Father Miguel D’Escoto at Rio +20 summit, June 2012

Translation from Spanish original by Leandro E. Silva for The Decolonial Option

Video of this speech (Spanish only) here

Related: Video of Father Miguel D’Escoto Brockmann’s recent appearance on Telesur regarding Las Malvinas here



Madam President of Brazil, Dilma Rousseff, host to Rio +20,

Mr. Sha Zukang, Secretary General of the Conference,

Dear brothers and sisters,

May you all receive the warmest of Sandinista greetings from President Daniel Ortega Saavedra, on whose behalf I am today here in Rio to talk with you.

It seems as if hardly yesterday that here was held, in this beautiful and hospitable city of Rio de Janeiro, the Earth Summit, which really has been the most important meeting in defense of Mother Earth ever realized by mankind.

But in reality yesterday it was not. It happened already 20 years ago, and for having failed to act upon the warnings of Rio in 1992, thousands upon thousands of living species, whose evolutionary development took many millions of years, are doomed to disappear in the lifetime of those present here.

The cataclysmic process in the extinction of species becomes at once irreversible when the maximum tolerable level of damage to each species has been exceeded. To prevent that other species, including the human genus, become extinct, it becomes imperative that this Rio +20 Summit take historic and dramatically generous measures.

Today resound the vibrant, stern, important words spoken 20 years ago at the Rio de Janeiro Summit by Comandante Fidel Castro Ruz, our great prophet in these times of pain and anxiety, but of hope nonetheless.

“An important biological species,” Fidel told us at the time, “is at risk of disappearing due to the rapid progressing elimination of its natural habitat: Man.”

He continued: “Now we are become aware of this problem when it is almost too late to impede it.”

Fidel concluded his remarks saying “yet the solution to this problem cannot lie in preventing the development of those who most need it … If we want to save humanity from self-destruction, the available technologies and wealth of the planet will have to be better distributed. Tomorrow will be too late to do what should have been done long ago. ”

That is why today, 20 years after Fidel gave us fair warning, I address you, dear brothers and sisters, with sadness and regret but also with immense gratitude towards the Brazilian nation for having worked so hard in creating the best possible document to take to task in this unenviable effort to reconcile the nearly irreconcilable, keeping in place the Earth Summit principles, including common and differentiated responsibilities. The final document declared, as expressed by our hostess, that eradicating poverty be accepted as the greatest challenge facing humanity, thus adopting sustainable development goals. We are also pleased that the rights of Mother Earth too were in mention. However, it must be of note that the “Green Economy” of which there has been much talk about at this summit, reflects, in the final document, an environmentalism subject to capitalism, which privatizes wealth and socializes poverty. Brothers and sisters, the inclusion of these concepts will only accelerate the destruction of our Lord God’s creation.

Sadly we find ourselves again within this our United Nations Organization, without the possibility to draw a binding document equal to the demands of the critical situation to our planet and the survival of our species. Our final document represents another wasted opportunity; a repeat of Copenhagen, Cancun and Durban. It is a statement that contributes almost nothing to the fight for our survival as a species.

Regretfully, because our final statement does not at all recognize the knowledge and wisdom of our indigenous peoples teaching us to live in harmony with Mother Earth and within our own human genus. It also reflects not the core values of all our different religions and ethical-philosophical concepts such as love, social justice, defense of life and unity.

However, independently of Rio +20, a growing light of love and unity with Mother Earth and humanity is coming into view, a light of life and hope shining from the South. The seed sowed by our grand prophet in our time, Comandante Fidel Castro Ruz, from the heroic and ever of solidarity Republic of Cuba, is blooming in our Greater Nation of Latin America and the Caribbean. While in Cuba itself the revolution continues to be re-invigorated by President Raul Castro Ruz. We applaud his speech here at Rio +20, short in length but long in content.

After Cuba, the tiny heroic, anti-imperialist and martyred Nicaragua, of Sandino and of Dario, of Morazan and Bolivar, were seen the first rays of a golden Dawn whose radiation and growth is something already unstoppable. With Daniel Ortega Saavedra once again in power, the people of Nicaragua have regained their right to govern and defend, with their soul, the rights of Mother Earth.

After Fidel and Daniel, the Lord sent us another grand prophet, beloved and admired the world wide by its poor, its dispossessed, and its hungry, and by the lovers of peace and justice, the Comandante Presidente Hugo Chavez Frias, who has transformed his country, the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, into the pumping heart of the humanitarian and ecological revolution through our Latin America and the Caribbean.

Soon thereafter we saw the appearance as President of the sister Republic of Bolivia Evo Morales, the world hero to Mother Earth. Bolivia has put the rights of Mother Earth and of native peoples around the world the agenda.

With the emergence of Rafael Correa as president of the sister Republic of Ecuador and with its’ Citizens Revolution, we saw the further strengthening of the liberation movement throughout our Grand Nation. The Yasuni-ITT initiative is a clear example of how we can maintain and sustain within our Mother Earth without damaging and impacting it. And ultimately she can live without us, but we cannot live without her.

In St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Dominica, as well as Antigua and Barbuda, Prime Ministers Ralph Gonsalves, Roosevelt Skerrit, and Winston Baldwin Spencer have joined our great movement of Libertion. Though sadly the Imperialists have in Honduras executed a military coup d’etat to remove President Jose Manuel Zelaya, we are certain that the courageous Honduran people will know how to defend their democratic ideals. In mentioning of the coup, I express the unwavering solidarity of Nicaragua with the President of Paraguay, Fernando Lugo, against whom, the Stroessnerist right wing has consummated what can only be characterized as a coup d’etat.

We cannot fail to mention the important role Brazil played, though Lula, to deepen the unity and achieve an formal eventual consolidation of our Great Nation of Latin American and the Caribbean. This is something that continues uninterrupted, under the presidency of Dilma Rousseff, our beloved host. We take this opportunity to send our fraternal greetings and congratulations to the great Lula.

Argentina, first through Nestor Kirchner and now Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, the country has again become emblematic of Latin American dignity in its struggle for peace, unity and solidarity, unwilling to let her independence, sovereignty or territorial integrity be violated. We support Christina in her courageous struggle to have Las Malvinas returned to us. I mean returned to Argentina, but also to us, because Las Malvinas are an integral and inseparable part of our Great Nation of Latin American and the Caribbean.

With our expression of our love, respect and gratitude to Mr. Sha Zukang, Secretary General of the Conference:

It is the heads of state and not UN officials that are to be charged with the task of reinventing our organization, enabling it to issue the necessary binding agreements and have the necessary power to take, within the framework of active nonviolence, creative measures in enforcement and compliance. This in order that no individual state shall use it as instrument to further allow for the commission of the already too frequent and criminal wars of aggression, wars with total and absolute impunity toward respect for the rights of Mother Earth.

We, with the purpose of assisting Heads of State and Government on how to manage this reinvention, have prepared a draft proposal for reinventing the UN. We will soon circulate it in seven languages, today’s official six languages in addition to Portuguese, which we propose be also declared an official language of the United Nations. I want to thank my friends in the government of Algeria for helping me to translate it into various languages.

I am pleased to be able to report that Nicaragua has become the first UN member country that has formally accepted the proposal for the Universal Declaration of Common Good of Mother Earth and Humanity, one of the three parts that make up our proposal for reinventing The United Nations. This proposal contains in substance the Earth Charter and the Declaration of Cochabamba, elaborated after extensive consultation with experts in our five geographic regions and the indispensable collaboration of our very dear brother, Leonardo Boff.

President Ortega, the faithful disciple of Jesus of Nazareth and Fidel, saw to it that this Universal Declaration of the Common Good of Mother Earth and Humanity be known in even the most remote corners of Nicaragua, in all the colleges and universities and for all citizens to see. A citizenry with whom the Declaration has generated levels of interest and enthusiasm far beyond than that which the final declaration of Rio +20 could ever generate anywhere.

Thank you very much for your kind attention.

Brothers and sisters, let me conclude my talk in invoking Our Lady of Aparecida to intercede for us all and help us to survive the cataclysmic natural phenomenon on the horizon; which we still do not seem to be taking with the seriousness merited.



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