[News] Chavez on Climate Change in Copenhagen

Anti-Imperialist News news at freedomarchives.org
Mon Dec 21 10:30:28 EST 2009

Venezuelan President’s Speech on Climate Change in Copenhagen

December 17th 2009, by Hugo Chavez

Copenhagen, Kingdom of Denmark
Wednesday, December 16th, 2009

President of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, Hugo Chávez:

Mr. President, ladies and gentlemen, 
Excellencies, friends, I promise that I will not 
talk more than most have spoken this afternoon. 
Allow me an initial comment which I would have 
liked to make as part of the previous point which 
was expressed by the delegations of Brazil, 
China, India, and Bolivia. We were there asking 
to speak but it was not possible. Bolivia's 
representative said, my salute of course to 
Comrade President Evo Morales, who is there, 
President of the Republic of Bolivia.

[Audience applause]

She said among other things the following, I 
noted it here, she said the text presented is not 
democratic, it is not inclusive.

I had hardly arrived and we were just sitting 
down when we heard the president of the previous 
session, the minister, saying that a document 
came about, but nobody knows, I've asked for the 
document, but we still don’t have it, I think 
nobody knows of that top secret document.

Now certainly, as the Bolivian comrade said, that 
is not democratic, it is not inclusive. Now, 
ladies and gentlemen, isn’t that just the reality of the world?
Are we in a democratic world? Is the global 
system inclusive? Can we hope for something 
democratic, inclusive from the current global system?

What we are experiencing on this planet is an 
imperial dictatorship, and from here we continue 
denouncing it. Down with imperial dictatorship! 
And long live the people and democracy and equality on this planet!

[Audience applause]

And what we see here is a reflection of this: Exclusion.

There is a group of countries that consider 
themselves superior to us in the South, to us in 
the Third World, to us, the underdeveloped 
countries, or as a great friend Eduardo Galeano 
says, we, the crushed countries, as if a train ran over us in history.

In light of this, it’s no surprise that there is 
no democracy in the world and here we are again 
faced with powerful evidence of global imperial 
dictatorship. Then two youths got up here, 
fortunately the enforcement officials were 
decent, some push around, and they collaborated 
right? There are many people outside, you know? 
Of course, they do not fit in this room, they are 
too many people. I've read in the news that there 
were some arrests, some intense protests, there 
in the streets of Copenhagen, and I salute all 
those people out there, most of them youth.

[Audience applause]

Of course young people are concerned, I think 
rightly much more than we are, for the future of 
the world. We have - most of us here - the sun on 
our backs, and they have to face the sun and are very worried.

One could say, Mr. President, that a spectre is 
haunting Copenhagen, to paraphrase Karl Marx, the 
great Karl Marx, a spectre is haunting the 
streets of Copenhagen, and I think that spectre 
walks silently through this room, walking around 
among us, through the halls, out below, it rises, 
this spectre is a terrible spectre almost nobody 
wants to mention it: Capitalism is the spectre, 
almost nobody wants to mention it.

[Audience applause]

It’s capitalism, the people roar, out there, hear them.

I have been reading some of the slogans painted 
on the streets, and I think those slogans of 
these youngsters, some of which I heard when I 
was young, and of the young woman there, two of 
which I noted. You can hear among others, two 
powerful slogans. One: Don’t change the climate, change the system.

[Audience applause]

And I take it onboard for us. Let’s not change 
the climate, let’s change the system! And 
consequently we will begin to save the planet. 
Capitalism is a destructive development model 
that is putting an end to life; it threatens to 
put a definitive end to the human species.

And another slogan calls for reflection. It is 
very in tune with the banking crisis that swept 
the world and still affects it, and of how the 
rich northern countries gave aid to bankers and 
the big banks. The U.S. alone gave, well, I lost 
the figure, but it is astronomical, to save the 
banks. They say in the streets the following: If 
the climate were a bank it would have been saved already.

[Audience applause]

And I think that's true. If the climate were one 
of the biggest capitalist banks, the rich governments would have saved it.

I think Obama has not arrived. He received the 
Nobel Peace Prize almost the same day that he 
sent 30 thousand soldiers to kill more innocents 
in Afghanistan, and now he comes to stand here 
with the Nobel Peace Prize, the president of the United States.

But the United States has the machinery to make 
money, to make dollars, and has saved, well, they 
believe they have saved the banks and the capitalist system.
Well, this is a side comment that I wanted to 
make previously. We were raising our hand to 
accompany Brazil, India, Bolivia, China, in their 
interesting position that Venezuela and the 
countries of the Bolivarian Alliance firmly 
share. But hey, they didn’t let us speak, so do 
not count these minutes please, Mr. President.

[Audience applause]

Look, over there I met, I had the pleasure of 
meeting this French author Hervé Kempf. 
Recommending this book, I recommend it, it is 
available in Spanish – there is Hervé - its also 
in French, and surely in English, How the Rich 
are Destroying the Planet. Hervé Kempf: How the 
Rich are Destroying the Planet. This is what 
Christ said: it would be easier for a camel to 
pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich 
man to enter the kingdom of heaven. This is what our lord Christ said.

[Audience applause]

The rich are destroying the planet. Do they think 
the can go to another when they destroy this one? 
Do they have plans to go to another planet? So 
far there is none on the horizon of the galaxy.

This book has just reached me, Ignacio Ramonet 
gave it to me, and he is also around somewhere in 
this room. Finishing the prologue or the preamble 
this phrase is very important, Kempf says the following, I’ll read it:

“We can not reduce global material consumption if 
we don’t make the powerful go down several 
levels, and if we don’t combat inequality. It is 
necessary that to the ecological principle that 
is so useful at the time of becoming conscious, 
‘think globally and act locally,’ we add the 
principle that the situation imposes: ‘Consume less and share better.’”

I think it is good advice that this French author Hervé Kempf gives us.

[Audience applause]

Well then, Mr. President, climate change is 
undoubtedly the most devastating environmental 
problem of this century. Floods, droughts, severe 
storms, hurricanes, melting ice caps, rise in 
mean sea levels, ocean acidification and heat 
waves, all of that sharpens the impact of global crisis besetting us.

Current human activity exceeds the threshold of 
sustainability, endangering life on the planet, 
but also in this we are profoundly unequal.

I want to recall: the 500 million richest people, 
500 million, this is seven percent, seven 
percent, seven percent of the world’s population. 
This seven percent is responsible, these 500 
million richest people are responsible for 50 
percent of emissions, while the poorest 50 
percent accounts for only seven percent of emissions.

So it strikes me as a bit strange to put the 
United States and China at the same level. The 
United States has just, well; it will soon reach 
300 million people. China has nearly five times 
the U.S. population. The United Status consumes 
more than 20 million barrels of oil a day, China 
only reaches 5-6 million barrels a day, you can’t 
ask the same of the United States and China.

There are issues to discuss, hopefully we the 
heads of states and governments can sit down and 
discuss the truth, the truth about these issues.

So, Mr. President, 60 percent of the planet’s 
ecosystems are damaged, 20 percent of the earth's 
crust is degraded, we have been impassive 
witnesses to deforestation, land conversion, 
desertification, deterioration of fresh water 
systems, overexploitation of marine resources, 
pollution and loss of biodiversity.

The overuse of the land exceeds by 30 percent the 
capacity to regenerate it. The planet is losing 
what the technicians call the ability to regulate 
itself; the planet is losing this. Every day more 
waste than can be processed is released. The 
survival of our species hammers in the 
consciousness of humanity. Despite the urgency, 
it has taken two years of negotiations for a 
second commitment period under the Kyoto 
Protocol, and we attend this event without any real and meaningful agreement.

And indeed, on the text that comes from out of 
the blue, as some have called it, Venezuela says, 
and the ALBA countries, the Bolivarian Alliance 
say that we will not accept, since then we’ve 
said it, any other texts that do not come from 
working groups under the Kyoto Protocol and the 
Convention. They are the legitimate texts that we 
have been discussing so intensely over the years.

[Audience applause]

And in these last few hours, I believe you have 
not slept, plus you have not eaten, you have not 
slept. It does not seem logical to me to come out 
now with a document from scratch, as you say.

The scientifically substantiated objective of 
reducing the emission of polluting gases and 
achieving an agreement on long-term cooperation 
clearly, today at this time, has apparently failed, for now.

What is the reason? We have no doubt.

The reason is the irresponsible attitude and lack 
of political will from the most powerful nations 
on the planet. No one should feel offended, I 
recall the great José Gervasio Artigas when he 
said: “With the truth, I neither offend nor 
fear.” But it is actually an irresponsible 
attitude of positions, of reversals, of 
exclusions, of elitist management of a problem 
that belongs to everyone and that we can only solve together.

The political conservatism and selfishness of the 
largest consumers, of the richest countries shows 
high insensitivity and lack of solidarity with 
the poor, the hungry, and the most vulnerable to 
disease, to natural disasters. Mr. President, a 
new and single agreement is essential, applicable 
to absolutely unequal parties, according to the 
magnitude of their contributions and economic, 
financial and technological capabilities and 
based on unconditional respect for the principles contained in the Convention.

Developed countries should set binding, clear and 
concrete commitments for the substantial 
reduction of their emissions and assume 
obligations of financial and technological 
assistance to poor countries to cope with the 
destructive dangers of climate change. In this 
respect, the uniqueness of island states and 
least developed countries should be fully recognized.

Mr. President, climate change is not the only 
problem facing humanity today. Other scourges and 
injustices beset us, the gap between rich and 
poor countries has continued to grow, despite all 
the millennium goals, the Monterrey financing 
summit, at all these summits as the President of 
Senegal said here, revealing a great truth, there 
are promises and unfulfilled promises and the 
world continues its destructive march.

The total income of the 500 richest individuals 
in the world is greater than the income of the 
416 million poorest people. The 2.8 billion 
people living in poverty on less than $2 per day, 
representing 40 per percent of the global 
population, receive only 5 percent of world income.

Today each year about 9.2 million children die 
before reaching their fifth year and 99.9 percent 
of these deaths occur in poorer countries.

Infant mortality is 47 deaths per thousand live 
births, but is only 5 per thousand in rich 
countries. Life expectancy on the planet is 67 
years, in rich countries it is 79, while in some poor nations is only 40 years.

Additionally, there are 1.1 billion people 
without access to drinking water, 2.6 billion 
without sanitation services, over 800 million 
illiterate and 1.02 billion hungry people, that’s the global scenario.

Now the cause, what is the cause?

Let’s talk about the cause, let’s not evade 
responsibilities, and let’s not evade the depth 
of this problem. The cause, undoubtedly, I return 
to the theme of this whole disastrous panorama, 
is the destructive metabolic system of capital 
and its embodied model: Capitalism.

Here’s a quote that I want to read briefly, from 
that great liberation theologian Leonardo Boff, 
as we know a Brazilian, our American. Leonardo 
Boff says on this subject as follows:

“What is the cause? Ah, the cause is the dream of 
seeking happiness through material accumulation 
and of endless progress, using for this science 
and technology with which they can exploit 
without limits all the resources of the earth.”

And he cites here Charles Darwin and his “natural 
selection”, the survival of the fittest, but we 
know that the strongest survive over the ashes of the weakest.

Jean Jacques Rousseau, we must always remember, 
said that between the strong and the weak, 
freedom is oppressed. That’s why the Empire 
speaks of freedom; it’s the freedom to oppress, 
to invade, to kill, to annihilate, and to 
exploit. That is their freedom, and Rousseau adds 
this saving phrase: “Only the law liberates.”

There are countries that are hoping that no 
document comes out of here precisely because they 
do not want a law, do not want a standard, 
because the absence of these norms allows them to 
play at their exploitative freedom, their crushing freedom.

We must make an effort and pressure here and in 
the streets, so that a commitment comes out of 
here, a document that commits the most powerful countries on earth.

[Audience applause]

Well, Mr. President, Leonardo Boff asks... Have 
you met Boff? I do not know whether Leonardo 
might come, I met him recently in Paraguay, we’ve always read him.

Can a finite earth support an infinite project? 
The thesis of capitalism, infinite development, 
is a destructive pattern, let’s face it.

Then Boff asks us, what might we expect from 
Copenhagen? At least this simple confession: We 
can not continue like this. And a simple 
proposition: Let’s change course. Let's do it, 
but without cynicism, without lies, without 
double agendas, no documents out of the blue, with the truth out in the open.

How long, we ask from Venezuela, Mr. President, 
ladies and gentlemen, how long are we going to 
allow such injustices and inequalities? How long 
are we going to tolerate the current 
international economic order and prevailing 
market mechanisms? How long are we going to allow 
huge epidemics like HIV/AIDS to ravage entire 
populations? How long are we going to allow the 
hungry to not eat or to be able to feed their own 
children? How long are we going to allow millions 
of children to die from curable diseases? How 
long will we allow armed conflicts to massacre 
millions of innocent human beings in order for 
the powerful to seize the resources of other peoples?

Cease the aggressions and the wars! We the 
peoples of the world ask of the empires, to those 
who try to continue dominating the world and exploiting us.
No more imperial military bases or military 
coups! Let’s build a more just and equitable 
economic and social order, let’s eradicate 
poverty, let’s immediately stop the high emission 
levels, let’s stop environmental degradation and 
avoid the great catastrophe of climate change, 
let’s integrate ourselves into the noble goal of 
everyone being more free and united.

Mr. President, almost two centuries ago, a 
universal Venezuelan, a liberator of nations and 
precursor of consciences left to posterity a 
full-willed maxim: “If nature opposes us, let’s 
fight against it and make it obey us.” That was Simón Bolívar, the Liberator.

 From Bolivarian Venezuela, where a day like 
today some ten years ago, ten years exactly, we 
experienced the biggest climate tragedy in our 
history (the Vargas tragedy it is called), from 
this Venezuela whose revolution tries to win 
justice for all people, we say it is only 
possible through the path of socialism!

Socialism, the other spectre Karl Marx spoke 
about, which walks here too, rather it is like a 
counter-spectre. Socialism, this is the 
direction, this is the path to save the planet, I 
don’t have the least doubt. Capitalism is the 
road to hell, to the destruction of the world. We 
say this from Venezuela, which because of 
socialism faces threats from the U.S. Empire.

 From the countries that comprise ALBA, the 
Bolivarian Alliance, we call, and I want to, with 
respect, but from my soul, call in the name of 
many on this planet, we say to governments and 
peoples of the Earth, to paraphrase Simón 
Bolívar, the Liberator: If the destructive nature 
of capitalism opposes us, let’s fight against it 
and make it obey us, let’s not wait idly by for the death of humanity.

History calls on us to unite and to fight.

If capitalism resists, we are obliged to take up 
a battle against capitalism and open the way for 
the salvation of the human species. It’s up to 
us, raising the banners of Christ, Mohammed, 
equality, love, justice, humanity, the true and 
most profound humanism. If we don’t do it, the 
most wonderful creation of the universe, the 
human being, will disappear, it will disappear.

This planet is billions of years old, and this 
planet existed for billions of years without us, 
the human species, i.e. it doesn’t need us to 
exist. Now, without the Earth we will not exist, 
and we are destroying Pachamama as Evo says, as 
our indigenous brothers from South America say.

Finally, Mr. President, and to finish, let’s 
listen to Fidel Castro when he said: “One species 
is in danger of extinction: Humanity.”

Let’s listen to Rosa Luxemburg when she said: “Socialism or Barbarism.”

Let us listen to Christ the Redeemer when he 
said: “Blessed are the poor for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”

Mr. President, ladies and gentlemen, we are 
capable of not making this Earth the tomb of 
humanity. Let us make this earth a heaven, a 
heaven of life, of peace, peace and brotherhood 
for all humanity, for the human species.

Mr. President, ladies and gentlemen, thank you very much and enjoy your meal.

[Audience applause]

Translated by Kiraz Janicke for Venezuelanalysis.com

Source URL (retrieved on Dec 21 2009 - 08:13): 

License: Published under a Creative Commons 
license (by-nc-nd). See creativecommons.org for more information.

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