All over planet millions of people die of hunger every year. It is not a secret. Our media agencies tell us such facts quite often. Speaking about global inequality is not taboo in Western liberal democracies. To state that the rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer is to repeat a cliché, a platitude of whose truth almost none are unaware.
But the structural causes of poverty are rarely addressed in the Western press. Why, for example, if capitalism is the best of all possible socio-economic systems, do most of the people on the planet live in poverty?
We are told that developing countries have dragged their populations out of poverty by opening up their markets to direct foreign investment. Rather than reining in the excesses of capitalism, then, intensifying its expansion is, many would argue, the solution to poverty.
But if that is the case, why is Haiti one of the poorest countries in the world? Haiti has had direct foreign investment for decades, yet standards of living have declined drastically. The same can be said for most Latin American countries who have sold their natural resources to foreign corporations.
Countries such as Venezuela, Cuba, Nicaragua, Ecuador, Bolivia have achieved socio-economic progress through nationalization not privatization. But there is a state at the other side of the world which has succeeded in providing almost full employment; is continuously raising wages; investing in education, scientific and technological research and development, and has achieved self-sufficiency in agriculture, creating an environment of social hope for its citizens. That country is the Republic of Belarus.
Venezuela and Belarus. Multi-polarity and endogenous development.
In 2007 President Hugo Chavez of Venezuela described the Republic of Belarus as a “model state”. Driving through the streets of Minsk, it is not difficult to see why the Venezuelan president would use such terms to describe Belarus.
Since the 1998 election of Chavez in Venezuela, the Bolivarian revolution has reduced poverty by half, eradicated illiteracy, and implemented radical reforms aimed at improving the standard of living of Venezuela’s poor majority.
However, much remains to be done; the hillsides of Caracas are still dotted with make-shift slum housing while the city’s economic elite on the Eastern side of the city live in sybaritic luxury.
Driving through Minsk, on the other hand, one is struck by a vision of what Caracas could become. There are no slums in Minsk. The city’s inhabitants live in modern, European standard apartment blocks. There are plenty of clean open spaces with the excellent recreation facilities for children. Caracas has a major litter problem, wheras the streets and neighborhoods of Minsk are among the cleanest in the world.
The Venezuelan government has been implementing measures to reduce violence and social delinquency. But Caracas still remains a dangerous city. Minsk, on the other hand, is arguably one of the safest cities in Europe.
While decades of plutocratic dictatorship, corruption and neglect, Venezuelan agriculture remains underdeveloped and the population still depends on imports from the United States, Belarus is self sufficient in high quality food production.
Belarus has been able to help Venezuela develop its agricultural sector through the dispatch of consultants and the export of high quality trucks and agricultural machinery. The construction of agro-towns by Belarusian companies in Venezuela agreed in 2011 is a cogent illustration of progressive bilateral co-operation.
The bilateral agreement between Venezuela’s state oil company PDVSA and Belarusnef to create a joint-venture called Servicio Belovenezolana is another example of the advantages of a multi-vectored foreign policy for Belarus.
The Republic of Belarus has been able to decrease its dependence on Russia for oil through co-operation with oil-rich Venezuela, while Venezuela has been able to benefit from Belarusian industrial and scientific expertise. Both countries seek to diversify their markets. Venezuela wants to reduce its dependence on oil sales to the United States, while Belarus is trying to reduce its dependence on Russian oil. And both countries are dealing with fifth columns funded by Euro-Atlantic imperialism.
The advanced manufacturing sector in Belarus has also been an inspiration for Venezuela who have sent technicians to Belarus to be trained with a view to creating Latin America’s first national truck factory in Venezuela.
There are also many projects to increase further co-operation between Belarus and Venezuela such as increased imports and exports of agricultural products, medical technology and supplies, and joint state initiatives in the textile industry.
The increasing bilateral trade and co-operation between Belarus and Venezuela is a direct result of the commonalities in social policies of both countries. The five chief priorities of the Belarusian government are:
1 Maintaining equality and raising the standard of living of the working people.
2 Maintaining a full-employment economy.
3 Investment in education and scientific research.
4 The protection and development of a strong indigenous production base.
5 Inviolable national sovereignty
For Venezuela, Belarus is a model state because it has achieved what every progressive government in the world aspires to: near full employment and the elimination of extreme poverty. It has developed an impressive manufacturing base; maintained autonomy in the production of food; a consistently high rate of economic growth, and attained a standard of living and level of social equality unparalleled anywhere else in the developing world.
This is precisely the dream of the Bolivarian Revolution and this is why the experience of Belarus since the fall of the Soviet Union is so important for the developing world.
Unlike Venezuela, which is emerging out of an extreme form of plutocracy where a tiny minority controlled the country’s wealth, Belarus has emerged from the Soviet Union where social classes had been eradicated during the construction of socialism in the 1920s and 30s.
In this sense Belarus has a distinct advantage over Venezuela as it does not have a super-rich bourgeoisie using its connections with the United States to prevent re-distribution of wealth. Belarus does, however, have the aforementioned fifth column but they do not possess the obscene wealth and power of their Venezuelan counterparts.
President Lukashenko’s vision of a multi-polar world threatens the proponents of a New World Order, where the interests of the many are subordinated to those of the Euro-Atlantic financial elites.
Unlike neighboring states such as Poland and Lithuania, for whom “freedom “ since the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 has resulted in mass unemployment, emigration and the supply of troops for NATO’s foreign wars and occupations, Belarus has shown that the state has a vital role in regulating the market for the general good.
If global poverty is to be eradicated, then sustainable industries, endogenous development and planned economies will have to become the norm. Belarus, perhaps more than any other country, could play a leading role in the transition to a new global era of socially-oriented economies.
The Venezuelan ambassador to Belarus Americo Diaz Nunez recently told reporters in Minsk that :
“The two countries are implementing joint projects to construct brick manufacturing plants, assemble tractors and trucks (this facility will open in Venezuela soon), construct agro-towns, produce oil and gas, build more than 20,000 apartments and trade in goods, It is impossible to ignore the fact that Belarus really helps change the life of the Venezuelans,”
The constructive and creative relationship between two countries in different continents aimed at improving the living standards of the many rather than the privileges of the few, is in stark contrast to the belligerent and decadent kleptocracies of the West who mask their lucre-lust in high-sounding phrases about ‘human rights’ and ‘democracy’ while proceeding to kill the social hope of billions of people.
The Venezuelan/Belarus relationship is a unique example of what international diplomacy in a socialist world could mean for humanity.
The international media campaign of demonization, calumny, lies and disinformation about the Belarusian government has fooled not only die-hard proponents of neo-liberal economics but many so-called “leftists” and “progressives”, who have fallen for the Orwellian double speak about “human rights”, “freedom” and “democracy”.
The absence of solidarity by the European “left” with the Republic of Belarus is a symptom of just how corrosive and all-pervasive capitalist ideology has become in Western post-modern societies. This is a trend which will lead to social and political catastrophe if not is not reversed.
Ales Bialiatski: legally a convicted criminal, ideologically a “human rights activist”
On the 8th of August as plans for the siege of Sirte in Libya were underway, American senator John McCain was already signaling that Belarus would be America’s next target for regime change. McCain referred to the imprisonment of Ales Bialiatski, the so-called “human rights” activist arrested by the Belarusian authorities for fiscal fraud in 2011.
Bialiatski is the vice-president of the International Federation of Human Rights,( Fédération internationale des ligues des droits de l’Homme) a sub-organisation of which provided the United Nation’s Human Rights Council with false information in February 2011 accusing the Libyan government of “massacres” in Benghazi.
This false information served as a pretext for a war of aggression that led to the death of tens of thousands of people, reducing a prosperous socially-oriented economy to rubble and imposing a corrupt foreign-selected dictatorship against the wishes of the Libyan people.
The barbaric destruction of the Libyan Jamahirya should serve as a sufficient lesson to any intelligent person of what NATO countries mean by “human rights” “democracy” and the “rule of law”.
Amnesty International’s condemnation of Bialiatski’s prosecution, without showing any proof of a miscarriage of justice on the part of the Belarusian courts, shows that the so-called “human rights” organization is more concerned with providing moral legitimacy for the foreign policy objectives of Western governments than protecting human rights.
Bialiatski was arrested by the Polish and Lithuanian police for fiscal fraud on intelligence supplied to them by Interpol. He was not arrested for his political opposition to the Belarusian government. This is not the first time Amnesty International has falsely accused Belarus of human rights violations and it is unlikely to be the last.
Since Bialiatski’s imprisonment, the Polish government has moved to prevent further Interpol arrest warrants issued from “undemocratic” countries. This is rather farcical coming from a state where wearing a Che Guevara T-Shirt could land you in jail!
The human rights charade is now becoming so ridiculous it is likely to backfire in the long term. Regime change specialists such as Canvas, a US funded colour revolution training centre based in Belgrade, are now orchestrating stunts involving the use of naked women protesting outside the KGB headquarters in Minsk. Behaviour of this kind would get one arrested in any country.
However, the point of the exercise is, in fact, to get arrested, film it and thereby embarrass the KGB. But the KGB, being an intelligence agency, have pre-empted their plans and the silly nudists have only succeeded in catching a cold and providing light entertainment for pedestrians, all in the cause of the ‘revolution’.
That Amnesty International should hold openly take sides in favour of US-funded pseudo-dissidents should not surprise us. After all, the head of Amnesty International USA Suzanne Nossel is a former assistant to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and the man they call Dr. Stranglove, former National Security Advisor, Zbigniew Brzezinski is also a former board member of the same human rights organisation.
The Threat of NATO and its minions.
The war of aggression waged against Libya in 2011 and the current covert war being waged by NATO agencies against Syria have shown that the Euro-Atlantic powers have, as in the past, decided to use war as a means of securing a re-division of the world propitious to their geo-political interests.
The sophisticated disinformation campaign waged against Libya by social media and international satellite TV channels that saw Africa’s richest country bombed to ruins, should serve as a warning to the Belarusian government of the danger posed by NATO to world peace.
Thanks to the exemplary actions of the Belarusian security forces during the post-election riots of December 19th 2010, an unpopular Western-imposed dictatorship was averted. The Belarusian people have seen the horror and immiseration of Western-backed regime change in Serbia, Georgia, Ukraine, Kyrgystan and other countries. The US-funded colour coups have been smashed in the Republic of Belarus and they are not likely to succeed in the near future.
Given the failure of CIA-backed colour revolutions in Belarus in the recent past and the country’s proximity to Russia, it is difficult to imagine what strategy NATO will devise in order to place its puppets in Minsk.
However, a strategy of tension involving the use of covert mercenaries disguised as peaceful protestors such as we have seen in Syria, presents a real danger for the Republic of Belarus in the coming months.
Addressing the Belarusian Armed Forces on February 23rd president Lukashenko noted political and information technologies of Western NGOs effected regime change across North Africa. Belarus, he stressed, has the unity and technical ability to withstand such destabilization.
President Lukashenko once remarked that dishonest journalists can be worse than assassins. The centrality of mass media disinformation during the Libyan war and the ongoing demonization campaign against the Republic of Belarus have shown the danger which news stenographers to corporate power pose for humanity.
The clash between the politics of human endogenous development and the politics of cancerous greed is the internecine conflict facing our world today. If there is to be a future for the next generation, a multi-polar world based on Westphalian sovereignty and endogenous socio-economic development will have to built.
That is why those of us who stand for world peace, economic development and international law, must continue to expose the slanderous corporate media campaign against the socially-oriented domestic and foreign policy of the Republic of Belarus.
Gearóid Ó Colmáin