he mentioned ‘the free flow of energy from the region to the world.’”
Morales said that Obama’s statement should worry any country possessing natural resources, like the oil-producing countries of Bolivia, Venezuela and Ecuador, which have formed a solidarity trading partnership called the Bolivarian Alliance for Our Americas, or ALBA.
The U.S. has yet to recognize the election of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro after the death of Hugo Chavez. In September the U.S. denied permission for the Venezuelan president’s plane to fly over the U.S. colony of Puerto Rico en route to a state visit in China. Afterward they “blamed the victim” for not making the request properly. When serious defects in the plane were found, Maduro had switched to an ALBA plane from Cubana Airlines for the trip.
Just as racism is not imaginary for oppressed people, imperialist hostility to the independence of Latin America and the Caribbean is a reality.The U.S. even requires some heads of state to apply for visas to attend U.N. meetings. It then lets them stay only a few days and does not guarantee their security — a fact that contributed to Maduro canceling a recent New York trip.
In 2006 Maduro, then foreign minister of Venezuela, had been threatened with a strip search at Kennedy airport and was not allowed to board his return flight to Venezuela, even after showing his diplomatic credentials.
The United Nations General Assembly is but another arena of struggle — one where the U.S. is increasingly opposed. On Oct. 29 a resolution to end the blockade of Cuba will once again be on the GA agenda. For more than 20 years it has passed with overwhelming support, with only the U.S., Israel and one or two very small, dependent countries voting against it. However, the General Assembly is only a forum. It has no power compared to the more exclusive Security Council, which since the 1950s has served as a tool for aggression by the imperialists. So who will enforce the General Assembly resolution?