As many heads of state and prime ministers ponder the war in Ukraine, I call attention to one head of state, Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro. In a January 1, 2023 interview with Franco-Spanish journalist and author Ignacio Ramonet, President Maduro said, “The war in Ukraine is part of the labor pains of a world that will emerge.” Here is his full commentary on the international situation:
“The world is undoubtedly in a very difficult situation, we are experiencing the pains of giving birth to a different world. We have always advocated the construction of a pluripolar, multicentric world, with different poles of development, power, centers that accompany all regions of the world. The old world of the 15th, 16th, 17th, 18th, 19th centuries, of colonialism, then of the neo-colonialism of the 20th century, must be abandoned for good. No one can believe that from two or three metropolises, one can govern the world, one can subdue the peoples. There are already very strong regions, such as Asia, the Pacific, Africa itself, Latin America and the Caribbean, we are blocks of countries that are becoming poles of world power. Do we have to give up our rights to peace, to development, to scientific and technological progress, to our own cultural models, to our own political models? Do we have to give them up? No. Should we take for granted the unipolar domination of a metropolis that claims to dictate to the world? No. It is the time of a new world, of new geopolitics that redistributes power in the world. The war in Ukraine is part of the labor pains of a world that will emerge.”
What can one make of Maduro’s assertion that “the War in Ukraine is part of the labor pains of a world that will emerge,” coupled with his very positive assessment of Chinese President President Xi Jinping and Russian President Vladimir Putin? Is it a call for “peace” in the abstract? No. Can it be interpreted as an unconditional encouragement of the Russian Special Military Operation without taking into account valid peace initiatives for a political resolution of the conflict? No. In my view, it is above all a call for reflection in these dangerous times for all peoples and governments, regardless of their current options on the Ukraine conflict.
China’s Position on the Political Settlement of the Ukraine Crisis
No other head of state in the world, unless someone corrects me, has packed so much progressive depth on the crisis into just sixteen words. My own reflection, although I am not fully aware of Maduro’s intentions regarding “labor pains,” or in the same interview, “the pains of giving birth to a different world,” is this: what is happening in Ukraine is disastrous; however, the horrors of war were provoked by NATO and, in this second year, this provocative Western project has not yet receded. Thus, until there is a peaceful solution, or “the right to peace” that Maduro also calls for in the January 1 interview quoted above, that takes into account the legitimate security concerns of Russia and the Russian-speaking republics and Crimea, the labor pains cannot be stopped.
However,this outcome will lead to the realization of the “right to peace.” Moreover, in Maduro’s words, the new “pluripolar, multicentric world, with different poles of development [against] unipolar domination of a metropolis” will emerge.
Proof that Maduro and Others are Right
Do these two statements by Maduro still stand the test of time? Illustrating just three of the many examples allows readers to assess both Maduro’s apprehension of U.S. hegemony and to expect the inevitable excruciating, but desired, birth of a new pluripolar world of which Latin America is a part.
Against the backdrop of the January 2023 Maduro statement, in December 2022 statements, firstly, former German leader Merkel admitted that the Minsk agreements were intended to buy time for the Ukrainians to prepare for conflict with Russia, and Putin. Then, former French President François Hollande confirmed Merkel’s remark, the “Minsk agreements let Kiev build up military muscle.” Even though these revelations should have changed the international game plan by naming NATO as the sole culprit of the war, they did not make NATO budge one iota toward peace. Thus, the painful reality of war has been further implanted in the NATO-Ukraine-Russia geopolitical landscape.
Since Maduro’s two statements of January 2023 cited above, the German Foreign Minister has admitted that Europe and thus NATO is at war with Russia.
In addition, General Laura J. Richardson, Commander of the U.S. Southern Command, is proving Venezuela and other countries in the region –indeed almost the entire Global South – right. Here are some excerpts from her January 21, 2023 statement, in which she does not hide U.S. imperial ambitions, but flaunts them as if it were as natural as American apple pie for the U.S. to claim Latin American and the Caribbean as its own.
“If I talk to my number two adversary in the region, Russia, I mean I’ve got, of course the countries, Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua with Russia relationships… 60% of the world’s lithium is in the Lithium Triangle, Argentina, Bolivia, Chile…”
War and Peace and the Bolivarian Factor
When the Maduro government, like Hugo Chávez before him, claims Bolivarianism as their political guide, they are true to their word. For example, Simón Bolívar in a letter to one of his generals, Francisco de Paula Santander, during the break in the war against Spain, wrote:
“Peace will be my port, my glory, my reward, my hope, my joy and everything that is precious to me in this world… If we want peace, we must prepare for war.”
Also, at a time when there is so much talk in the last year about the prisoners of war in Ukraine with the false narrative always directly slanted against Russia, how many people know that “the first international treaty on the regularization of war and the treatment of prisoners and the civilian population” was signed by Simón Bolívar and the Spanish colonialist Pablo Morillo? Where is the “jungle” and where is the “garden”?
After days of mounting international backlash, Josep Borrell, the European Union’s foreign policy chief, apologized for his controversial remarks in which he described Europe as an idyllic “garden” of prosperity and the rest of the world as mostly a “jungle.” He apologized, but it remains the vision steeped in the old, decaying European colonialism. They should instead look to the “jungle,” Venezuela, and its tradition, as opposed to the evil “garden” that is Europe.
After another provocation against Venezuela, Commander Hugo Chávez titled his November 16, 2009 article “If you want peace, prepare for war.”
Before concluding, let me anticipate a criticism of this article by some who might accuse me of not addressing the threat of nuclear weapons. First of all, it is not the main issue. Furthermore, and more importantly, the “threat of a nuclear war” is currently being used as a weapon by those who try to shame us into denouncing “Russian invasion” or accepting other narratives that are also unacceptable to progressive people.
In conclusion, Maduro’s Bolivarian thesis on war and peace shows, and will continue to show, which forces are on the right side of history and which are not. The main purpose of this article is to promote discussion from the Venezuelan perspective. This thesis, “The war in Ukraine is part of the labor pains of a world that will emerge,” is a cause for serious reflection, regardless of one’s views. The stakes are too high to refuse discussion and concerted action.
Full article first appeared in Orinoco Tribune orinocotribune.com
Follow Arnold August on Twitter: @Arnold_August
Arnold August is a Montreal-based journalist, lecturer and author of "Cuba and Its Neighbours: Democracy in Motion" (Zed Books & Fernwood Publishing, 2013). He is also a member of the Network of Intellectuals in Defense of Humanity (Canada).
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