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SD ANALYSIS- Bolivarian Venezuela in Today's Geopolitics
Foreign Minister of Venezuela Jorge Arreaza spoke at the conference "Bolivarian Venezuela in Today's Geopolitics" held at the Institute of Strategic Thinking. We share the whole conversation with you ...
Jorge Arreaza- Venezuela Foreign Minister
02 Nisan 2019 18:20

Turkey’s weight is known in the new geopolitical world map and it has already taken its place in the new world order that is going to be determined in the new era. When you look at America’s history, you can see that today’s relations between the Latin American countries and the US are based on the US’s ambition to make these lands as its own.

There is a presentation President James Monroe made in 1823, afterwards it has become to known as the Monroe Doctrine. According to the Monroe Doctrine, the US desires to possess the whole American continent from Alaska to Argentina, Chile, and Patagonia. It was said in 1823. When we come to 1824, there is the great Ayacucho War in Latin America. When James Monroe declared his doctrine, people of Latin America was declaring their countries’ independence and we see this in the whole history of our Latin America every day, every hour, and every minute. Now, in our country, in Venezuela the cause we’re fighting for is the same cause that Cuba has been fighting for 60 years.

In 1776, when the US gained its independence, what do you expect? You expect it to support the countries in the south who was fighting for their independence because they did the same and gained independence from the British Empire. In the same way, you expect them to support Cuba to get rid of the Spanish Empire’s presence. But it wasn’t like that. Until the southern countries gained their independence from the Spanish Empire, the USA stated that it would keep its neutral stance. When Venezuela’s president Simon Bolivar, and Colombia’s president sent their special envoys for the US’s support at that time, they received a negative response from the US. In that point, what the US meant by ‘neutral stance’ was the continuation of the existence of the Spanish Empire and supporting them in controlling the colonies in the region. We all know about Florida, it’s the USA’s one of the most important states. At that time, freedom fighters in the south go to Florida, seize it, take it and declare its independence and in the end the US refuses it.

You may wonder, why do I talk that much about the 19th century. It’s because when we look at today’s problems, we see that their root causes lie in the 19th century and even in the late 18th century. Back then, the USA has been independent for almost 10 years, the British Empire just recognised its independence and President Thomas Jefferson makes this speech, “Our state has to be the starting point for both the south and north America. Therefore, we need to be more cautious about forcing the Spanish living here to leave the country. Now, they are where they are supposed to be in the colonies in the couth. Yet, when the USA becomes strong enough to seize all those colonies land by land, then we can talk about the removing of the Spanish existence from the continent”. It means that from the very beginning of their independence, they have had plans to annex all the countries in the south to itself and they haven’t given up this plan even for a second, including today.

One of the advisors of President Obama said that Monroe Doctrine’s sanctions no longer function at that time. Yet, at the time he said that Obama administration was financing a coup in Honduras. The US was trying to overthrow all independent and progressive governments in South America. The US was also involved in the coup that was organised to overthrow Brazil’s constitutional President Dilma Roussef. They declared Venezuela as an extraordinary threat to the USA’s national security with a presidential enactment and supported all pro-American parties in Venezuela financially.

When President Trump and his hawks took office, there was no place left to hide for the USA because they have admitted that the Monroe Doctrine is still valid. Today, when Latin America countries such as Venezuela, Bolivia and Nicaragua want to have relations with countries such as China, Russia, Turkey and India, the US directly vetoes because in the US there is an understanding that Latin America is theirs and they don’t want others to dominate ‘their’ land. In the middle of the continent, there is Venezuela. For better or worse, Venezuela is still the centre of all the natural resources in Latin America. The biggest proven oil reserve on the planet is in Venezuela. Similarly, the world’s biggest natural gas, gold, diamond, iron, bauxite, coltan, and other gems; water, arable land, being strategically important in terms of geography… For all these reasons, we’re the USA’s direct target in American continent. For 20 years, Venezuela’s natural resources belong to the Venezuelans, not to the North American elites as it was before. Therefore, when both Hugo Chavez’s and Nicolas Maduro’s governments established on the Bolivarian revolution principles came to power, the US tried to legitimise all ways to overthrow them.

In 2001, oligarchy’s voice started to rise in Venezuela. In 2002, there was a coup attempt, in 2003, there was sabotage against the oil industry. National bourgeoise, who was not a part of the government, were sending the income coming from the country’s national resources to the North American elites. This has been the main reason for this fight that the world has been witnessing for 20 years. On the one side there is the national bourgeoise trying to send its own country’s income to the US, on the other there are Venezuelan people trying to preserve their independence and natural resources with their own government.

Of you ask a young person in 1990s about the place of the Venezuelan oil, he/she couldn’t reply because he/she didn’t know its place. As I said, in 2002 a coup attempt took place, in 2003 oil companies were sabotaged and after 2003, for the first time in its history, Venezuela’s oil money has started to be used for the people’s welfare. We need to thank Fidel Castro and Cuba revolution; thanks to them, many doctors came to serve our people. In the same way, literacy rate has been rose thanks to Cuban teachers. No matter how old they were, people received primary school diplomas after their education completed and these people gained right to continue their higher education, some of them even received their master’s degree. Today we have surgeons and doctors thanks to the Bolivarian revolution. Now we have medical centres almost in all our villages and neighbourhoods. We have a network that distributes low-priced food subsidised by the state, we have a diet program at schools for children. Most importantly, Venezuelan culture and identity have been saved. One of the outcomes of oil-based industry for us was leaving agriculture. But today there are studies about including agriculture to the country’s economy. Another issue was housing. Between 2012 and 2018, 3 million houses were allocated to people without any charge. If we assume a Venezuelan family as being consist of 5 members, it means that 15 million people now have their own houses in a country with 30 million population. Before Commander Hugo Chavez took office, social insurance, education and health issues were about to be privatised and we expropriated them thanks to the Bolivarian revolution. Utilities such as electricity, gas and water are now almost free. Can you imagine, the Venezuelan people who have been living invisibly for 180 years now has become the main actor of the process thanks to the Bolivarian revolution. They came together at communal parliaments. Because of all these reasons, of course the US would count the Bolivarian revolution as a threat. But this is not because the revolution has nuclear weapons or because it threatens people, but because it offers an alternative and well-functioning system to the system the US wants to implement. Besides, it refutes all assumptions of the conventional liberal system.

For instance, we elect even a minimal public officer from presidents to mayors, we often poll about matters that would affect the country. The conventional liberal system has three powers: legislation, execution, and jurisdiction but we have added two powers: election power and nation’s power. Before the Bolivarian Armed Forces, Venezuela’s Armed Forces used to serve in the US’s own countries as its invaders. However, with the Bolivarian revolution, they are now in their exact form: liberating and saver.

Leaders such as Chavez comes to our America once in 200 years. Thanks to Chavez and other leaders who put their heart for this case, Union of South American Nations (USAN), the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America – Peoples' Trade Treaty (ALBA), Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) have been established. CELAC, for example, is an international organisation that involves all the countries from the American continent except the US and Canada. In the financial crisis of 2008-2009, the Caribbean countries suffered a lot.

Hugo Chavez helped them financially and the Venezuelan oil has not just developed Venezuela, but also helped these countries to develop and after a short time, Chavez got sick and lost his life. We all know that he didn’t just die because there will always be doubts about his sickness’ main reason. You may see that as a scepticism coming from being a leftist revolutionist, but it really isn’t. None of Chavez’s family members got cancer but all of a sudden he got a very brutal cancer and after that he didn’t respond to chemotherapy. And he meets with the public just before he loses his life. He says, " If I die, it should be President Nicholas Maduro who will be elected after me."You know that Maduro is one of his most important comrades. Maduro doesn't have very large university diplomas. A soldier who has been in the service of Commander Chavez and the Bolivarian revolution all his life. He was a bus driver, Maduro. He was a trade unionist and a known leader within popular movements. The imperial states, especially Washington, said, " Commander Chavez is dead, so is the Bolivarian Revolution.” It didn't happen that way. They had reaped approximately 100 days of Maduro's presence in the government. Then they won't be looking, the experts said to give him a year. President Maduro is currently in charge of the state for 6 years.

And they did what they had to do to bring down a government with Washington's hand. They imposed a harsher economic embargo on Cuba, our sister republic. They tried to kill themselves with drones, as they did last August 4. The United States wanted people in Bolivar to take to the streets and make violent demonstrations and to overthrow the government as a result. He also called on Maduro to betray him, removing a duality within the Armed Forces. In 2017, the opposition took to the streets for four months and there were many violent incidents. On the face of it, Maduro said, Let's go to elections. As soon as the election was called, the United States declared it would not recognize the elections to be held. We went to elections in those violent days. The Constituent National Assembly was elected and the violence ended. Then came local elections. In the same process, we initiated a dialogue process with the opposition hosted by the president of the Dominican Republic and the former prime minister of Spain. The decision to hold the presidential election came off that table. It was understood that the election system, which is unique in the world, should be brought to better conditions. An immediate order came from the US, he told the opposition; you'll never get off that table by signing something, and that's how he started the coup plan that was already under way. This year, as stipulated by our Constitution, the second week of January, our president took office and took the oath of office. The United States, he said, does not recognize it urgently. It can't be President Maduro, they said. Instead, they recognized a gentleman no one knew as president. The opposition was on the streets again, as you're used to. On one such day again, this gentleman raised his hand, swore an oath to himself, and declared himself president. The first reaction of those who saw him there was that he should have been locked up in a madhouse. Politically, it was buffoonery. Where was the problem? Immediately after declaring himself president, the United States recognized the gentleman as its official President. After this recognition, Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and many other countries you can think of also began to recognize. About a week later, 24 EU member states recognised him. Then they started turning to the Armed Forces, whatever people in the United States had authority and say. Support Guaido, which will soon be a major uprising, they said, and they began offering money to soldiers in Venezuela. Soldiers serving in Venezuela's military attachés around the world were personally visited by the CIA and offered money to support Guaido. Likewise, ambassadors and consul-general who served on earth were subjected to offers of money by the CIA, to betray Maduro. There hasn't been a coup, and there can't be. There are 215,000 officers and higher-ranking soldiers in Venezuela. There are 2 million militants. Of all these numbers, only 180 soldiers sold themselves. The coup attempt failed.

I don't know if this is luck or curse, but recently, Trump's specially appointed envoy on Venezuelan issues came and told me exactly this: yes, the coup attempt failed. Now we're going to break the back of the economy. That's what they're doing now. More and more sanctions are being imposed on Venezuelan money, institutions and government officials. They speak of a humanitarian crisis that has existed in Venezuela for nearly three years. There is no such thing, but they want to create this humanitarian crisis with this economic embargo they are doing. They want to see the people of Venezuela in despair. And that's how they found the excuse they were looking for. When U.S. officials are asked if they recognize the U. N. specification and agree on armed intervention in any way, they reply, “Of course not, all options are on the table in the case of Venezuela.” They have seized our company, which has many refineries in the United States, with an annual turnover of approximately $ 30 billion. Recently, the U.S. embargo on Venezuela lost between 20 and 30 billion dollars. They also found it appropriate to attack the Venezuelan currency by any means possible. And they created hyper-inflation in Venezuela. No bank in the world wants to work with Venezuela because they fear the US will impose sanctions. This is the situation we are experiencing right now, and the people of Venezuela continue to resist. There's been an attack on our electrical system. We had some shortcomings, of course. They took advantage of these shortcomings and carried out many cyber attacks. Now, the table they're talking about. Not every issue is presented to be discussed at the table, that's a lie.  He does not need to have a political solution, dialogue on the table. But I don't. He must have respect for UN specification and international law on the table. There must be respect for Venezuela's Constitution and free will on that table. We are a country that is at the center of the domestic policy of the United States, not the world at the moment. I invite our young friends to examine the results of the U.S. presidential elections in 2000. It wasn't until 10 days after the election that we determined who would be president until the election results in Florida were determined. When you look at Florida, you see that Cuban and other citizens of Latin American origin make up most of the population. For that reason, it's extremely important. When you look at Florida, Trump was losing last year's gubernatorial election by a very small margin. Of course, the most political move that needs to be implemented in order for citizens of Latin American origin in Florida to get the vote is to attack their homeland. I insist on this point. This war in the 21st century is the same as what we experienced in the 19th century.  We do not know what will happen, but we as Venezuela will be in favor of solutions that will contribute to the peaceful system of World rights. We're going to do our best. We will always seek solutions in dialogue with the United States. No misunderstandings here. It's not surrender, it's certainly just to ensure that Venezuelan sovereignty is respected. We will reiterate our call to both the gentleman of Guaido and the leaders of the Venezuelan traditional opposition to sit down at the table to find what is best for Venezuela. To date, they have always refused because they have not received approval from the United States. I hope they renounce that commitment and can make the right decision for Venezuela with the Venezuelans.

 

When we look at our geography, the worst possible scenario for both Latin America and the Caribbean is a war scenario. It would be a disaster not just for our country but for the whole region. Geography turns into a bloodbath. Many Latin Americans will join this war. maybe two years, maybe three, but we'll always be there to get what we deserve. But it is not our duty to fight; it is peace and democracy. As a result of all this, I would like to thank Mr. Erdogan, the Turkish government and the Turkish people for their friendship. Yesterday we talked about this with my dear colleague Çavuşoğlu. Whatever happens, the cooperation that started in this difficult period must rise to the highest level in this higher period. We will always raise Turkey - Venezuela cooperation to the highest level within international law. No one will have the power to disrupt the cooperation between two free states. I'd like to finish my sentence with the words of our Savior, Simone Bolivar. "The fact that Venezuela defied Spain today will be the same thing as if it were to face the world one day tomorrow.” The Bolivarian revolution will come out stronger than this process and we believe that it will be resolved through peace as we wish.