Reflections of Fidel
Hugo Chávez' speech
(Taken from CubaDebate)
AN unprecedented meeting had taken place in the United States Capitol building between a group of legislators from the fascist right of that country and leaders of the Latin American right and pro-coup oligarchy. In that meeting there was talk of the defeat of the governments of Venezuela, Bolivia, Ecuador and Nicaragua.
The event took place a few days prior to the meeting of the hemisphere's defense ministers in Santa Cruz, Bolivia, where President Evo Morales made his energetic condemnation on November 22.
But that meeting was not about a slanderous media campaign – a regular feature in imperialist politics – but conspiratorial activity that, without any doubt, would lead to inevitable bloodshed in Venezuela.
Given my experience over many years, I do not harbor the slightest doubt as to what would happen in Venezuela if Chávez were to be assassinated. It would not have to be part of a prior plot against the president; a mentally deranged person, a drug addict, or the violence unleashed by drug trafficking in the countries of Latin America would suffice to generate an extremely grave problem in Venezuela. Analyzing such an act from the political point of view, the activities and habits of the reactionary oligarchy that owns powerful media corporations and is encouraged and financed by the United States, it would inevitably lead to bloody clashes in the streets of Venezuela, which are the clear intentions of the Venezuelan opposition, infused with hatred and acts of violence in full view.
Guillermo Zuloaga – the owner of a television channel opposed to the Bolivarian Revolution and a fugitive from Venezuelan justice – is one of the conspirators who took part in the meeting of Congress members called by Connie Mack and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen – the latter of Cuban origin and a Batista affiliate – known to our people as the loba feroz (the big bad wolf) due to her repugnant conduct during the kidnapping of [Cuban] Elián González and her refusal to hand the child over to his father. The Republican Congresswoman is a symbol of hatred of and resentment against Cuba, Venezuela, Bolivia and the other member countries of ALBA; it is virtually certain that the U.S. Congress will appoint her chair of the House Foreign Relations Committee; she was a defender of the Honduran coup government, repudiated by the majority of the countries of America.
The Bolivarian government of Venezuela was faced with a grave and provocative challenge. It was a really delicate issue. I asked myself what Chávez' reaction would be. The first energetic response came from Evo Morales in his brilliant and sincere speech made available to our people today. Two days ago, Tuesday the 13th, it was announced that Chávez would address the issue in the National Assembly.
The meeting was called for 5:00pm and it began almost exactly on time. The speeches made there were energetic and to the point. All of the activities lasted barely two hours and a few minutes. The Venezuelans had taken the problem very seriously.
Chávez began by mentioning the names of the many people present and, after joking with the new Kata world champion and about the game between two professional baseball teams, began to develop his subject:
"…I am really, really, really going to be brief. It has been said, tell me, that document read by Deputy Roy, thank you Roy, Roy Daza, for that reading, that document, not only in defense of Venezuela, as has already been said here –Eva [Golinger] said it. No, we are coming out in defense of the human homeland; one could even say, in defense of human possibility.
"I brought some books [...] This was the same copy, it's already a bit worn, that I lifted up there in the United Nations: Chomsky: Hegemony or Survival: the Imperialist Strategy of the United States – I am still recommending this book, Noam Chomsky. Eva mentioned it and reminded us of this great man of political thought, of creative thought, of philosophy, of the struggle for humanity.
"I have here the continuation of it, Failed States: the Abuse of Power and the Assault on Democracy. Here, right here, Chomsky poses the thesis that the first failed state in this world is the U.S. state, a failed state, a real threat to the entire planet, to the entire world, to the human species."
"Here, there is one part of the interview, of the conversations, where Chomsky is reflecting on Latin America and on Venezuela, in a very valiant, very objective and generous manner, defending our revolutionary process, defending our people, defending the right that we have and are exercising to make our own way, as all the peoples of the world have, and the yankee empire has not recognized that right and is attempting to disregard it.
"In the very same Federal Capitol – I believe that's what it's called – in the very same Washington, a summit of terrorists met, installed itself; a summit, a mob – as the Argentines would say, and we Venezuelans also talk of mobs – a real mob of criminals, swindlers, terrorists, thieves, scroungers, met there and, moreover, they were backed by 'prestigious' establishment figures, from the establishment, not only the Republican extreme right currents, but also from the Democratic Party and – as has been said here, Eva said it, Roy said it in the marvelous document he read, a state document, a national document – they openly launched a threat against Venezuela, against the countries and the peoples of the Bolivarian Alliance.
"Our greetings from here to Evo Morales, a valiant compañero, comrade, and to the people of Bolivia.
"Our greetings from here to Rafael Correa, a valiant compañero, comrade, and to the Ecuadorian people.
"Our greetings from here to Daniel Ortega, that comandante president, valiant compañero, comrade, and to the people of Nicaragua.
"Our greetings from here to Fidel Castro, to Raúl Castro and to that valiant Cuban people.
"Our greetings from here to all the peoples of the Caribbean, to Roosevelt Skerrit and to the people of Dominica, valiant leaders; Saint Vincent & the Grenadines; Ralph Goncalves, Spencer, to the peoples of the ALBA, of the Bolivarian Alliance, to their governments, to our governments and, of course, from here, to the indomitable people of Venezuela, our commitment and our call to unity and to continue battling for the future of the homeland, for independence, whose original constitution – as our president, Cilia said – here it is, the original constitution of 200 years ago.
"We are already entering 2011, let us prepare ourselves from all points of view: the spiritual, political, moral, to commemorate the 200 years of that first Congress, of that first constitution, the first in Latin America, of that birth of the First Republic, the birth of the Venezuelan homeland; much more than just July 5, it is going to be all of 2011 and the beginning of the revolutionary war of independence first commanded by Miranda, then Bolívar and the great men and women who gave us the homeland.
"The document read by Roy Daza begins by quoting a phrase of Bolívar's in a letter to the agent Irving, a U.S. agent who came here to reclaim those ships that Bolívar and his troops seized on the Orinoco because the United States was sending in weapons and supplies.
"It's nothing new, Eva, everything that you are exposing here about sending millions of dollars, logistical support, it's nothing new. No. Already back then the U.S. government was sending weapons and military supplies to the Spanish imperialist troops. And that is famous. That fact has been compiled, in part, by that fine Cuban writer Francisco Pividal, in another book that I constantly recommend: Bolívar, pensamiento precursor del antimperialismo. It can be read in one go. And there is a combination of extraordinary quotes here. You already pointed to one.
"But in parts of these letters from Bolívar to Irving – I think it was the last one that he sent to him – when Irving was already beginning to threaten him with the use of force, Bolívar says: I am not going to fall into provocation, not even in language. I merely wish to say to you, Mr. Irving' – it's written here, I'm going to paraphrase it, because it is the idea, it is the dignity of our father, Bolívar, that is being imposed, what is of importance in this hall full of magic, full of symbols, full of homeland, full of dreams, full of hope, full of dignity – Bolívar says to him: 'You should know, Mr. Irving, that more than half or half' – it was 1819, almost one decade of war to the death had passed – 'or almost half of Venezuelan men and Venezuelan women have died in the struggle against the Spanish empire, and the other half of us left here are anxious to follow that same road even if Venezuela should have to confront the entire world for its independence, for its dignity.'
"That was, that is Bolívar, and here we are, his sons, his daughters, María, disposed to the very same thing. The world should know that, we are disposed to the very same thing. If the yankee empire, with all its power, which we're not taking lightly, no, we have to take it seriously – as Eva well recommended to us – decides to attack, continue attacking and openly attacking Venezuela in order to try and halt this revolution, here we are prepared, understand that, mister empire and its personifications, that here we are disposed to the very same thing: for everyone to die for this homeland and its dignity!
"It should be asked, that summit of terrorists which met in Washington, some Venezuelans, Bolivians, genocidal people – as one good journalists asked in an interview yesterday – it would be good to know what passport these criminals are using, where they entered, if some of then are on INTERPOL's code red. They arrived sweet and easy and they arrived and were walking about the streets of Washington, being wined and dined. For that reason, Noam Chomsky is right. I repeat with Noam Chomsky: the U.S. state is a failed state that is acting beyond international laws, that respects absolutely nothing and, moreover, feels that it has the right to do so, that it doesn't have to respond to anybody. It is a threat not only to Venezuela and to the peoples of the world, but to its own people, a people that are under constant attack from that anti-democratic state.
"Look, here is just a summary. Wikileaks, you know it, right?
"What is this lady representative, fascist, going to say, the one who calls us, Evo, Correa and me, bandits? She's the bandit, she is a bandit and a Venezuelan court could well apply for the extradition of that bandit for committing crimes and conspiring, and many other charges, against the sovereignty of our country. She is a bandit. All that remains is to point the finger at her before the world, and the other bandits.
"What would those bandits say about this, for example?
"'What will the U.S. Parliament have to say about these reports, about these documents that were secret and which have now been published on this Wikileaks page? What does Wikileaks mean? like Chávez Candanga.
"'On March 15, 2010, Wiki Candanga made public a Department of Defense report dealing with various leaks made by this website in relation to U.S. interests and proposed a number of ways to minimize it: a video of the murder of journalists.' I have here some of the documents, they are public. It remains to be seen if some authority in the United States takes an initiative in the face of these crimes, or these alleged crimes, right? I'm no judge to determine that, alleged serious crimes committed by citizens of its country, civilian, military, by its government.
"I read: 'On April 5, 2010, Wikileaks published a video in which U.S. soldiers can be seen murdering the Reuters reporter, Namir Noor-Eldeen, his assistant and nine other people. It can clearly be seen that none of those present were showing any signs of attacking the Apache helicopter from which they were being fired on. Although the Reuters agency has asked for the video on numerous occasions, that was denied to them until Wikileaks obtained this unpublished video which put the military apparatus of the United States in checkmate.'
"Well, put in checkmate is a saying, right? At least morally.
"Once again, what would the United Nations say? What would happen if that should take place in some of the ALBA countries? What would happen? What would the OAS say, what would the United Nations Security Council, the Human Rights Council? What would the infamous International Court of Human Rights say? So that we can see the double standard by which human rights are measured here, respect for life, terrorism and all those phenomena.
"Daily logs of the war in Afghanistan, July 25, 2010, were also published. Documentation of the war in Iraq. Listen to this sentence: On October 22, 2010 – just a few days ago – Wikileaks published on its web page a compendium entitled Iraq War Logs, containing 391,831 documents leaked from the Pentagon, about the war in Iraq and its occupation from January of 2004 to December 31, 2009, which reveals, among other issues, the systematic use of torture; the figure of 109,032 dead in Iraq, 61,081 of which were civilian, 63%; 23,984 'enemy' labeled as insurgents, 15,196 'host country' Iraqi government forces. What a way to visit a country! And 3,771 'friends' dead, coalition forces. The documents reveal that, over the course of six years, on average, 31 civilians died everyday.
"Who is investigating this? Who is accountable for this? No, it's the empire, the failed U.S. state. I read this phrase: 'These documents which are organized chronologically and by categories describe lethal military actions involving the United States military. They include the number of persons internally stated to be killed, wounded, or detained during each action, together with the precise geographical location of each event, and the military units involved and major weapon systems used.' Enough details for an investigation.
"What will the U.S. Congress say about this? There's our ambassador to Washington. Are you still the ambassador there? Yes, you are the ambassador. As far as we know, they've said nothing, right?
"It says here, 'most entries have been written by soldiers and intelligence officers listening to reports radioed in from front line deployments.
"'Civilian victims of the coalition forces. At the same time – it says here – 'large numbers of attacks and deaths have come to light caused by troops firing on unarmed drivers, based on the fear that they might be suicide bombers.
"'A detailed report of how a child was murdered and another wounded when troops fired on the car in which they were traveling. As compensation for the attack, the family was paid 100,000 afganis, for a dead child, 1,600 euros.' Capitalism pays, 20,000 afganis, 335 euros for the wounded child, 10,000 afganis, 167 euros for the vehicle. And, in the reports, all of these are called 'small tragedies,' 'small tragedies.' This is the great threat, the greatest threat facing the planet today.
"The yankee empire, no doubt, has entered a period of political and economic decline, and above all ethical decline, but who can deny its great military power, which, combined with other factors, turns this, the most powerful empire in the world's history into a much greater threat to our peoples. What can we do? It has been said as well: unity, unity and more unity.
"As of January, is the U.S. Congress going to be extremely right wing? Well, the Venezuelan Parliament, as of January 5, will have to be extremely left wing.
"And I call upon the deputies elected by the people, by the popular movements, the social movements, the revolutionary parties; you have a big commitment, as of January 5.
"It is truly unheard of, and Eva will remind us. How is it that we continue to allow this? Having this Constitution, which cost so much, how many years of struggle, how much sweat, how much blood, how much effort, here it is clearly established - it was there in the first Constitution as well – we are a sovereign nation – at the risk of them once again calling us the foolish nation or the foolish revolution – or if we want to use more popular language, la revolución pendeja? How are going to allow political parties, NGO's, counterrevolutionary individuals to go on being financed with millions and millions of dollars by the yankee empire? And they're walking around over there, completely free to abuse and violate our Constitution and attempt to destabilize the country. I am imploring you to create a very severe law to prevent this. That has to be the way in which we must respond to the empire's aggression, the empire's threats, radicalizing our positions, not weakening absolutely anything, adjusting positions, establishing our point of view, consolidating revolutionary unity. Not just a parliament, much more to the left, much more radically to the left, we need a much more radically left government, an armed force – General Rangel, Chief General, we are promoting him on Saturday, November 27, Air Force Day – much more radically revolutionary, with the people.
"There is no place in our civilian ranks, in our military ranks, for vacillation. No, one line, radicalize the revolution! And this crude, treacherous bourgeoisie needs to feel it. This Venezuelan bourgeoisie, with no shame, no homeland, needs to feel it, needs to know that it is not acceptable for one of their most well-known representatives to go to the very Congress of the empire to attack Venezuela and continue to operate a television station here. Imagine something like that, something like that! The Venezuelan bourgeoisie needs to know that this aggression against the people is going to cost it dearly and not be parading around up there.
"I remember – José Vicente Rangel, and Maduro, and compañero are here, thank you for joining us – when, during the Betancourt government, deputies of left parties were arrested, without trial, no charges filed, with no proof whatsoever, they were taken to prison, denied parliamentary immunity.
"Within a few weeks, a group of deputies from the extreme right will enter this hall. Well, they will only need to be reminded that there is a Constitution. Just as the Communist Party, and many others, were banned here, in his time and they disregarded the parliamentary immunity of many deputies, with no proof, others left for the mountains, like the great Fabricio Ojeda, who renounced his seat and went to the mountains to shed his blood for the revolution and for the people. I cannot imagine that this dignified Parliament would allow, with the popular forces having the majority representation, the extreme right wing to come in here and try to subvert constitutional order. I assume, I am sure, that the state will activate all necessary mechanisms in defense of the Constitution and of the law, in the face of the acts of aggression which are to be expected.
"Finally, the threat… What did they call it in the terrorist' event? 'Threat in the Andes?' Right, Nicolas? Danger in the Andes, sounds like the title of a movie. Danger in the Andes; there should be a warning of danger in the world, an alert rather, the danger is worldwide.
"Right now, there is a situation, at this very moment, there on the Korean peninsula. When I left to come here, the news was still confusing, how confusing, the sinking of that South Korean ship, the Cheonan; but later evidence emerged that the ship was sunk by the United States. Now, on that small island, on that peninsula divided by the yankee empire, invaded, ravaged for years, there is a tense situation, some bombs, some dead, some wounded.
"Fidel Castro has been warning for some months of the grave dangers of a nuclear war. Just a while back, I was there, once again, and he explained to me, developing his thoughts – we know it very well already, of course – there's nothing better than dialogue – and he said to me: 'Chávez, any stray shot there in that region, full of weapons of mass destruction, atomic weapons, could escalate into a war, which would be at first, conventional…;' but he's convinced that it would escalate straight away into a nuclear war, which could mean the end of the human species. So, it's not the danger in the Andes, Washington's lackeys, the danger is worldwide.
"Here in Venezuela, as Eva said, a light was lit, and in Latin America, another was lit and one more and others were lit. We can say today – not Venezuela, no – Latin America is the continent of hope and the yankee empire cannot shut the doors of hope.
"To us, Venezuelan men and women, it has always fallen to us, for some reason, or reasons of different kinds, to be the vanguard in these struggles, over centuries.
"I see over there Miranda's portrait, Bolivar's and over there Martín Tovar y Tovar, Carabobo, and Roy has read all of that and stated passionately: 'It runs here, in our genes, in our blood.' He was paraphrasing Mao, the great helmsman.
"That empire, that failed state which is the United States, despite its immense power, despite its threats, is going to end up a giant paper tiger and we are obliged to become real steel tigers, little steel tigers, invincible, indomitable.
"Madam President, I promised to be brief and I said it at the beginning and I repeat: I believe that everything that needed to be said here was said by Eva Golinger, brave woman and this brave gentleman deputy Roy Daza, and compiled in this document which I understand is to be circulated throughout the four corners of Venezuela and beyond, throughout Latin America.
"I thank you for your invitation to this event, I appreciate the gesture and, just as one more, I join this gigantic battalion, to put it that way, in the defense of Venezuela, in defense of our Venezuela homeland.
"Looking at the picture, the monumental work by Tovar y Tovar is more than a picture; one sees the infantry there, the cavalry there. Let us be inspired: Infantry, ready the bayonets, at the double! Calvary, charge! in defense of the Bolivarian homeland, of the Bolivarian Alliance of our Peoples!
"Down with the yankee empire!" he exclaimed finally, with vivas for ALBA, the homeland and the Revolution.
There is not the slightest doubt that Chávez, a military professional but much more inclined to persuasion than force, will not vacillate in preventing the pro-imperialist and anti-patriotic right from provoking deceived Venezuelans against the public forces in order to make blood flow in the streets of Venezuela.
In Bolivia and in Venezuela, the imperialist mafia has received a clear and energetic response, one that possibly, it was not expecting.
Fidel Castro Ruz
November 25, 2010
6:34 p.m. Translated by Granma International