By: Cris González / Source: Correo del Alba / The Dawn News / June 7, 2017
A few days ago, Correo del Alba interviewed the Secretary General of the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America – Trade Treaty of the Peoples (ALBA-TCP), David Choquehuanca.
An outspoken integrationist, this former Chancellor of the Plurinational State of Bolivia spoke about politics and economy in the southern hemisphere, the role being played by the Organization of American States (OAS), the destabilization of Venezuela, the Defense of the Bolivarian Revolution, as well as the urgency of establishing a profound continental integration.
What’s your analysis of the world juncture? What’s your take on Latin America?
I could begin by saying that in the world there’s uncertainty and indignation, that we have several crises to address, and that the disorder, or chaos, is the result of the application of a model of predatory capitalist development that causes despair in the people that move the strings of power, in the powers that fight not only over the control of strategic natural resources but also of the countries that possess those resources like Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, and others, which are at risk of being militarily intervened.
In the Middle East, many people are running away from the wars caused by those interventions. In Africa, natural resources are at the mercy of transnational companies that have never cared about the wellbeing of the peoples. In our region, we were apparently unbothered because we had initiatives to build integration, guarantee peace and social justice, and use natural resources to benefit everybody. These decisions had been made by Presidents like Lula [da Silva] and Néstor [Kirchner], whose philosophy was based on tending to the demands of their peoples. This led to the birth of the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR)—an alternative of integration to build unity.
Soon, a wave of abrupt changes was unleashed. Dilma [Rousseff] and Cristina [Kirchner] are no longer in power, and Argentina as well as Brazil are once again making policies that serve the interests of transnational companies instead of the defense of our sovereignty, natural resources, etc. They have an attitude of interference, they create instability and cause growing and justified concern to progressivist Presidents like Maduro in Venezuela, Correa in Ecuador and Morales in Bolivia.
Is Venezuela a target of this continental conservative onslaught? Paradoxically, could it be the victim of agressions due to its many natural resources?
The situation that Venezuela is facing right now could affect Bolivia, Ecuador or anyone possessing strategic natural resources, it’s a “crisis” created from the outside, which obeys a strategy that was created in foreign land, that’s why I praise how the Venezuelan people defend their natural resources, peace and sovereignty. Those promoting violence in the country wish for a foreign intervention and privatization of natural resources, and there are international organisms, such as the OAS, that serve these imperialist interests.
Could you elaborate on the OAS’ campaign against Venezuela?
All international organisms have universal principles: respect for the sovereignty of the peoples and non-interference in internal matters of the states. These principles are present in the United Nations, the OAS, and all regional and worldwide organisms.
But the OAS has gone against these principles, and under Secretary General Luis Almagro it has attempted to become a political actor in the internal affairs of this Caribbean nation, without contributing to sole them.
What’s the OAS’ purpose?
This organization was created to, somehow, be the voice of our peoples, although for years it has been challenged, since some of its structures are at the service of the United States and are funded by them.
Currently, we see that Almagro and the organization are attempting to destroy the unity and strength of a group of member countries, encouraging internal crises and divisions, which ends up debilitating and discrediting it.
President Morales has made a wake-up call to the OAS, by demanding an analysis of the behavior of the Secretary General and to take measures to stop its actions, which, in the particular case of Venezuela, has violated all established norms.
They have also not hidden their interest in judging Bolivia’s institutional system
True, Almagro has attempted to interfere in Bolivia’s internal matters, issuing judgements on the legal processes some citizens are going through, and, without anyone asking, appointing a representative to take care of issues pertaining our country.
What’s the true Almagro? The one you met when you were a Chancellor or the one that is turning on the continent’s progressivist movements?
I believe he’s showing his true face now. He reached the OAS thanks to the recommendation of former [Uruguayan] President Mujica, but he betrayed his trust and the trust of those who supported him.
How should the OAS act regarding Venezuela from now on?
Now that Venezuela has taken the sovereign decision of withdrawing from the OAS, I believe they shouldn’t insist on interventionism and aggression.
You have been elected Secretary General of the ALBA. What does this mean in political and personal terms?
Personally, I’m convinced that the road we must travel is the one of unity, integration of our continent, which has been systematically torn apart and pillaged, and, at the same time, it has produced leaders who have never given up, like Tupac Katari and Simón Bolívar, plus many men and women who fought for a Great Motherland.
I’ve had the opportunity to participate in many meetings and I’ve heard numerous speeches highlighting the importance of integration. In one of his interventions in the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR), Commander Hugo Chávez said: “this organism is meant to build unity among all of the inhabitants of the region, to walk again down our own paths and value ourselves, become aware of the riches we have and that the management of these riches is in our hands. The UNASUR is meant to enable us to make our own way, and not follow the ways of the North, it’s for us to work in our own best interests and not in the interest of others, it’s meant to build unity with our own ideas. That way is called integration”.
Likewise, we’ve seen that countries with similar ideas can create a different space of integration, to build harmony and put the interests of the peoples in the first place, that is endowed with structures for collaboration, and complementarity, and guided by principles of solidarity and sisterhood.
In fact, a few weeks ago, French candidate to the presidency Jean-Luc Melenchon expressed his desires to form a part of the ALBA if he was elected.
Despite it being a very young organization, the ALBA is internationally recognized. Surely, the French candidate knows our work and agrees with what it stands for: to build harmony and peace, which is something many people want for their children.