Venezuelan president Nicolas Maduro has written a letter to US president Barack Obama, arguing against a war on Syria. He also volunteered Venezuela for a peace negotiation commission.
Yesterday, speaking from Nueva Esparta state, Maduro argued that a “peace commission” could check if the alleged chemical weapons were used recently in Syria. He said that if they were, the United Nations should name a “high level commission, in which Venezuela would lend its support, together with the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America (ALBA), in order to negotiate peace in Syria”.
His comments follow the announcement by US president Barack Obama on Saturday that his country should “take military action against Syria”.
Maduro also sent Obama a letter calling for peace in Syria. It was written on Sunday and handed over to the White House on Monday, according to foreign minister Elias Jaua. The translation of the letter is included here:
Caracas 1 September 2013
President of the United States of North America
On behalf of the people of Simon Bolivar and Comandante Hugo Chavez, I am writing to you in defence of the cause of peace and as a staunch enemy of war. This letter calls on you to reflect on the unjust, nefarious and frightening possibility of a U.S. military intervention against the people of Syria.
These words have no other intention, President Obama, than to accompany the people’s demands for a world where peace is the everyday way of understanding ourselves as brothers and sisters. I make these beautiful words of Simon Bolivar mine, entirely mine, “Peace will be my port, my glory, my reward, my hope, my happiness and everything that is beautiful in the world”. In the same way, this is about following the path that Jesus of Nazareth shows us on that beautiful beatitude: Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.
After that important meeting that Secretary of State John Kerry and our Chancellor Elias Jaua had on the occasion of the 43rd General Assembly of the Organisation of American States, held in the city of Antigua, Guatemala , I stated the following : There may be a relationship of respect with the government of the United States, relations on equal terms…We can process our differences. It is in this same spirit that now leads me to address you, with the hope that beyond the differences, we can join hands so that actions as disastrous such as those in Iraq , Afghanistan or Libya are never again repeated. In particular, I want to be a spokesman of the feelings of millions and millions of people in Our America and around the world through social networks, and many other means, who ask for a ceasing of hostilities, as well as for there to be no military intervention by foreign powers in the Syrian Arab Republic. Such military intervention would be disastrous for the entire eastern Mediterranean region, a meeting place of historic paths of our civilisation.
Referring to Bush and the Pentagon hawks, Susan Sontag, that great US and universal conscience, said with sharp irony: “Because they are always right. For them, to demonstrate American power is good in itself. They might as well not capture Saddam Hussein, would not care if the weapons attributed to the former Iraqi regime ever appeared, war was justified by itself, period. On the eve of the invasion they played with four or five excuses and in the end opted for weapons of mass destruction. If the president hadn’t gotten rid of Saddam Hussein he would be in breach of his constitutional mandate to protect the American people. Not another day could be given to the Hans Blix inspectors; the situation required an emergency intervention because Iraqi nuclear missiles were already aimed at our cities...” As you well know, it was a well put together farce, but which resulted in the destruction of Iraq and which killed a million Iraqis. Everything Sontag says is perfectly applicable to Syria here and now: the farce is being repeated point by point. Again, immoral and criminal war is justified by itself, period.
By the way, yesterday the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR) held its VII Summit in Paramaribo, Suriname Republic. The South American bloc issued a joint statement with its position on Syria. I draw your attention to this document condemning external interventions that are inconsistent with the United Nations Charter and also rejecting the development of interventionist strategies of all kinds.
Remember yourself, President Obama, remember where you came from, remember your African-American roots . Remember the shining examples of dignity of Malcolm X and Martin Luther King in which you were educated, and that led you to fight for a better future. Remember your origins: remember yourself as that young leader and social activist from Chicago. Remember how you directly opposed the Iraq war and rejected the whole network of lies with which they tried to justify it.
Do not disregard the beating of consciousness in these words of Malcolm X, which are completely applicable: “And if these people of these different regions start to see that their problem a common problem... and if we the 22 million black Americans see that our problem is the same as the problem of the people who are being oppressed in South Vietnam and the Congo and Latin America -for the oppressed of the earth constitute a majority and not a minority-, then let’s face our problems as a majority that can make demands, and not as a minority who has to beg”. Taking inspiration from the spirit and words of brother Malcolm, I want to convey a firm conviction: Today we are millions of men and women around the planet who take on the right to demand that you definitively reject the possibility of a military venture against the noble people of Syria. As the great John Lennon sang: “All we are saying is give peace a chance”.
‘Does Obama know he is fighting on the side of Al-Qaeda?’ goes the title of an enlightening article by Robert Fisk recently published in The Independent. Fisk says: “There will be some irony, of course. While the US uses drone strikes to kill members of Al-Qaeda in Yemen and Pakistan, -along, of course, with the usual groups of civilians- the US will at the same time facilitate, with the help of Mr. Cameron, Hollande and other small politician-generals, material assistance in Syria to get the enemies of Al-Qaeda. In fact, you can bet your bottom dollar that the only target that the US is not going to bomb in Syria is Al-Qaeda or the Al-Nusra Front. There you find the dangerous sea of contradictions on which the U.S. foreign policy has fallen.
I would anxiously ask you, President Obama, in the light of Fisk’s reflection: are you going to declare and start a war to promote the accession to power of Al-Qaeda in Syria?
May the Syrian people resolve their conflicts themselves, under the sacred right to self-determination that is bestowed on all sovereign nations. All mercenary forces should that have caused so much destruction and so much death already, should leave Syria.
As comandante Chavez said, this is a new Armageddon. In a world that is under the real threat of a permanent war, no one is safe. Is that the world you want? A world where the peace of cemeteries reigns?
At this time of crucial decisions, we wonder together with Howard Zinn: “Shouldn’t we ask everyone to forget their inflamed speeches for a moment and imagine what war will mean for human beings whose faces we will not come to know, whose names will not be seen except in some future war monument?” What we do in pursuit of lasting peace and stability of any nation on the planet will never be enough, because the wellbeing of a people exalts us while their pain diminishes us to the vilest inhumanity.
We, from the love of peace that the Venezuelan people cultivate, reject war and say no to bombs, desolation and death. That is our hope, the same that fed the soul of Martin Luther King when he said:”If I knew that the world would end tomorrow, I, today would still plant a tree”. This tree is the one we want to flourish in these tense and ominous times.
I aspire and hope that the call that I have made to you in this letter, Mr. President, doesn’t fall on empty ears. I aspire and hope that you rectify and proceed to stop the war machine that has already been set up. I aspire and I hope that you stop the beating of the funeral drums of war on Syria. I pray for it to be so.
Peace in Syria and the world!
Chavez lives, the homeland continues!