|Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York|
PRESS CONFERENCE BY PRESIDENT OF VENEZUELA
President Hugo Chávez Frías of Venezuela, reiterating today his view that a new international body was needed to replace the United Nations system, proposed that Secretary-General Kofi Annan establish a committee of world leaders to diagnose the likely problems and make recommendations to the General Assembly.
Addressing a Headquarters press conference this afternoon, he said there had been a degree of deterioration in the United Nations system, and one could no longer speak of reforming the Organization. What had been started in 1945 had collapsed, and there was no way to save or reform it. The Soviet Union had collapsed and the other Power of the bipolar era, the “American empire”, was on its way to collapse. Hopefully, there would be no other empire.
Responding to questions, he said a new international system was needed, with new actors who would guarantee respect for peace and the sovereignty of peoples over their self-determination. “We need to retake the path of brotherhood and peace,” he added.
Asked what his country’s agenda would be if it was elected to the Security Council, President Chávez replied that, with the backing of the Non-Aligned Movement, Venezuela would speak the truth and represent the conscience of a majority of the world’s Governments.
In response to a question about his non-recognition of the new Government in Mexico, he said his Government was still evaluating the situation in that country, which should be studied in depth.
Responding to a question about the situation of women in general, he stressed the need to restore gender balance and for women to play a greater role in the economic, political, scientific and technological fields. The 1999 Venezuelan Constitution had revolutionized the position of women, and they had become major players in society.
Asked about his recent visit to Syria, he said he supported that country, as well as Iran, in line with the position of the Non-Aligned Movement.
He told another questioner that the Venezuelan Government had been able to reduce poverty by 50 per cent with the increase in oil revenues, and the living standard of the poor had improved. In addition, a percentage of Venezuela’s petroleum exports had been set aside for poor people in such areas of the United States as the Bronx, Harlem, Chicago and Boston. The Government also planned to double supplies to the poor regions of the United States.
Asked how the fight against terrorism should be fought, in light of his criticism of United States policy, President Chávez said the imperialist strategy was to confuse people. “The first enemy of the people of the United States is the Government of the United States”, he said, pointing out that many Americans were sending their sons to die in Iraq. The people were being deceived.
He said the era of the “empire” was coming to an end, and the people of the United States should read the works of Noam Chomsky instead of watching the Superman movie, which was “dulling young people’s minds”.
Asked whether Venezuela, as a member of the Security Council, would send United Nations troops to Darfur, he said he would like to know more about the views of the African Union. Following his recent visits to Benin, Angola, Mali and South Africa, Venezuela’s relations with African countries were good and it would use its oil resources -- its “strongest suit” -- to help them. Venezuela’s quest for Security Council membership had won support from many countries, including members of the Non-Aligned Movement, the Southern Common Market (MERCOSUR), the Russian Federation and China.
Venezuela’s relationship with its Jewish community was also good, he said, adding, however, that Israel should withdraw from the Golan Heights, which it had captured from Syria in 1967, and recognize the rights of the Palestinian people.
* *** *For information media • not an official record