‘NAM needed to maintain balance in world order’: Augusto Montiel PDF Imprimir Correo

Augusto Montiel, Ambassador of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, speaks to Simran Sodhi

As Venezuela gets ready to host the 17th Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) Summit, Augusto Montiel, Ambassador of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, speaks about the relevance of NAM today in a changing world order. India will be represented at the Summit by Vice-President Hamid Ansari, who is scheduled to depart later this week for Venezuela.

Do you think NAM still holds relevance in the world today?

A: The fact is that organising the 17th Summit of NAM is the most important event to us in the light of the need for balance and peace, and the need to end this status of domination around the world. There are still countries that feel that colonialism exists. We could ask ourselves was 1947 really the end of colonialism in this area, in this region? Has colonialism ended in Africa? It’s not just an academic question but people in their daily lives can also understand that colonialism exists. Just that now we call it neo-colonialism. But if civilisation is the art of living together, then all those who think that life needs to be treated fairly, and all states and nations need to be treated fairly and with respect, would understand that NAM is important.

Three weeks back, the foreign minister of Venezuela visited India and had discussions here. Can you share some details?

As you are aware, three weeks back our foreign and petroleum minister was here. An important component of the relationship between India and Venezuela is energy. One in every three drops of oil and gasoline in India comes from Venezuela. Indian state oil companies along with Venezuelan companies are producing oil in some of the largest oil reserves in the world, which is also the main reason for the US to target the Venezuelan government as a military objective.

Is oil the reason behind the animosity between the US and Venezuela?

That is the main reason for the fuss in the West as far as Venezuela is concerned. The control of this oil is the problem because we want the oil for solidarity, for development. There are countries in the world that want oil only for their own good and for controlling the world. That is not civilisation. That is madness, and criminal. Even the Prime Minister of India has called for a multi-polar world. The international institutions are not reflective of the existing world order today.

As many as 120 countries will be represented at the NAM Summit. What is the message that you want to send out to the world?

The more world leaders attend the NAM Summit, and give an orientation as to who wants a re-structuring of the United Nations system, the stronger will the message be. We want to convey this message to the countries that want to control the lives of other nations. Countries in Europe and the North American continent undoubtedly want to control international institutions like the UN. They want to control UNESCO, but don’t pay the dues.

Do you blame the US for many of the problems of the developing world?

History has very clear pages as to who are responsible for the world’s affairs. Today, we see the control of the UN is over only a few countries. How can we then not say that they [the US] are responsible? You have people like former US president George Bush and former UK prime minister Tony Blair today saying that they are sorry; that they now know that there were no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq; and that they are very sorry but they were misinformed. This is absurd. Their propaganda machinery, with its structure of domination, convinced the world that they needed to invade a country with a lot of oil, all in the name of democracy and freedom. It is all just a sweet story; now they are apologising to the families of 2 million human beings who were massacred, a culture that was killed.

Did Venezuela change the schedule of the Summit twice just to make it convenient for Prime Minister Modi to attend?

No, that is not true at all. A lot of countries requested that the Summit be held near the UN General Assembly meeting in New York, which is held in September, as it would be convenient for the leaders to first come to Venezuela and then move to New York. It has nothing to do with any specific leader. We did send an invitation addressed to the Prime Minister and also to the President of India.

Are you disappointed that Prime Minister Narendra Modi chose to skip the Summit?

The world will thank the leaders who took chances and risks to produce a more balanced and multi-polar world. By not being present at the Summit, the message will not be heard directly. Many have asked us this question. It is for the Indian people to assess and reflect on this. Also, you should seek an answer to this from the Indian Prime Minister and the Government of India.



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