The Honourable Ban Ki-moon
New York, NY 10017
United States of America
Dear Mr. Secretary-General,
I wish to bring to your attention the serious concern of millions of Venezuelans, including myself, by your participation in the Community of Latin America and Caribbean States (CELAC) conference in Havana last week, sponsored by the governments of Venezuela and Cuba. Your decision to attend this conference draws particular attention to the unique role of the Secretary-General as the leader of the United Nations, the pre-eminent world body that has set in the preamble of its Charter the mission to promote and encourage friendly relations among nations and respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms. Your attendance is being closely observed because the factual agenda of the conference was not to search for solutions to poverty in Latin America and address its development challenges, but to reject the authority and spirit of the Organization of the American States (OAS) and replace it with CELAC, with the goal of weakening the role of the United States and Canada in the region’s affairs, as well as promoting dictatorial regimes with Communist ideology in the region. Moreover, frustration among the Venezuelan people increases by your statements linking the UN organization’s success to that of CELAC and praising the Cubans' achievements in the social areas.
Under the UN Charter, the OAS is a regional organization that has a long history of fruitful collaboration with the UN, rooted in explicit mandates and resolutions by their respective governing bodies and the terms set forth in the mutual General Agreement on Cooperation. I believe that better than rejecting this experienced regional organization, its strengthening would have been more in accordance with these two organizations’ Charters and agreements on cooperation, and would have provided enhanced material benefits to the Latin American countries.
Your organization’s credited accomplishments on poverty tell us that capitalism and democracy - fiercely repudiated by Cuba and Venezuela - have, despite imperfections, improved the living conditions of more peoples than all other socio-economic systems combined. Low income people today in the USA and Canada, Europe, Japan and in many emerging countries all over the world as well as in your own country South Korea, enjoy a standard of living far higher than even that of the middle class of 40 or 50 years ago. Many material comforts that were affordable only by the wealthy not long ago are today enjoyed by many low-income people in these countries. Furthermore, most elementary reports on development and poverty teach us that development and social justice will never be achieved when a country is controlled by a dictatorship, or worse, when it is under a Communist authoritarian regime as we saw in Eastern Europe before 1989.
Mr. Ban, I do believe that if you had moved out from the “enchanting” environment of the conference to meet with the real people in Cuba you would have refrained from expressing your admiration for the country’s social progress. My many missions to Cuba as a director of development assistance in a multilateral institution allow me to express that that country could not stand by itself and survive if it were not for the generous charity of the international community and Cuba's massive selling of military and political mercenaries disguised as “medical doctors” and “teachers.” In Venezuela, a major oil producing country with probably the world's largest oil reserves, in contrast to the socio-economic progress observed in many other developing countries poverty has substantially increased and the middle class is quickly disappearing. This is the result of the destruction of the country’s economic infrastructure and the imposition of Communist “inspired solutions by the Bolivarian Revolution.” Differing from you, I believe there is nothing good to learn either from these two countries or from CELAC. Mr. Secretary-General, as a Chinese economics professor told me while I was visiting Beijing some time ago, “ask Marxist questions but ignore Marxist answers.”
Mr. Secretary-General, with my country in mind, and taking the opportunity of this letter, I would like to remind you that the Venezuelan opposition is doing everything possible in its struggle for democracy in the country. As you know, Mr. Nicolas Maduro, unconstitutional president has no respect for human rights. He is continuing his predecessor's policy of threatening and bribing leaders of other countries in the region to make them follow his example and be his accomplices in his state sponsored terrorism program that he has been inflicting upon his opponents both domestically and regionally. Internally, Mr. Maduro has expanded this violence against the authority of dissident state governors, parliamentarians and other representatives of the Venezuelan opposition and civil society. Constitutional rights of millions of Venezuelans have been violated systematically and on a daily basis. I would be happy to see you invite leaders of the opposition to meet with you. This would acquaint you with the deteriorating political and economic situation in Venezuela, while they could hopefully gain your understanding and support. Prevention of severe social conflicts and violence, as feared for the country, is of growing urgency and a mandate under the UN Charter.
Dr. Luis E. Gonzalez
Economist, Ph.D. in Economics
Former Director for Latin America, North Africa and Europe
The OPEC Fund for International Development
Lecturer at the University of Vienna
Cc. H.E. Samantha Power
U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations
Vienna, February 3, 2014