CARACAS, Tuesday August 16, 2005 | Update
Chávez commemorated the 200 anniversary of Simón Bolívar's oath to release Venezuela from Spanish dominance (Photo: AP)
SARA CAROLINA DIAZ
Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez Monday compared the ancient European empire and the present US empire, and claimed that the task humankind has to complete in this century, unlike 200 years ago, is "to save the Earth" from the threat US represents.
"Either we the peoples of the world defeat US imperialism or the US imperialism is to destroy the human race: that is the dilemma we have. Our mission is to save the world, the Earth. Our mission is greater than (Simón) Bolívar's endeavor; it requires a greater commitment (...) We have been called to invent a new world, just like during independence (war) we had to shape a new domestic and foreign order. I do believe that slaves back then lived better that the poor that face misery nowadays," Chávez asserted in a three-hour speech full of epic-historic references belonging to Simón Bolívar and himself. His statements came at the National Pantheon, where he commemorated the 200 anniversary of Bolívar's oath to release Venezuela from Spanish dominance.
Chávez also reminded an oath he swore when he was just starting his military career. At the National Pantheon, where the remains of Bolívar are, Chávez made a new promise and paraphrased his mentor by saying: "We have to embrace that oath (Bolívar's) and actually vow not to rest our arms or souls as long as we do not free our people from the threat the US empire poses for us."
Chávez insisted that there is a need to speed up "the emergence of new poles of power in the world" to counter the effects of imperialism.
In a nationwide mandatory radio and TV address, and together with the members of his cabinet, the top representatives of public powers and several hundred young people taking part in the 16 World Youth and Students Festival in Caracas, Chávez reiterated his invitation to embrace the oath attributed to Bolívar. "We have to devote every night and day" to fulfill our promise of liberation. "There are not holidays or Sundays; this is a battle. We cannot let a blind minority to raze the planet and our life potential for the centuries to come."
Chávez repeatedly quoted leftist linguist Noam Chomsky and claimed that this fight is between two superpowers: the United States "with invasions, bombs, blackmail, and terror," and the public opinion.
"The superpower of public opinion is rising: big demonstrations against war in Iraq, against neoliberal globalization," Chávez yelled out.
Further, the Venezuelan ruler seized the opportunity to announce that he is "to rest" in 2030, rather than 2021 as he has claimed repeatedly. In this way, he said, he is "to sort out the Santa Marta enigma (referring to the place where Bolívar died as an outcast in exile in Colombia), and I will not have to say (like Bolívar did) that I have plowed the sea."
The key elements to beat imperialism, according to Chávez, are social integration, popular participation, a new world order and world public opinion. "Thus, education and journalism are very important. They have big networks to numb society. That is why they are afraid of Telesur. They have started attacking it," he said, and added that there is a need to launch Radiosur, a common Latin American radio network.
A transparent electoral body
At the beginning of his speech, Chávez praised the National Electoral Council (CNE) and ensured that his country's electoral system is "among the most transparent in the world." "No matter how hard they (the opposition) try to tarnish the reputation of the CNE and the people directing it, and no matter how much they talk about electoral fraud and phantom ballots -while they do not provide evidence of their allegations because there is not and there will be not any-, I have to say that the Venezuelan people has today a real electoral power."
Translated by Maryflor Suárez
10:07 AM. DIPLOMACY. Admired by the Colombian guerrilla after his coup attempt in 1992, the then lieutenant colonel Hugo Chávez Frías received financial support by the Colombian Revolutionary Armed Forces (FARC) for his projects after his capture that year. This mostly explains the relationship and "debt" between the parties, as revealed by a paper of the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) of the United Kingdom.