By: Carlos Aznárez / Source: Resumen Latinoamericano / Photo: Ariana Cubillos | AP Foto / The Dawn News / September 17, 2016
If we had to find an international organism that throughout history has substantially represented the interests of progressivist and rebellious third world countries —those with proposals that confront the imperialist model and its interference in the rest of the world—, our first choice would undoubtedly be the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM).
Therefore, the fact that the 17th Summit of the NAM has just been hosted by the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela is important not only due to the discussions that were held on strategies to confront the onslaught of oppression for the peoples in the world, but also due to the necessary support it shows for the host country.
In a short period of time, Nicolás Maduro’s government has managed not only to trump the destabilizing plan of the Secretary General of the OAS, Luis Almagro, but also to diplomatically fending off the right-wing alliance between Argentina, Brazil and Paraguay (and their silent accomplice Uruguay) as they attempted to expel Venezuela from the Mercosur. But the success of the chavist country in the Summit is essential to break the trap of isolation that the empire builds through pressure, cooptation and dirty war —methods that don’t differ much from the ones used when it propped up military dictatorships.
The fact that 120 countries —including not only economic powers but also protagonists of the worldwide anti-colonial struggle— have decided to unanimously support the Bolivarian revolution and grant Venezuela the Presidency of the NAM for the upcoming term, is more than a symbolic gesture: it’s a victory of the Revolution at a time when the imperialist onslaught is trying by all means to fence it in.
A history of consistency
The Non-Aligned Movement was informally born in 1955, when 3 leaders of international politics agreed to cooperate for independence, against colonization and imperialism. Presidents Nehru (India), Sukarno (Indonesia), and Nasser (Egypt) gave the initial step in the Bandung Summit, in Indonesia. In 1961, in Yugoslavia (which was governed by another great leader, Marshal Tito), the NAM was officially baptized and since then it would be the most prominent arena for discussions concerning the struggles of the peoples and it would bring together the freedom movements that were being created to fight injustices and abuses. Of course, Cuba would be one of the Latin American strongholds that would potentiate this space for international cooperation.
The first Summit brought together 14 countries. After that, other countries began to open their eyes to the fact that they had always blindly followed Washington’s commands. The list of adhering nations began to grow and reached 120, which showed a solid front of resistance against the imperial discourse from the US and its allies in the NATO and also to confront other forms of the same evil, such as zionism.
Those who today acknowledge the legacy of these precursors are also aware that the present juncture is very frail. On one hand, because the US and NATO keep on waging war in several regions of the world, the Middle East being one of the most punished over the last couple of decades. Take Palestine for example, it invaded and tormented by Israel and the zionism it represents and yet the heroic people of the West Bank and Gaza resists without fear and keeps on fighting for their independence. Or take the cruelty with which NATO and its mercenaries (disguised as “rebels”) have razed Iraq and Libya, are attempting to do the same thing in Afghanistan and Syria and also aim at the ultimate goal for them: to take down the proud and solid Iranian Revolution.
In Latin America, after the death of Commander Hugo Chávez Frías, the empire has accelerated the execution of its strategy to interfere in every possible way: it reactivated the IV Fleet, opened more military bases with the excuse of providing humanitarian aid or combatting drug trafficking (which is motivated by their country) and economically trampled over nations. The Pacific Alliance is an example of the latter. They are also not afraid of promoting coups —be it “soft”, “parliamentary”, or any other flavor— in order to get rid of governments that, without being revolutionary, were reformist enough to bother the imperialist and capitalist dream of taking ownership of everything. That is; natural riches, essential services of each country and even great masses of land where water, oil, or any other source of energy can be reaped.
Voices against empires
The XVII NAM Summit was the scenario of debates on the aggressive forms of colonial policy and the fundamental self-defense strategies that the people can implement. In his speech, Nicolás Maduro talked about turning the NAM into an organization to address the new international economic order that is being imposed by the UN. But he also highlighted that the current times call for the creation of solid strongholds against colonialism, war and economic plundering.
The President of Ecuador, Rafael Correa, exemplified this point by recalling the rapine of Argentina by the vulture funds and the criminal actions of multinational companies such as Chevrón, Barrick Gold and Monsanto (which was recently bought by the chemical German company, Bayer), true battleships that disseminate contamination and poisoning of land, people and food.
It was a rare luxury to get to listen to the voices that the US regards as the “axis of evil”, but in reality are a fundamental nucleus of resistance and defense of the peoples of underdeveloped countries. The list included leaders of Latin American countries grouped in the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America (ALBA), such as Raúl Castro —a dignified, coherent revolutionary who was always solidarious towards Venezuela, Dilma Rousseff, Puerto Rico and Palestine—, Evo Morales —who spoke about anti-capitalism and decolonization providing as an example his own country, where before his government the exploitation of oil left only 300 million dollars for the Bolivian people, and now the sum is much more fair: 5,000 million dollars. Evo proved that flirting with capitalism is useless: you have to confront it in every arena, cutting the benefits on one hand, and expelling its poisonous agents (such as the DEA or the USAID) on the other.
On the other hand, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani pointed out that it’s not a coincidence that this Summit should be carried out at a time when world peace is under threat, and mentioned that his country has long ago spoken against zionism and the terrorist groups in Syria and the Middle East, as well as the countries that finance them and supply them with weapons.
Another emblematic figure of anti-imperialism was the Vice President of Vietnam, Vu Van Ninh, one of the few countries that has defeated the immense military apparatus of the US. He expressed his nation’s support for the Venezuelan people’s struggle and praised the government for maintaining its independence and sovereignty.
And as if all of this wasn’t enough to raise the hairs of Washington’s officers, the chancellor of the Popular Republic of Korea, Ri Yong-ho expressed that his country is ready for a counter-strike to US provocations. The NAM is one of the few arenas where North Korea is able to express itself freely without being stigmatized. Ri defended the nuclear program that his nation is developing and considered the latest tests as part of a policy of legitimate defense, while the North American military maneuvers in South Korea are a provocation that has put the Korean Peninsula “in danger and out of control”. Therefore, he said, “our nuclear weapons are not in contradiction with the NAM’s stance against nuclear war and proliferation”.
It’s noteworthy that this successful Summit has come at a time when Bolivarian Venezuela is beginning to reap the fruits of its firm counter-offensive against the destabilizing plan of the local right —which was especially evident on September 1, when chavistas massively took to the streets to stop the coup that had been designed by the MUD and Popular Will. It’s also slowly becoming apparent that the Venezuelan economy will see the light at the end of the tunnel and a small recovery may be noticeable by the end of the year.
All of this is added to the fact that the lies of international media terrorism and the so-called diplomatic maneuvers of US and its allies are no longer eliciting the expected results in the population. The NAM’s support of Venezuela and to every country that confronts the empire in some way or the other, is an incentive to keep going against unilateralism and create a solid coalition of countries that aspire to more freedom, a healthier environment and a stronger ideology to break the chains of submission to any form of imperialism.
That’s what the first members of the NAM —Nasser, Tito, Fidel…— aspired to, and that’s what their Latin American heirs, such as Hugo Chávez and the founders of the ALBA, defended with passion.