Maverick trio scoff at the West

2009-12-17 10:14

Firebrand leaders Hugo Chavez, Evo Morales and Robert Mugabe turned

up the heat at the UN climate talks on Wednesday, dumping the blame for global

warming squarely at the feet of capitalism.

In speeches greeted with occasional ripples of applause, the

long-term critics of Western policy lashed out at what they called the hypocrisy

of the world’s wealthy elite.

Chavez, the president of Venezuela, was one of the first world

leaders to take the podium at the venue of the Copenhagen talks.

He seized the occasion to characterise newly-minted Nobel Peace

laureate Barack Obama as a warmonger.

“I don’t think Obama is here yet,” said Chavez.

“He got the Nobel Peace Prize almost the same day as he sent 30 000

soldiers to kill innocent people in Afghanistan, and now he’s coming here with

the Nobel Peace Prize, the president of the United States,” he said.

Obama, who picked up his Nobel last Thursday, is expected to arrive

in Copenhagen on Friday for the climax of the 12-day world conference on climate

change, according to the US delegation.

Chavez, paraphrasing Karl Marx, said “a ghost is stalking the

streets of Copenhagen... it’s capitalism, capitalism is that ghost.”

“The destructive model of capitalism is the eradication of life,”

he said.

Recalling how rich nations last year swiftly pumped hundreds of

billions of dollars into their faltering banking systems, he added: “If the

climate was a bank, they would have already saved it.”

Bolivian President Evo Morales, the Andean nation’s first

indigenous leader, said that the capitalist system itself bore blame for climate

change.

“Climate change isn’t a problem of technology or financing,” he

said at a press conference, referring to key demands of developing nations from

leaders of wealthy states.

“It’s an issue of way of life and a result of the capitalist system

and if we don’t understand that then we’re never going to resolve these

problems,” he said.

The anti-capitalist theme was picked up on by Mugabe, Zimbabwe’s

veteran president who is the target of Western sanctions over alleged human

rights abuses.

“When these capitalist gods of carbon burp and belch their

dangerous emissions, it’s we, the lesser mortals of the developing sphere who

gasp and sink and eventually die.”

The 85-year-old said industrialised countries in the northern

hemisphere which bore historical responsibility for global warming showed none

of the zeal for punishing ‘eco-offenders’ that they did for abusers of human

rights.

“Why is the guilty North not showing the same fundamentalist spirit

it exhibits in our developing countries on human rights matters on this more

menacing threat of climate change?” he said.

“Where are its sanctions for eco-offenders? When a country spits on

the Kyoto Protocol by seeking to shrink from its diktats, or by simply refusing

to accede to it, is it not violating the global rule of law,” he added in

reference to the core emissions treaty which the US has refused to sign.


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