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Sunday, June 04, 2006


Hugo Chavez declares OPEC an "anti-imperialist" force

By a stroke of luck I just happened on C-SPAN broadcasting a one-hour speech given by Hugo Chavez at the opening of the latest OPEC meeting in Venezuela on Thursday. Alas, a search of C-SPAN doesn't indicate it will be rebroadcast (actually, it doesn't even show up on the schedule at all), and there doesn't appear to be a video archive, nor can I find a transcript of the speech anywhere online. Too bad, because it was a very interesting speech.

The American media, virtually without exception, headlined one obscure sentence in the speech in which Chavez discussed "Carlos the Jackal" and referred to him as "my friend," and provided the reader with virtually no other details about the speech. Only in the Gulf Times, out of Qatar, could I find any meaningful press coverage of the speech. Some excerpts:

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez yesterday declared OPEC an "anti-imperialist" organisation that can help liberate people in the developing world and told its members the US "empire" would collapse.

Addressing the opening of a ministerial meeting of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, the leftist leader said the 11 oil-producing countries were a force to fight poverty.

"OPEC is an anti-colonial, anti-imperialist organisation, a liberating organisation for the development of our peoples of Latin America, Africa and Asia," he told the energy ministers.

With an OPEC expansion, under consideration, that would include countries from those regions, "the tomb of US imperialism is opened," he said. "The empire is going to collapse in this century."

The fiery US critic repeated his demand of a US troop withdrawal from Iraq and defended Iran, which the United States and others accuse of covertly seeking nuclear weapons, as a "brother people".

"Stop the oppression of the Iraqi people, stop the threat against the Iranian people," he said.

In the past century "we have offered our oil to quench the thirst of the developed countries, while our peoples in Asia, Africa and Latin America stagnate in under-development, misery and backwardness," he added.

"That is colonialism, that is called imperialism," he said.
If anyone finds a transcript or video, post it in the comments and I'll update this post.

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