Interview with Adolfo Pérez Esquivel
Bush is a danger to the entire world. He is not respectful of the Declaration of Human Rights or international treaties or the Security Council of the United Nations. He invades countries, he lies to the world and to his own people. Bush is responsible for crimes of lèse-humanité, massacres in Iraq and in Afghanistan and the Guantanamo prison camp. He talks about terrorism, but he refuses to denounce the state terrorism of the United States. In Latin America, Bush is a threat because the Americans are building military bases all over the continent—in Panama, in Colombia, in Ecuador and in the Pacific.
Recently, US troops have arrived in Paraguay, where the government has given them immunity from prosecution throughout their national territory and especially at the border with Bolivia, because Paraguay possesses great reserves of water. Bush wants to impose the Free Trade Agreement of the Americas (FTAA), but free trade is only a lure, because it is the rich countries that control prices and economic development for the poor. The march in Mar del Plata against Bush is blowing the whistle on the pillage of Latin America.
In considering FTAA, what model do you see for Latin America: that of Brazilian President Lula or that of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez ?
There is no model. The only models are self-determination and regional, cultural, social and political integration. It doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t trade with Europe but there’s a condition—sovereignty must be respected. We should take advantage of the positive things that Hugo Chavez is doing. He has been working on regional integration. In Venezuela, he’s been successful in combating illiteracy and has prepared a generous budget for healthcare and for fighting poverty. Yet he is accused of populism because he is helping of the dispossessed.
What significance do you see in the announced presence of President Hugo Chavez at the Peoples’ Summit, the anti-Bush counter-summit?
It’s a loud and clear signal. I wonder why he is the only head of state participating in the Peoples’ Summit. Why are the others erecting so many barriers to protect themselves from the people? There is a native Ecuadorian woman leader who will read give his own address.
Interviewer: Christine Legrand, Le Monde, 5 November 2005
Adolfo Pérez Esquivel was born in Buenos Aires in 1931. After training as an architect and sculptor he was appointed Professor of Architecture. In 1974 he relinquished his teaching post in order to devote all his time and energy to the work of co-ordinating the activities of the various non-violent elements in Latin America. He won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1980.