UN2K:Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela President
Address of His Excellency Hugo Chavez Frias
President of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela
at the United Nations Millennium Summit
New York, September 7, 2000
Venezuela and its Bolivarian people salute this summit and, through it, all the countries and peoples of the world.
Two millennia ago Jesus Christ came to fight for justice, for peace, for dignity and for life. Five hundred years ago the encounter and the conflict between civilizations was accelerated through a monstrous process of conquests, colonizations and domination. This process brought about with it a powerful force of injustice, wars and death. Fifty-five years ago the United Nations was created, when the second half of the last century of the last millennium was starting.
So many years have passed! So many centuries have passed! And even millennia!
Since Jesus' Last Supper, in the year 33, up to this Millennium Summit of 2000, human beings have been pulled along by the same drama, by the same interminable search for roads toward justice, toward peace, dignity and life. How many summits have we had in these 1967 years?
Without a doubt, in the most recent decades, these summits have been repeated intensely. We jump from summit to summit, but sadly, the majority of our peoples keep moaning from abyss to abyss.
Simon Bolivar, the Liberator of South America and the inspiration of the revolution that is taking place now in Venezuela, dreamed one day, in his vision for justice, dreamed about scaling the Chimborazo Summit, and there, over the perpetual snows of the spine of the Andes, he received a mandate from the lord of times, that wise long-bearded old man: "Go and tell the truth to man".
Today, I have come here as the banner bearer of this Bolivarian dream, to proclaim together with you:
Let's tell the truth to man!
And I would say more: to tell the truth to man, it is necessary to discover the truth of man.
"The truth", said the Hindu philosopher Jiddu Krishnamurti, "is not a still point, it is not static, but it moves constantly through many ways."
That is the sense of what we want to keep in mind when we talk about "the truth".
We take two fundamental characterizations already accepted to define truth. The first one says truth "is something that you live at the moment "; and the second one says truth 11 expresses our link with the whole".
I believe, then, that this impressive Millennium Summit constitutes an extraordinary occasion to put behind us truths that were valid only for moments in the past. The United
Nations was created within the context of the Cold War, to end the horror of war and conflict that had brought death to an average of 25 thousand persons per day.
Under the looming threat, a truth was imposed, a truth that linked us all to the whole: it was the need to guarantee "security" in the world, and so to avoid continuing with that infernal human butchery.
But today, more than half a century later, the truth has been moving and the moment we live is another moment. We can not keep clinging stubbornly to a past already torn down by the years.
At this moment on our planet, human beings continue to die daily, but now the numbers have doubled, though not as a consequence of a world war. No! Now the principal cause of this horrendous truth is misery, marginality, hunger.
So what has to be done at this very dramatic instant is this: In the first place, we all must recognize this truth, and as a consequence, without delays of any kind, let us in the United Nations construct a new world compact.
And this is precisely where the Millennium Summit appears as a creative hope and as a colossal challenge.
The United Nations, now in the 21st century, and going into the third millennium, must concentrate its greatest possible efforts in the moral, intellectual, scientific, social, cultural, economic and financial orders, to fight against the demon of hunger, misery and death that lacerate our planet.
Our Secretary General and the team that prepared this summit aimed well in the initial vision of the truth that is uniting us in this present historical moment.
In fact, ambitious and fair goals have been proposed to guide our efforts in the following years. I am going to talk only about some of them, that already constitute immense challenges:
1. Within 15 years we must cut in half the proportion of the world population now this proportion is 22 percent whose income is lower than a dollar per day.
This means that, in order to reach this goal in the fifteen years I mentioned, we should increase that income to levels of fairness and dignity for 140 thousand persons each day of each month and of each year from the present until December 31, 2015.
2. We must achieve, by the same date, the goal of making it possible for all the children of the world to complete elementary education, and that all children have equal access to all levels of education.
Concerning these precise goals, the big question, the big uncertainty, the big truth that still we do not see at all is this: How are we going to make it? What are the mechanisms? What are the plans, the strategies, the policies?
The truth could emerge from this summit, from its plenaries, from its working groups, from the whirlwinds of ideas.
To have that, however, we should speak without fear, without the double standards that many times invade our environment. We must display our truths frankly, adding a good dose of audacity and courage.
Venezuela proposes a structural change to the United Nations, to put it into solidarity with the clamor of the "wretched of the earth", as Frantz Fanon would say.
A new Democratic Compact, a new world consensus, so that "we the peoples" can start emerging from the abyss.
And let us scale this and all summits of the millennium to come without delay.
To a great extent, the grave crises of the 20th century came about through the abysmal differences between the leaders and the followers, between the poor and the rich, between the exploiters and the exploited, between nations that subjugate other nations through the use of force, between summits and the level of common citizens, between the formalistic and rhetorical of international organizations and the conflicts and sufferings of peoples.
What we have to clarify, then, is if the world in this new millennium will keep functioning in the same perverse way, or if there are possibilities of change.
What would be the basis of that change?
Undoubtedly, the answers that would emerge would depend fundamentally on the political will of everyone.
We must face reality. We must leave aside double-talk. We must reestablish the norms of international law that would make possible the full equality of all the peoples of the earth.
Excellencies and friends:
I could have dispensed with all the length of this speech and reduced it to three seconds. Why three seconds?
Simply because of the dramatic, horrendous reality that every time the clock marks this tiny period of time, a child dies of hunger in this world. One, two, three: A child has just died from hunger while we sit here.
It is said in the Bible, in the Book of Ecclesiastes:
"Everything that happens under the sun has its appointed time."
Let us make this the appointed time, once and forever:
Save the world!
Thank you very much.