October 27, 2018 - No. 37

73rd Session of UN General Assembly

Principles of Sovereignty and
Peaceful Resolution of Disputes
Still the Order of the Day

UN General Assembly, September 18, 2018.

Speech by Cuban President Miguel Díaz-Canel Bermúdez
Speech by Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro

73rd Session of UN General Assembly

Principles of Sovereignty and Peaceful Resolution
of Disputes Still the Order of the Day

President of the General Assembly María Fernanda Espinosa Garcés.

The 73rd session of the UN General Assembly opened September 18. It is presided over by María Fernanda Espinosa Garcés of Ecuador. Prior to taking up her post as the President of the General Assembly, she was Ecuador's Minister of Foreign Affairs. In July, Espinosa Garcés announced the theme of the general debate -- "Making the United Nations Relevant to All People: Global Leadership and Shared Responsibilities for Peaceful, Equitable and Sustainable Societies." She outlined seven priority themes for this session: to promote gender equality; to promote and implement new global compacts on migration and refugees; to highlight innovative thinking around the future of work; to promote efforts to protect the environment, particularly the problem of plastics pollution; raise awareness of persons with disabilities; implement the reform of the UN system; and promote peace.

A notable event took place September 25, when the General Assembly held a high-level plenary meeting on global peace in honour of the centenary of the birth of Nelson Mandela, called the Nelson Mandela Peace Summit. The plenary adopted a political declaration negotiated by member states. The Permanent Representatives of South Africa and Ireland, serving as co-facilitators, began consulting with governments on the content of the declaration in May.

The high-level General Debate, where each member state addresses the General Assembly, ran from September 25 to October 1. For the second year, the U.S. address was given by President Donald Trump. In typical fashion, he justified U.S. exceptionalism and hegemony (including within the UN and its bodies), and also military and economic aggression, on the most self-serving basis. "We are standing up for America and the American people, and we are also standing up for the world," he said. He claimed that the United States will always choose independence and cooperation over global governance, control and domination, meaning that it refuses to be held to account by the UN, its Human Rights Council or the International Criminal Court, having withdrawn from the latter two organizations this year. In the meantime it carries on as the world's gendarme. Trump in particular singled out Venezuela and Iran as being a threat to other countries, while upholding reactionary governments, such as Poland, Israel and Saudi Arabia, as models of democracy and progressive reforms.

For its part, Canada's representative highlighted the UN's Agenda 2030, the program calling on countries to meet the UN's 17 Sustainable Development Goals in the next 12 years. It was also an opportunity for the Trudeau government to continue its bogus rhetoric about "diversity." The first example given of "diversity" stated that "Indigenous peoples in Canada are the bedrock of our diversity. They speak more than 60 different languages. Their cultures are some of the richest on the continent." This is an affront to Indigenous peoples because it denies the Canadian state's obligations to engage with them on a nation-to-nation basis. It reduces them to a mere ethnicity, without rights based on their being, and covers up the ongoing negation of their languages and cultures.

Another feature of Canada's intervention was its subservience to U.S. imperialist aims, by promoting foreign intervention and regime change in Syria, slandering Venezuela and repeating the disinformation that Crimea's decision to join Russia constitutes the "ongoing illegal annexation and occupation of Crimea" and "is a clear breach of international law," and that "Russia's destabilizing actions cannot be allowed to stand." Another aspect of this subservience was expressed in the conclusion of Canada's address to the General Assembly, which focused on its campaign to win a seat on the Security Council, where it will no doubt also serve U.S. interests. Canada's representative at the UN presented the country's credentials for this post claiming that it has "championed the Women, Peace and Security Agenda and Human Security," and that it has "fought for the protection of civilians caught in the crossfire of armed conflict," even though Canada's participation in U.S./NATO-led aggression around the world is well known and has instigated armed conflict and killed countless civilians.

In this supplement, TML Weekly is publishing the speeches made to the UN General Assembly by Cuban President Miguel Díaz-Canel and Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro. These speeches highlight some of the pressing issues facing the UN and its functioning and international relations as a whole, and underscore that principles of sovereignty and peaceful resolution of disputes are still the order of the day, and are what the peoples of the world are striving for, despite the obstacles being put in their way by the imperialists and their allies.

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Speech by Cuban President
Miguel Díaz-Canel Bermúdez

Madam President:

Mister Secretary-General:

It is impossible to be here, speak from this rostrum on behalf of Cuba, and not recall historic moments at the General Assembly which are also part of our dearest memories: Fidel Castro, Che Guevara, Raúl Castro and the "Chancellor of Dignity" Raúl Roa, just to mention the most significant, who have brought here not only the voice of our people but also the voice of other Latin American and Caribbean, African, Asian, non-aligned peoples, with whom we have shared more than half a century of struggles for a fair international order, which is still far from being attained.

It is absurd but consistent with the irrationality of a world in which the richest 0.7 per cent of the population owns 46 per cent of all the wealth, while the poorer 70 per cent of the population can access only 2.7 per cent of it; 3.460 billion people survive in poverty; 815 million go hungry; 758 million are illiterate and 844 million lack basic services of drinking water. All these figures, by the way, are prepared and regularly used by global organizations, but it seems that they have failed to raise sufficient awareness of the so-called international community.

These realities, Madam President, are not the result of socialism, like the President of the United States said yesterday here. They are the consequence of capitalism, especially imperialism and neo-liberalism; of the selfishness and exclusion that is inherent to that system, and of an economic, political, social and cultural paradigm that privileges wealth accumulation in the hands of a few at the cost of the exploitation and dire poverty of the large majorities.

Capitalism consolidated colonialism. It gave birth to fascism, terrorism and apartheid and spread wars and conflicts; the breaches of sovereignty and self-determination of the peoples; repression of workers, minorities, refugees and migrants. Capitalism is the opposite of solidarity and democratic participation. The production and consumption patterns that characterize it, promote plundering, militarism, threats to peace; they generate violations of human rights and are the greatest danger to the ecological balance of the planet and the survival of the human being.

No one should be deceived by anybody claiming that humanity lacks enough material, financial and technological resources to eradicate poverty, hunger, preventable diseases and other scourges. What is lacking is the political will of the industrialized countries, who have the moral duty, the historical responsibility and the abundant resources to solve the most pressing global problems.

The truth is that while it is claimed that there is a shortfall in funding to attain the goals and targets of the 2030 Agenda or address the increasing impact of climate change, $1.74 trillion were wasted in military expenditure in the year 2017, the highest figure since the end of the Cold War.

Climate change is another unavoidable reality and a matter of survival for the human species, particularly for Small Island Developing States. Some of its effects are already irreversible.

Scientific evidence indicates there is an increase of 1.1° C relative to pre-industrial levels, and that nine out of 10 persons living in urban areas breathe polluted air.

However, the United States, one of the major polluters of yesteryear and today, refuses to accompany the international community in the implementation of the Paris Agreement on climate change. It thus endangers the lives of future generations and the survival of all species, including humans.

In addition, and as if there were not enough threats to humanity and its dazzling creations, it is a fact that the military and nuclear hegemonism of imperialism is perpetuating itself and expanding to the detriment of the hopes of the majority of peoples for a general and complete disarmament. Cuba shares this ideal and, as testament of its commitment to this goal, on January 31, it became the fifth state to ratify the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.

In this organization that was born out of the human desire to overcome the destruction left by a terrible war through dialogue between nations, it is not possible to keep quiet about the danger looming over all of us, with the exacerbation of local conflicts, wars of aggression disguised as "humanitarian interventions," the forceful overthrow of sovereign governments, the so-called "soft coups" and interference in other states' internal affairs -- recurrent forms of action by some powers, using the most diverse excuses.

International cooperation for the promotion and protection of all human rights for all is a must. However, its discriminatory and selective manipulation with claims of domination, violates the rights to peace, self-determination and development of the peoples.

Cuba rejects the militarization of outer space and cyberspace, as well as the covert and illegal use of information and communication technologies to attack other states.

The exercise of multilateralism and full respect for the principles and rules of international law to advance towards a multipolar, democratic and equitable world, are required in order to ensure peaceful coexistence, preserve international peace and security and find lasting solutions for systemic problems.

Against that logic, the threat or use of force, unilateralism, pressures, retaliations and sanctions which increasingly characterize the behavior and rhetoric of the U.S. government and its abusive use of the veto power in the Security Council in order to impose their political agenda, pose huge challenges and threats within the United Nations itself.

Why don't we just implement the promised strengthening of the General Assembly as the main organ of deliberation, decision and representation? The reform of the Security Council must not be delayed or prevented, as this organ is in need of adjusting to the times by democratizing its membership and working methods.

Today we have come to reiterate what Commander-in-Chief Fidel Castro Ruz said on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the UN, which summarizes the most noble aspiration of the majority of humanity, and I quote: "We want a world without hegemonistic practices, without nuclear weapons, without interventionism, without racism, without national or religious hatred, without violations of the sovereignty of any country, with respect for independence and the free self-determination of peoples, without universal models that do not take into account the traditions and cultures of all components of humanity at all. Without cruel blockades that kill men, women, children, the young, and the elderly like silent atomic bombs."

More than 20 years have elapsed since that demand was made and none of those ills have been cured; in fact, they have been exacerbated. We have every right to ask why. And we have the duty to insist on effective and equitable solutions.

Madam President:

Our America is currently undergoing a stage of persistent threats, inconsistent with the "Proclamation of Latin America and the Caribbean as a Zone of Peace," signed in Havana by the Heads of States and Government on the occasion of the 2nd Summit of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States, in 2014.

The current U.S. administration has proclaimed the relevance of the Monroe Doctrine and, in a new deployment of its imperial policy in the region, is attacking Venezuela with special cruelty.

It is in this threatening context that we wish to reiterate our absolute support to the Bolivarian and Chavista Revolution, the civic-military union of the Venezuelan people and its legitimate and democratic government, led by the constitutional President Nicolás Maduro Moros. We reject the intervention attempts and sanctions against Venezuela, aimed at suffocating her economically and hurting Venezuelan families.

We likewise reject the attempts at destabilizing the Nicaraguan government, a country of peace that has made remarkable social, economic and public safety progress in favour of its people.

We denounce the politically-motivated imprisonment of former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, and the decision to prevent the people from voting and electing Brazil's most popular leader to the presidency.

We stand in solidarity with the Caribbean nations who demand legitimate reparation for the horrible effects of slavery as well as the fair, special and differential treatment that they deserve.

We reaffirm our historic commitment to the self-determination and independence of our fraternal people of Puerto Rico.

We support Argentina's legitimate sovereignty claim over the Malvinas Islands, South Sandwich and South Georgia Islands.

We reiterate our unrestricted support to a comprehensive, just and lasting solution for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, on the basis of the creation of two states, allowing the Palestinian people to exercise their right to self-determination and to have an independent and sovereign state based upon the pre-1967 borders, with East Jerusalem as its capital. We reject the unilateral action of the United States to establish their diplomatic representation in the city of Jerusalem, which heightens even more the tensions in the region. We condemn the barbarities of the Israeli forces against the civilian population in Gaza.

We reaffirm our steadfast solidarity with the Saharan people, and support the search for a final solution to the question of Western Sahara, which will allow the exercise of self-determination and to live in peace in their territory.

We support the search for a peaceful and negotiated solution to the situation imposed in Syria, without foreign interference and with full respect for its sovereignty and territorial integrity. We reject any direct or indirect intervention, carried out without the legitimate authorities of the country.

The continued expansion of NATO towards Russian borders is causing serious threats, worsened by the imposition of arbitrary sanctions, which we reject.

We demand compliance with the Islamic Republic of Iran's nuclear deal.

We welcome the process of rapprochement and dialogue among the Koreas. This is the way to achieve a lasting peace, reconciliation and stability on the Korean Peninsula. At the same time, we strongly condemn the imposition of unilateral and unfair sanctions against the Democratic People's Republic of Korea and foreign interference in Korean internal affairs.

The violations of the rules of international trade and the sanctions against China, the European Union and other countries will bring about harmful effects, particularly for developing States.

We favour dialogue and cooperation, thanks to which we can report today that the Cuba-EU Agreement on Political Dialogue and Cooperation has provisionally entered into force and is a good foundation to develop beneficial ties between the parties.

Madam President:

The government of the U.S. maintains an aggressive rhetoric towards Cuba and a policy aimed at subverting the political, economic, social, and cultural system in my country. Contrary to the interests of both peoples and giving in to the pressures of minority sectors, the new U.S. government has devoted itself to fabricating under false pretexts, scenarios of tension and hostility that serve nobody's interests.

This in contrast to the fact that we have formal diplomatic relations and mutually beneficial cooperation programs in a limited number of areas.

Our peoples share increasingly closer historic and cultural bonds, which are expressed in the arts, sports, science, and the environment, among others. The potential for a fluent business relationship is well known and a genuine and respectful understanding would be in the interest of the entire region.

However, the essential and defining element of the bilateral relationship continues to be the blockade, which seeks to suffocate the Cuban economy in order to generate hardships and disrupt the constitutional order. It is a cruel policy, punishing Cuban families and the entire nation.

It is the most comprehensive and long-standing system of economic sanctions ever implemented against any country. It has been and continues to be a major obstacle to the country's development and to the realization of the aspirations to progress and well-being of several generations of Cubans.

As has been said for so many years in this same place, due to its aggressive extraterritorial implementation, the blockade seriously damages the sovereignty and interests of all countries.

On behalf of the Cuban people, I would like to thank this General Assembly for the virtually unanimous rejection of the economic, commercial and financial blockade imposed by the United States against my country.

Nevertheless, the actions of the U.S. government against my country go farther. They include public and covert programs of gross interference in Cuba's internal affairs. To this end, tens of millions of dollars that are officially allocated in its budget are used, in violation of the standards and principles upon which this organization rests, and in particular, of Cuba's sovereignty as an independent nation.

Cuba stands ready to develop respectful and civilized relations with the U.S. government on the basis of sovereign equality and mutual respect. This is the will of the Cuban people and we know this is a shared aspiration by most U.S. citizens and, particularly, by Cubans living there.

We shall continue to tirelessly demand the end of the cruel economic, commercial and financial blockade, the return of the territory illegally occupied by the Guantánamo Naval Base and adequate compensation to our people for the thousands of dead and disabled and for the economic and property damages caused to Cuba over so many years of aggression.

Cuba will always be willing to engage in dialogue and cooperate on the basis of respect and on an equal footing. We shall never make concessions affecting our sovereignty and national independence, we shall not negotiate our principles nor shall we accept conditions.

In spite of the blockade, the hostility and the actions carried out by the United States to impose a regime change in Cuba, the Cuban Revolution is right here, alive and strong, faithful to her principles!

Madam President:

The generational change in our government should not raise the hopes of the enemies of the Revolution. We are the continuity, not a rupture. Cuba has continued taking steps to improve its model of economic and social development in order to build a sovereign, independent, socialist, democratic, prosperous and sustainable nation. This is the path that our people have freely chosen.

The country will not go back to the opprobrious past that it shook off with the greatest sacrifices during 150 years of struggle for independence and full dignity. By the decision of the overwhelming majority of Cubans, we shall continue the work that started almost 60 years ago.

In this conviction, we began a constitutional reform process, a truly participatory and democratic exercise, through popular discussion of the draft which will eventually be approved in a referendum. I am certain that there will be no changes in our strategic objectives and that the irrevocable nature of socialism will be ratified.

The principles of foreign policy will remain unchanged. As the First Secretary of our Party, Raúl Castro Ruz, said in his statement on the occasion of the 70th anniversary of the United Nations, and I quote: "The international community will always be able to count on Cuba's sincere voice against injustice, inequality, underdevelopment, discrimination and manipulation; and for the establishment of a fairer and more equitable international order, truly focused on human beings, their dignity and well-being."

The Cuba on behalf of which I speak today is the proud successor of that independent, sovereign, fraternal and solidarity policy with the poorest of this world, producers of all the wealth on the planet, although the unequal global order has sentenced them with dire poverty in the name of words like democracy, freedom and human rights, words which the rich have actually emptied of meaning.

It has been exciting and pleasant to take the floor at the same rostrum from which 58 years ago Fidel expressed powerful truths that still continue to shake us, in front of representatives of more than 190 nations who, rejecting extortion and pressures, every year fill the voting screen with green lights of approval for our demand for the end of the blockade.

I bid you farewell in the hope that the noble aspirations of most of Humanity will be achieved before younger generations take this rostrum to demand the same as we do today, and our historic predecessors did yesteryear.

Thank you very much.

(UN/Minrex. Photo: UN. Slightly edited for style by TML.)

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Speech by Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro

Ambassadors, heads of delegations of the countries members of the United Nations Organization, President-elect of the General Assembly, María Fernanda Espinoza, may I extend to you congratulations on behalf of the delegation of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela -- our government -- on assuming the presidency of the 73rd session of the General Assembly as the first Latin-American woman to be president of a General Assembly session. On this occasion, we have been invited to work and address an important and vital issue, entitled as follows: "Making the United Nations Relevant to All People: Global Leadership and Shared Responsibilities for Peaceful, Equitable and Sustainable Societies." So we are here to make the United Nations relevant for all people.

This is precisely the noble purpose [that] the United Nations system has to build in light of the 21st century: a century of great opportunities and certainly a century that will make the difference regarding the human liberation processes -- political liberation, peoples' liberation -- that, sooner or later, will impact significantly on the future of the United Nations Organization.

The current United Nations Organization was born at the end of the Second World War (1945). During the 20th century, its configuration expressed the conflicts and forms of actions of the bipolar world of the postwar years and, after the fall of the Soviet Union in the '90s, we moved to a unipolar world.

The correlation of forces in the world, regarding the world system, has always influenced the United Nations Organization directly. However, in order to be relevant -- according to the purpose of this 73rd General Assembly -- this organization has to express the wishes, the way of being, the culture, the political thinking, the strength and the hopes of the majorities in the world.

That is why Venezuela is here today; to say its truth; I bring the truth of a combative, heroic and revolutionary world; I bring the voice of a homeland that, throughout history, has refused to surrender to injustice, to the empires of the past -- slaver and colonialist -- and the empires of today -- equally slaver and neo-colonialist. I bring the voice of a heroic people that arose from the heroic resistance of the aborigines, from the Indigenous peoples that for centuries resisted the domination by colonial empires. I bring the voice of the people having the honour of being the great Liberator Símon Bolívar's home, the most important leader of a generation of liberators of the Americas, who accomplished, 200 years ago, the heroic feat of founding a continent, a region, a dream: the independent republics of this world region.

Venezuela is a historic people which is both a home and a school of republican values; a home and a school of rebelliousness; a home and a school of dignity and values such as equality; such is our obstinate homeland that for centuries has searched for its independence and sovereignty.

I speak on their behalf amid this scenario which has witnessed the most evil and embarrassing attacks in the last years; for our country is a harassed and attacked country. Yesterday, in this same place, the President of the United States of America once again attacked the noble people of Venezuela and supported, as he said, the doctrine founded by the empire of the United States 200 years ago, which determined their interventionist role, their intended role of judge, party and police of the world: the Monroe Doctrine. Yes, the president of the most powerful imperial nation, the United States of America, was in this same place, supporting James Monroe's doctrine, who, at that time, said "America for Americans," meaning that the rest of America had to belong to them as the backyard for the interests of Washington elite groups that already conducted the configuration of that nation as a former colony of the British empire.

He supported the Monroe Doctrine. And you may be wondering about the reason for such fierce attack by the [U.S.] power, expressed at all levels by President Donald Trump. It is a historic conflict as we have said to the world many times, as our people well know. It is the conflict between the interventionist imperial, neo-colonialist Monroe Doctrine against the historic, independent, republican, doctrine of Simón Bolívar, of rebelliousness, dignity, justice, liberty and equality. It is an old conflict; an old contradiction due to an imperial doctrine aimed at dominating our region. During the 19th century, it was aimed at dominating our region only; however, in the 20th century, it was intended to dominate the world and in the 21st century it tries to continue governing, conducting, blackmailing and arranging the world as if it were [U.S.] property. In our region, it is a 200-year contradiction between the republican libertarian flags which, in the 19th century -- the time of Simón Bolívar and the liberators -- advocated for a world of equilibrium and respect and the pro-imperialist and interventionist flags that promoted the domination of the region by an elite group that already had the control of the power in Washington.

It is an old conflict we know very well. Today, Venezuela is a victim of a permanent aggression in the economic, political, diplomatic and media fields by those who govern the United States of America and support the Monroe Doctrine to justify the ideological, political and diplomatic aggression against our beloved homeland.

Our reason for being here is that reason. Why is Venezuela being politically, economically and diplomatically attacked? First of all, Venezuela has built an autonomous project of democratic revolution, social vindication, and construction of itself and a new model of society, which is based on the historical roots of our nation, on the identity of our country and on the culture of our own Latin-American region.

For 20 years, they have intended to stop the course of our history, the development of a revolutionary project that arose from the struggle of our people and region. Secondly -- and perhaps more understandable -- for global geopolitical reasons, Venezuela is the nation with the largest oil reserve in the world, internationally certified. Venezuela, as founder of OPEC, Venezuela, a country with 100 years of oil production, discovered and certified internationally, the largest oil [deposits in] the world. Venezuela has also significant natural and mining richness. Today, according to international standards, our country is certifying the potentially biggest gold reserve in the world.

The world must know that currently, apart from being the biggest international oil reserve, Venezuela is certifying, under international standards, the biggest gold reserve in the world and the fourth largest gas reserve in the world as well. The significant natural resources, and important geopolitical, geo-economic and geo-strategic position has lead the oligarchies of the continent and those who dominate from Washington, to consider dominating and controlling the political power in Venezuela. At present, Venezuela is victim of a permanent aggression.

In the economic sphere, during the last two years, Venezuela has been subjected to a set of illegal unilateral measures of economic persecution and blockade; we have been restrained from using the international currency -- the U.S. dollar -- ... by the authorities of the U.S. Department of Treasury. Currently, Venezuela cannot negotiate any international transaction in U.S. dollars. Does the world know that Venezuela is persecuted from an economic, commercial and monetary point of view? Today, Venezuela is target of a set of illegal and unilateral mechanisms of economic sanctions.

Yesterday, the President of the United States announced, precisely on this same platform, new and [illegal] economic and financial sanctions against our country under the sanctuary of the law and international legality. Does the United Nations system know that the unilateral sanctions, using the dominion, the status of the currency and financial persecution are considered illegal from the standpoint of international law? Venezuela is subjected to a permanent media aggression as well; attempts ... have been made to justify an international intervention [...] through the media against our country to pretend a humanitarian crisis [exists], that uses the United Nations' concepts to justify a coalition of countries, led by the Government of the United States and their satellite governments in Latin America, to get its hands on our country. A migration crisis, that goes without saying, has been forged by several means, aimed at diverting attention from the real migration crises in the world that show the disadvantages of the southern countries. The migratory crisis in Central America, Mexico, and Latin America has arisen due to the announcement of a retaining wall against our peoples, a dividing wall against them. Nobody wants to talk about this situation. A double-standard of treatment [is in place] over the real status of the Caribbean and Latin American migrants who have been persecuted along the border with Mexico; they have been separated from their families, their kids have been kidnapped; and no response is given about this issue or about the serious migration crisis caused by the destruction in Libya by NATO and the war against Syria, resulting in the migration of thousands of African and Middle-East brothers. It is an issue that is intentionally masked.

A global media campaign about an alleged migratory crisis in Venezuela has been deployed to justify a humanitarian intervention, as announced for years. It is a plan similar to the weapons-of-mass-destruction plan used in Iraq; it is the same plan that justified the intervention in other countries, this time in the form of a great brutal psychological warfare campaign. Today, Venezuela is also the victim of diplomatic aggression. Yesterday -- dear brothers and sisters of the governments of the world -- we witnessed direct threats to cut aid, to withdraw aid or blockade aid from the international support and aid systems for the governments and peoples of the world [...] by the President of the United States.

We have listened to the statements issued by several governments demanding better mechanisms to access financing, to access development to which our peoples are entitled. Yesterday, the President of the United States, from this very platform, threatened the governments of the world to submit to its designs, to its orders and to cooperate with its policies in the United Nations system, or he would act accordingly. Venezuela has been attacked with a fierce diplomatic offensive at all of the United Nations system bodies, supported by [subservient] governments blackening the honour of the peoples that they are called to represent.

Venezuela has been subjected to permanent political aggression. On September 8, the New York Times published an article revealing the participation of White House officials and the government of the United States, in meetings to bring about a military coup and cause a change of government, a change of regime in Venezuela. The investigation published by the New York Times -- replicated by Time Magazine, the Washington Post and the world press -- simply confirmed the conspiracy, the permanent aggression by factors of the government of the United States against a constitutional and strengthened democracy; a democracy supported by the people, such as the Venezuelan democracy. We had already denounced in due course, the attempted violence against the Constitution, the attempted disturbances and military coups against the constitutional and revolutionary government over which I preside in the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, by popular will and popular vote.

After announcing and publishing the failed attempts at disturbances and military violence -- the New York Times published details on how U.S. officials in Colombia, supported by the Colombian government and Colombian institutions, met and offered their encouragement and support for this attempted change of regime. Should the United Nations system [...] should Latin America and the Caribbean accept these methods that so hurt our region during the entire 20th century? How many military interventions? How many coups d'état? How many dictatorships were imposed during the long and dark 20th century in Latin America and the Caribbean, and who did they favour? Did they favour the peoples? What interests did they represent? The interests of the transnational companies, the unpopular interests; long dictatorships, like Augusto Pinochet's in Chile, were faced by our peoples due to the stubbornness of the [U.S.] elites and the Monroe Doctrine to deny the right earned by ourselves to govern our countries the way we need, and build the specific economic, political and cultural systems of the region.

That is why I come here, to bring the truth of a fighting people, Venezuela has been targeted by a seemingly never-ending political and media campaign. That is why we bring our homeland's truth to this honorable UN General Assembly. After the failure published and announced by the New York Times of these illegal, unconstitutional and criminal attempts of regime change; after the democratic presidential election, last May 20, when I, Nicolás Maduro Moros, obtained 68 per cent of the popular votes through free elections -- the 24th election in 19 years, of which 22 have been won by the revolutionary forces of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, at different levels of approval, against the opposition forces of our country; after the failure of the attempted military coups, candidacies and electoral tactics supported by Washington, with the huge electoral victory attained by the people, last August 4, I was a victim of a terrorist attack with drones that tried to kill me at a military event on one of the main avenues in Caracas. If it had been executed as planned, it would have been a massacre, an assassination of the institutional, political and military high command of our nation, Venezuela.

On August 4, the perpetrators, the terrorists, those who attacked me with drones -- this is the first attack with drones known in the world history of terrorist violence -- were captured by the security bodies and State police agencies. The 28 perpetrators were captured thanks to different investigation procedures. They are convicted and sentenced. As I informed the different governments of the world, all the investigations about that terrorist attack indicate that it was prepared, financed and planned in the territory of the United States of America. I have informed the Government of the United States -- by diplomatic means -- the name, the responsibility and the evidence against the intellectual perpetrators, financers and planners of this serious terrorist attack. According to investigations, this attempt and the actual perpetrators -- as they have admitted -- were trained and prepared for months in Colombian territory under the protection and support of Colombian authorities; and according to the latest investigations and arrests -- as unveiled to the media -- the perpetrators mentioned some of the diplomatic members of the governments of Chile, Colombia and Mexico who would help them to escape after the terrorist attack.

I would like to ask the United Nations system to appoint a special delegate of the Secretariat of the United Nations to conduct an independent investigation internationally about the implications and responsibilities for this terrorist attack perpetrated in our country. Venezuela is open; the doors of our country and our judicial system are opened in order to determine the direct responsibilities of this aggression, the most serious in the political history of our country for its implications. They tried to provoke chaos in our homeland, they tried to [decapitate the state] to justify [internal strife] and the activation of mechanisms beyond the United Nations multilateral system, of a military intervention as occurred in other countries in the past.

Officially, Venezuela proposes [...] to conduct an independent international investigation to determine the truth about these events. I have expressed to the Government of the United States -- which has denied its participation in the preparation and execution of these attempts -- that it would be great if it heeded my call to include high-level FBI professionals and scientists in this investigation to clarify and help the Venezuelan justice system to find the truth.

When I arrived in New York this afternoon, I heard that some journalists had asked President Donald Trump if he was willing to meet with [the] President of Venezuela. Apparently, President Donald Trump in one of his interventions today said that if it helps Venezuela, he was willing to do so. Well, I ratify on this platform, that despite the great historical, ideological and social differences -- since I am a worker, a bus driver, a man of the people, I am not a rich man, I am not a millionaire -- despite all the differences deemed as enormous, the President of Venezuela, Nicolás Maduro Moros, is willing to shake hands with the U.S. President. I am willing to sit and talk about the bilateral differences and the matters of our region.

[...] Venezuela is a friendly country. Venezuelans do not hate the United States; on the contrary, we appreciate the United States, their culture, their arts, their society. We differ from the imperial concepts that have taken over the political power in Washington since the foundation of that nation.

In 1826, our Liberator Simón Bolívar said prophetically: "The United States appear to be destined by providence to plague America with hunger and misery in the name of liberty."

It was a prophetic vision. It was hard to see at early times the future in the 20th century. Do we have differences with President Donald Trump? Of course we do. But differences lead to dialogue. Those who are different are called to put their good will and words on the table. President Donald Trump said he is worried about Venezuela, that he wants to help Venezuela.

Well, I am willing to talk, with an open agenda about the topics that the United States government wants to discuss, with humility, frankness and honesty. As President of the Non-Aligned Movement, Venezuela raises the flags of dialogue among civilizations. As President of the Non-Aligned Movement, Venezuela permanently promotes and practices political and international dialogue, the solution of international conflicts through dialogue, understanding and the pacific use of politics and not by force.

Venezuela is significantly experienced in bodies such as OPEC, to manage situations of divergence and build consensus and agreements. Recently, in Algeria, we attended the meeting of the OPEC monitoring committee. It was an extraordinary meeting with the representatives of the monitoring committee, since we are part of it, and the representatives of 24 States with the greatest oil reserves and producers of the world. And despite the cultural, political, geostrategic and geopolitical differences, we reached an agreement, a single voice to continue stabilizing the oil market at fair, reasonable and stable prices.

We believe in political dialogue as a way to find solutions and solve conflicts. [The U.S. has] tried to demonize the Bolivarian Revolution through an unprecedented brutal campaign. First, against Commander Hugo Chávez Frías, founder of our Revolution and eternal commander in the heart of Venezuelans, and then against this humble man who is standing here, bringing the voice of a people that supports its Revolution and democratically supports its actions.

Therefore, I reaffirm the desire for international and national political dialogue. I know that governments represented in this room are interested in reaching peace with sovereignty, independence and justice in Venezuela. I welcome all those from Africa, Europe, Asia, Latin America who wish to help, respecting the country's sovereignty, without interfering in Venezuela's internal affairs, so that they can support us, join us in a process of sovereign dialogue for peace, democracy, justice, the future and prosperity in Venezuela; a noble nation which deserves peace, a future and the best.

We bring good news from a country that has not given up and shall not do so. Good news from a nation that is consolidating its democracy; good news from a country that is building its own social model, its own welfare state by means of new formulas to protect its elders, its pensioners, its children, its young people, its women, the neediest sectors, its working class. We also bring good news regarding the efforts for an economic recovery; in fact, I activated, in August, an Economic Recovery, Growth and Prosperity Program which is succeeding in placing the bases of a new economy, not dependent on oil revenues, a diversified economy, of sustainable growth and prosperity building, heading towards a new kind of social model.

We believe in a different world; our generation witnessed the so-called bipolar world, the so-called Cold War which some apparently want to bring back again through attacks against China, Russia and modest countries like Venezuela. However, provoking a fight against countries like Russia and China is a contradiction of what a humanitarian international policy should be, meaning one which recognizes the emergence of new poles of power and the need to build a multipolar world.

Venezuela is a country which advocates for and is committed to the construction of a pluripolar and multicentric world, where all the different regions (Africa, Latin America, the Caribbean, Asia, Europe, and North America) can live together in balance and peace, respecting our cultures, religions, idiosyncrasies, identities and economic and political models. There is not a unique economic model; we must not allow the imposition of a single cultural model, a single political model; they intend to impose a single thought for humanity. I say no. We vindicate the cultural, religious and political diversity of humanity of this world. Therefore, in the Non-aligned Movement, we advocate for the emergence of such a world of justice.

We assume and declare our solidarity with the Arab people of Palestine; justice shall arrive in Palestine so that their historic territories, established in 1967 by this United Nations Organization, are respected.

We carry with us the flag of the Palestinian people. We support the UN call for an end to the infamous and criminal 50-year-blockade against the Cuban people. We have had enough of anachronistic methods that [the U.S. intends] to continue imposing against the Cuban people, and now against other peoples like Venezuela.

So we raise our two hands to vote on the United Nations Resolution, which in the next few days will be carried out to reject the blockade and economic-financial persecution of Cuba, and demand its immediate lifting, in a world to be built, in a world to be made.

Two hundred years ago, our region was plagued by colonies, slavery and injustice. One hundred years ago, as peoples, we struggled for freedom. Today, in the 21st century, the moment has come, the opportunity has come. Undoubtedly, in the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, with Simón Bolívar's revolutionary ideas, with the example and legacy of Commander Hugo Chávez -- whose voice still resonates here in this room demanding justice and justice for the world, demanding the cessation of the imperial practices of threats, coercion and extortion against peoples -- we can say that in 20 years of revolution, the last three have been the hardest years: years of harassment, aggression and attacks.

Today, on September 26, 2018, I can say that we have faced political, media, diplomatic, economic and financial persecution, but I also can say that today Venezuela is stronger than ever. We have learned how to resist and draw strength from our historic roots to stand up, victorious and willing to continue advancing in the construction of our own social model, which is the Socialist Revolution of the 21st century; we say it to the four winds, it is a new revolution, of independence, dignity and justice.

Today, we are stronger than ever. Yes, I was a witness, we were witnesses two days ago of the tribute to Nelson Mandela; speaking about Mandela is speaking about rebellion. Many people have tried to create a wrong picture of Mandela [as being a fool], somebody who did not fight. Mandela is a synonym for rebellion against injustice, bravery, courage and the challenge to the oppressors. We are followers of Nelson Mandela's legacy and the great African leaders who have raised the struggle for equality, justice and against slavery, racism and colonialism in all its forms.

We saw the tribute to Nelson Mandela and we thought how much this world has changed. Just 30 years ago Mandela was considered a terrorist by the United States Congress and the North American governments. Just a few years ago Nelson Mandela was still on the list of sanctioned people. It may sound familiar to you: Nelson Mandela, the terrorist, the sanctioned, the persecuted, and the abandoned. The world has changed a lot since then. Currently, Nelson Mandela is a flag that we embrace with love, with conviction. He is a symbol of what it is possible to do if the rebellion, the struggle, and justice are able to conquer the noble hearts and minds of the peoples.

I trust in the future of humanity, in the destiny of my country, in the common future of this community represented here in the United Nations Organization, and I must say, after having resisted coup d'état attempts and terrorist attacks, that I trust the human being, the future of humanity. Venezuela says to the United Nations: We trust in the noble ideals of the Venezuelan people, that do not give up, and will not surrender. Thank you very much, dear compatriots of the world. Count on Venezuela for the great causes of the future of this organization, and the future of a multipolar world! Good evening to all of you, thank you.

(UN. Photo: UN. Edited for grammar and style by TML.)

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