Open Letter to the Presidents of the Union of South American Nations

In the name of the spirit of freedom and justice in this era of supreme greatness that gathers us in this luminous present, I would like to extend to you all, my most sincere and fraternal greetings.

In the name
of the spirit of freedom and justice in this era of supreme greatness that gathers us in this luminous present, I would like to extend to you all, my
most sincere and fraternal greetings.

I would like to begin by recalling the fact
that on August 10, 1809, the valiant Ecuadorian people proclaimed the First Cry
of their dearly desired independence in Quito. The same city that today, 200 years after first
embarking on our incessant process of independence, we gather for the purpose
of responding to an irrevocable commitment and concrete hope: to honor the
effort of a whole generation of freedom fighters, who traced the path of the
new republics of Our America.

In the
light and shade of this libertarian seed spread by our predecessors in these
imposing lands of Abya Yala [1], the idea of the union of republics, proposed
by the Liberator [2] throughout his political life, has been revived.

The same
Bolívar that left us these visionary words on September 6, 1815, in his Letter of
Jamaica, which was written in response to citizen Henry Cullen, a British
national residing in Falmouth, as a marvellous ideological dairy which
continues to be opportune and truthful, allow me therefore to include these
lines: Surely, union is what we need to complete the work of our regeneration.
However, our division is not surprising, because that is the hallmark of the
civil wars formed generally between two parties: conservatives and reformers.
The former are generally more numerous, because the rule of custom produces the
effect of obedience to the established powers, the latter are always less
numerous but more vehement and illustrated. Thus the physical mass of the one is balanced
by moral force of the other, and the contest is prolonged due to the uncertain nature of its
results. Fortunately, between these two, the masses have chosen intelligence.

Bolívar revealed one of his greatest desires: to see all the nations along the
width and breadth of our continent united in a Great Homeland.

The spirit
of the nation of Colombia was first expressed in Angostura, bathed by our
indomitable Orinoco, in the year 1819. Emerging from the dreams of Miranda [3],
Colombia was made a reality by our Bolivar that year and although he was
broken, his spirit, now more than ever, must be expressed to remind us that it
will never be lost.

Our union
was for Bolivar, a prodigous goal, which can only be reached through sensible acts and well-directed efforts. And today – 200 years after that enormous
historic gesture – the birth of the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR),
is a true sign that the process of liberation of our nations continues to
impose itself more vigorously than ever.

However, after presenting all this historical synthesis, I have to
say with absolute regret that the unity and independence of our countries
constitutes a threat to those who aspire to continue controlling our natural
resources, our economies and our political will; that is, our sovereignty.

faced with the progressive and democratic advances in our continent, the U.S.
Empire – which in the past one hundred years exercised its hegemony over the
life of our republics – has launched a retrograde and anti-historic
counteroffensive, with the aim of rolling back the union, sovereignty and
democracy of our continent, and imposing the restoration of imperial domination
in all spheres of life of our societies.

In this sense, we share the vision of many in Latin America and the world: this
counteroffensive was launched on June 28 of this year, with the perverse coup
d'état committed in the sister nation of Honduran. The putchists in Honduras,
and the powerful conservative spokespeople in Washington, say that this
operation against President Zelaya was a manoeuvre designed to destroy the
Bolivarian Alliance of the Americas (ALBA).

Our alliance is a project of peace, social justice, of solidarity-based union, of
participatory democracy with and for the majorities of our countries; and at
the same time a project of independence guided by legitimate leaderships of the
humble people of today.

This infamous coup was met with a dignified response by the Honduran, confronting repression and showing that they are worthy successors of the
heroic Morazán [4] that 200 years later still watches on.

in the interests of the unity that has always convoked us, and also following
the events of recent times, allow me to call to your attention:

on behalf of my government, I would like to express that we are truly and
deeply worried by the tense situation with the Republic of Colombia, in
relation to the installation of, at least, seven U.S. military bases in that
endearing and brother South American territory.

We want to
denounce, here and now, that this is part of a political and military plan
orchestrated to put an end to the project of the Union of South American
Nations (UNASUR), as well as being the biggest threat in this historical moment
to the infinite riches that lie in our continent, that is: black gold, our oil;
blue gold, our huge water reserves; green gold, our Amazon.

recent years, we have denounced the permanent harassment of our country and our
Bolivarian Revolution, by the elites who run the U.S. Empire. Our people have
defeated – to the astonishment of international opinion – coups, economic
sabotage and the onslaught of stark media terrorism of a national and
international reach. Brothers and sisters from South America: the media
campaign and political justifications of the government of Colombia and the
chiefs of these military bases are a threat to peace, independence and the
rights of the people of Venezuela.

In recent
days we have received expressions of concern and solidarity from the peoples
and governments of the continent, as well as an important sector of Colombian
society. Those who threaten us believe that they can halt the progress of the
new and heroic story that we write today in peace: ensuring others respect you is the indestructible guarantee of
your efforts to survive, said Jose Gervasio Artigas.

But as with
200 years ago, when our people pushed back the decaying Spanish empire, today
we have superior moral and political conditions for neutralizing these
warmongers and in doing so, ensuring that our continent is a land of peace,
without military threat.

It would be
a grave mistake to think that the threat is only against Venezuela, it is
directed towards all the countries in the south of the continent, as comrade
Fidel said in his reflections entitled "Seven daggers in the heart of America."
Geopolitically, we are  to the South of
the hegemon, and it is a reality that, beyond the political persuasions of the
world's governments, the problem of war concerns all of humanity.

Our desires have never been secret, and this eternal truth was said by the Apostle
of America, José Martí, in 1884, that even today, remains an unresolved
question: "What are we, General (Máximo Gómez)? Are we the heroic and modest
servants of an idea that fires up our hearts, the loyal friends of a people in
trouble or those brave and fortunate caudillos that with a whip in hand and a
heel in the spur will drive a people to war, in order to afterwards possess

We can not
obscure the clamor of the Colombian people and their desire to achieve peace in
their country. Seven decades of war inside Colombia, will only be resolved
through a political and negotiated solution that respects safeguards and enjoys
the support of all South America.

The people of Colombia have the right to peace. A servile elite, whose
business is war in our sister country, can not expect to expand and impose its
armed conflict with the intention of stigmatizing and destabilizing the
progressive and revolutionary movements that in a legitimate, democratic and
peaceful way move forward with our dreams and the banners of our freedom
fighters, to accomplish the pending tasks of union, justice and independence.

We do not
believe in a society completely free of conflict, that would be the realization
of a dream, but we understand that we are called upon to better manage
conflicts, to recognise them and contain them, living not in spite of them but
rather productively and intelligently with them. Only a skeptical people,
mature enough for conflict, is a people mature enough for peace, to paraphrase
our Colombian brother Estanislao Zuleta.

And if we
want real peace, we must respond in time with clarity and courage to the
deepest needs of our people.

The hour of South America has arrived, the hour of UNASUR, we trust in the
political capacity of our nascent union to confront this current threat, that
compromises the future of our republics, the future of our peoples and the
future of all humanity.

Let's follow, comrades, the maxim of Bolivar, let's constitute that great
American Covenant to form a political body made up of all of our republics, to
present America to the world with an aspect of majesty and grandeur without
example in the previous nations. America united in such a fashion, if the
heavens concede us this desired outcome, may be able to call itself the queen
of nations and the mother of republics.


Hugo Chávez Frías

Ecuador, August 10, 2009


  1. Abya Yala –  is an
    expression in the Kuna indigneous language which means "land in its full
    maturity", and has been used to refer to Latin America since before the
    time of Columbus' arrival.

  2. Simón Bolívar 'The Liberator' (1783 -1830) –  one of the
    most important leaders of Latin America's independence struggle from Spain.

  3. Francisco de Miranda, (1750 -1816) – a Venezuelan revolutionary.

  4. General José Francisco
    Morazán Quezada (1792-1842) – considered one of the most important
    military leaders in the history of Central America.

by Kiraz Janicke for Venezuelanalysis.com