The United Nations at 75: Cooperation or Apocalypse

By Ángel Guerra Cabrera on September 24, 2020

Photo: Valery Sharifulin/TASS

This week the General Assembly of the United Nations will commemorate the 75th anniversary of the organization. Among the subjects under discussion are the multi-faceted challenges of the pandemic, and the post-pandemic, as well as gravely serious threats like catastrophic climate change and the nuclear arms race.  It is for this reason that in the title of the article I have used the word apocalypse quite deliberately:  apocalypse, according to the dictionary, means “a catastrophic situation caused by natural or a human agency, which evokes the image of total destruction.”  Here I am referring to human agents, since the forced enrollment into the capitalist system has made our human species at the same time both perpetrator and victim of the pandemics, the climate crisis, and the arms race, all phenomena which push us toward disappearance from the face of the Earth.  It is still possible to avoid this tragic outcome if we advance toward a radical social transformation that puts an end to the extravagant wastefulness of capitalism and encourages the building of a world of solidarity and brotherhood.  This means the most democratic action possible – to act so that the right to life of the immense majority of human beings may prevail over the illegitimate lust for profit of ever tinier elites of financial giants.

In the General Assembly, there has been no lack of lucid words of world leaders, beginning with the truly accurate opening remarks of the General Secretary, Antonio Guterres of Portugal. “Twenty-five years after the Beijing Platform of Action, gender inequality continues to be the greatest individual challenge to human rights in the whole world.  A climate catastrophe approaches.  Biodiversity has been destroyed.”  He added words about the danger entailed by nuclear weapons, as well as the dangers created by new technologies and the fragilities that the pandemic has exposed.  We can only confront these together, he said, and then put his finger right on the sore spot, today we have a surplus of multilateral challenges and a deficit of multilateral solutions. Guterres renewed the call for a cease-fire.

There was no lack of speeches totally contrary to those of the Secretary General, including that of Trump (America First), his puppets Bolsonaro, Duque, Piñera, Moreno and their clones, all exponents of the decadent Latin American right-wing, to say nothing of the depressing leaders of the European Union.

The messages of Putin, Xi Jinngping , and Iran’s Hasán Rohaní had important contributions for achieving peace, cooperation, multilateralism, and international solidarity.  To tell the truth, of all those speeches that I read, and there was quite a few of them, the one that seemed most complete and showed most integrity was the one by the President of Cuba, Miguel Diaz-Canel, because it also synthesizes many of the best ideas expressed.

“The solution of the pandemic calls for the democratization of this indispensable organization, so that it can respond in an effective manner to the needs and aspirations of all the people of the world.  The much-desired right of humanity to live in peace and security, with justice and freedom, based on unity among nations, is constantly threatened.  More than 1.9 billion dollars are wasted today in a senseless arms race based on aggressive and warlike imperialist policies, whose leading exponent is the current government of the United States, responsible for the global military outlay.  We are speaking of a regime notably aggressive and morally corrupt, that despises and attacks multilateralism, carries out financial blackmail in its relations with the agencies of the United Nations systems, and, with a level of arrogance never seen before, has withdrawn from the World Health Organization, UNESCO, and the Council of Human Rights. Today we are the pained witnesses of the disaster that the irrational and unsustainable system of production and consumption of capitalism has brought to the world, to decades of an unjust international order and the application of a crude unrestrained neoliberalism which has aggravated inequality and sacrificed the right to development of all peoples.”

Diaz-Canel also referred to the financial strangulation imposed on Cuba by the United States, which apparently will not rest as long as one single barrel of fuel remains in Cuba.  This situation closely resembles that of Venezuela, as expounded by President Nicolas Maduro who received expressions of solidarity from his Cuban counterpart, also called for the independence of Puerto Rico, the return of the Malvinas to Argentina, the formation of a Palestinian State as agreed upon by the United Nations, and for all those who are suffering from the ferocious attacks of Washington.

The Cuban leader also discussed the successful effort to confront coronavirus in his country, where it has been much less deadly than elsewhere in the region and the world.  As one would expect, he highlighted the 46 Cuban medical brigades deployed in the battle against COVID-19 in 39 countries and territories.  Their work is evoking a universal cry for them to be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.  These brigades demonstrate that it is possible to forge the solidarity that humanity desperately requires to survive and to live with dignity.

Source: Pupila Insomne, translation Resumen Latinoamericano, North America bureau