During his address to the 64th United Nations General Assembly in New York on Thursday, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez called on the world to join Latin American countries in constructing a new type of socialism. He also said U.S. President Barack Obama has brought the "smell of hope" to the U.N., and demanded a return of the democratically elected president to Honduras, an end to the blockade of Cuba, and "decisive" action on climate change.
"Nobody will be able to hold back the great Latin American and Caribbean revolution. The United States, Europe, and the world should support the revolution, because this revolution is the beginning of a path toward the salvation of this planet," said the president.
"It is an indo-American socialism, our own American socialism... there is not a catalogue for constructing socialism, we must create it," Chavez continued.
Chavez distinguished the movements toward socialism currently underway in Latin America from the socialisms of the Twentieth Century. "There was never socialism in the Soviet Union. This century will be the century of socialism," he said.
The president explained, "This is another type of revolution. No longer does it sprout from the mountains with groups of guerrillas, no, this revolution sprouts from the cities, from the masses, it is peaceful and profoundly democratic."
The last time Chavez spoke at the U.N. General Assembly was in 2006, when he referred to then U.S. President George W. Bush as "the devil," and remarked that the podium where Bush had previously spoken still smelled like sulfur.
On Thursday, Chavez sniffed the area around the podium and said, "It no longer smells like sulfur here... Now it smells like hope."
Chavez praised President Obama's remarks to the U.N. the day before about peace and "a new era of engagement," but challenged him to turn his words into actions, and not contradict himself. "Who are you Obama, Obama one, or Obama two?" Chavez asked in English.
"Yesterday Obama said that you can't impose any political system on any people, that we must respect the sovereignty of every country. Well, then, Obama, Mr. President, what are you waiting for to order the end of the savage and murderous blockade of Cuba?" Chavez said.
Chavez cited nuclear proliferation as another example. "No nuclear proliferation. Ok, we agree," Chavez said, still directing his comments toward the U.S. "Start with yourselves by destroying all the nuclear weapons you have. Destroy them, already. Do it."
The Venezuelan leader further urged the U.S. government and the international community to take more "decisive" action on climate change. He extensively cited a previous speech by former Cuban President Fidel Castro on the rise in global temperatures, and commented, "We are bringing en end to the planet. Let's realize it, become conscious, and act."
"Obama said he has political will for this. Do it, Obama. Go from words to actions," said Chavez. If the international community produces a new agreement, "Venezuela is fully willing to subscribe to that decision," said Chavez.
Chavez also brought up the U.S. government's expansion of its military presence in Colombia in July, and its continued refusal to recognize as a coup d'état the events of June 28th in Honduras, during which U.S.-trained Honduran military personnel kidnapped President Manuel Zelaya and transported him by plane to Costa Rica via the U.S. military base in Honduras.
Regarding Honduras, Chavez praised Zelaya for his daring, clandestine return to the Honduran capital, Tegucigalpa, earlier this week, and urged for the fulfillment of the resolutions that the U.N. and the Organization of American States passed calling for the restoration of democracy in the Central American country.
Meanwhile on Thursday, the U.N. Security Council condemned the Honduran coup regime's "acts of intimidation against the Brazilian embassy," where Zelaya is currently residing in Tegucigalpa. When Hondurans demonstrated in support of Zelaya outside the embassy this week, the coup regime responded by firing water, tear gas, and shots to break up the crowd, and three demonstrators died.
Chavez ended his hour-long speech by singing a verse from the song "Meeting with Angels," by Cuban revolutionary singer Silvio Rodriguez. "Let's be a little bit better, and a little less selfish," Chavez sang, with his arms held up as though he were strumming a guitar. He also quoted the chorus of another Rodriguez song, "This era is giving birth to a heart."
[Reprinted from Venezuela Analysis.]