UN reform ‘invalid’ — Chávez condemns ‘dictatorial hammer’ in NY

Flashback to Sept 15, 2005

Daily Journal

President Hugo Chávez on Thursday called the watered-down document on United Nations reform approved earlier this week “invalid, void and illegal” because only 15 countries were consulted in its preparation.

The president made the comments at the 60th U.N. General Assembly in New York, where he finally arrived on Thursday morning after threatening not to attend because the United States had not issued visas to his security and medical teams.

Chávez denounced in a speech at the Assembly that the document approved on Tuesday was delivered to the Venezuelan delegation only in the English language and that a “dictatorial blow” had pushed the vote through.

“I think that a mechanism of fraud has been put into motion,” Unión Radio reported Chávez as saying before his speech. “Every day (the U.N.) is more distanced from the people … the United Nations system has terminal cancer.”
 The president also proposed that U.N. headquarters be moved from the U.S. to an “international city” in the Southern hemisphere. The U.S. was no longer worthy of the U.N. because it “continues to violate international agreements,” Chávez said, referring to Washington invasion of Iraq.

Chávez disapproved of a proposal made by U.S. President George W. Bush to the Organization of American States (OAS) to boost free-market policies in the continent. “That is precisely the cause of the great tragedy that our people our living,” he said in the speech televised by state-run Venezolana de Television (VTV).

Chávez also continued his harsh discourse against Bush and his government’s response to Hurricane Katrina, this time on Bush’s home soil. “Mr. Bush represents the crudest and most savage imperialism that threatens the world today,” he told reporters.

He also proposed to eliminate the veto power held by the five nations of the Security Council.

Chávez read the majority of his speech, a marked change from his usual drawn-out elocutions delivered without any written prompts.

Foreign Minister Alí Rodríguez also condemned the U.N. document on Wednesday for not addressing poverty and inequality worldwide.

Other world leaders echoed the criticism of the document, which many interpret as lacking significant reforms because countries could not agree.

Chilean President Richard Lagos said the U.N. reform document did not “fully meet the established expectations,” ABN reported.

U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan even criticized the document on Wednesday for not achieving the level of reform many hoped for.

Visa issue

The Venezuelan delegation delivered a letter to Annan denouncing that visas had not been issued to Chávez’ entourage, the state-run Bolivarian News Agency (ABN) reported.

Chávez said that the visa issue had not been resolved and that his medical team and the chief of the presidential guard had stayed inside his plane, which was “200 kilometers” away from the U.N.

“It’s an abuse by the government of the United States,” he said. “But it doesn’t matter. Here we are. We came to share.”

A spokesman for the U.S. Embassy in Caracas said on Wednesday that the visas were still being considered and that none had been denied. “There is a large number to process and they were only delivered in the past week or so,” he said.

Rodríguez responded that the U.S. would have sped up the process if there had been political will to do so.

“We have to be very rigorous with respect to the security of the President, above all when death threats have originated in this country,” Rodriguez said, referring to U.S. Christian broadcaster Pat Robertson’s call last month for Washington to assassinate Chávez.

Industry and Mines Minister Victor Alvarez accused the U.S. on Thursday of deliberately stalling the visas to “hinder and impede the voice of President Chávez, which is the voice of the oppressed and the excluded of Latin America, from being heard in that forum,” VTV reported.

Chávez also said that Venezuela was prepared to buy more Argentine bonds after meeting with Argentine President Nestor Kirscher in New York Wednesday morning.

He defended the purchase of Argentine bonds as “a good way to go to break the mechanisms of the imposition of the international financial system.”

Chávez called the International Monetary Fund (IMF) a “disaster” and denounced it for supporting the Pedro Carmona Estanga’s short-lived government that lasted during Chávez’ two-day ouster in April 2002.

Carmona Estanga, at the time, headed Venezuela’s Federation of Chambers of Business and Industry (Fedecámaras) when — after a non-authorized opposition march to Miraflores Presidential Palace ended in bloodshed — Chávez was asked to step down by rebel generals.

“What monetary fund in the world gives loans like Venezuela is giving loans for the development of those Caribbean countries,” Chávez said about the Venezuelan-led PetroCaribe initiative that sells oil at preferential rates.

He added that Venezuela was using oil sales to devote a sum equal to 1 percent of Latin America and the Caribbean’s Gross Domestic Product to the region’s development.

Chávez also expected to meet with leaders from Bolivia, Mozambique, Nigeria and U.S. congressmen.