Wednesday, January 14, 2004


The Special Summit of the Organization of American States, hosted by Mexico’s President Fox—on his knees before the power of Washington—in Monterrey was so entertaining—sometimes so infuriating—that Raven and I did not squeeze in a blog during the 2 days of the conference.

As my blood pressure edged toward the normal range last night, I fell asleep before the hour of the 10 o’clock news. Raven was out catting around (can birds cat around?), but the kids woke me up to watch an interview with Venezuela’s President Hugo Chavez—fun to watch him restraining himself from turning the sheep-eyed interviewer upside down and spinning him around. He ended with a few bars of “Mexico Lindo”….

Today’s La Jornada, Raven pointed out, has some very entertaining passages from Chavez’s contribution to yesterday’s sessions. Raven has been kind enough to translate them:

In the third and final work session Chavez said: “Latin America is at the gates of hell—it’s on the wrong track, and it’s necessary that the continent’s leaders assume their responsibility to revert this situation.

About the humanitarian fund which was proposed in the final declaration, he asked that it be financed by a part of the resources that Latin American pays for external debt and by money impounded from drug trafficking.

Finally, he expressed that his government was glad that corruption would be combated, and could not resist adding: “I have located various corrupt Venezuelans. I know where they live and that they have many millions of dollars that they took out of Venezuela. I can give you their addresses right now.”

In the press conference Chavez affirmed that a new leadership is forming in the continent: “No one should feel offended, but this new force, this whirlpool, in South America is stronger than the currents of the Amazon and the Orinoco.

In the dispute that emerged between the presidents of Chile and Bolivia (result of Chavez saying he was dreaming of going swimming at a Bolivian beach, then seconded by Jimmy Carter, Kofi Annan and others), Chavez took Bolivia’s part: “Lagos squashed Bolivia”—and added with uncontainable sarcasm: “and he’s a socialist!” He recognized that the Chilean leader received a lot of internal pressure, but decided to continue putting his finger in the wound: “When Bolivia obtains the corridor to the sea that they’re demanding, I will offer Bolivia the resources necessary to construct the highway.”

And he finished by saying: “When I heard Ricardo Lagos say that Chile owed nothing to Bolivia, I got so mad that I demanded coffee and candies!”

Thanks, Rave.

No comments: