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


“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


“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.

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions. publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.