Caracas, September 25th 2015 (venezuelanalysis.com) - Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro arrived in New York on Friday where he will participate in the 70th Session of the United Nations General Assembly, due to officially begin on Monday.
Accompanied by his wife and fellow politician, Cilia Flores, as well as his minister of foreign relations, Delcy Rodriguez, Maduro has vowed to “take Venezuela’s voice into the United Nations”.
Venezuela currently holds one of the five non-permanent seats for the organisation’s security council, set to expire at the end of 2016.
On arriving in New York, the head of state and his presidential team conducted a meeting with Bolivian President Evo Morales before heading straight to the General Assembly Hall to hear Pope Francis’ plenary address.
Flanked by fans as he left the building, Maduro stopped to chat to those present before telling reporters that he considered the pontiff’s anti-war speech to be “extraordinary”.
“We need a new humanity where nuclear arms are prohibited and where stricter norms are created so that the United Nations can avoid war and destruction,” stated the president, who went on to criticise the numerous wars that had been waged “against terrorism” but which had ended up creating “even more terrorism” across the globe.
Whilst the UN summit will last until October 3rd and will cover a range of topics such as the ongoing work of the UN, the development of a post-2015 development agenda and the maintenance of global peace, Maduro is also expected to participate in a number of other events during his time in New York, including an Afro-descendent leadership summit in Harlem.
According to press reports, the head of state will also meet with members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) and the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR) during his visit.
In his maiden speech as president at the organisation last year, Maduro heavily criticised the global capitalist system and what he referred to as "imperialist wars". The speech earned the Venezuelan leader praise from progressive organisations and politicians across the globe, including from Cuban revolutionary leader Fidel Castro.
Many are expecting a repeat performance from Maduro this year when the General Debate of the 70th UN Session begins this coming September 28th in which all heads of state have the chance to address the Assembly.
Cooperation in the Caribbean
Prior to arriving in New York, the Venezuelan president also conducted a whirlwind visit to the Caribbean islands of Dominica and St. Kitts where he signed a series of agreements with their respective governments.
In Dominica, which was badly hit by hurricane Erica at the beginning of September, the Venezuelan head of state handed over 300 pre-assembled houses in an official act with the country’s president, Roosevelt Skerrit.
The hurricane destroyed entire villages and estimates place reconstruction costs at 50% of the island’s GDP.
“We have come in solidarity to accompany Dominica in these difficult moments,” stated Maduro.
The head of state also sustained a private meeting with Skerrit to discuss the ways in which Venezuela and the ALBA-TCP (The Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our Americas-Peoples-Trade) can assist the reconstruction effort in the member nation. He departed pledging to strengthen bilateral cooperation between the two countries.
Maduro finished his brief tour with his first official visit to Saint Kitts and Nevis, where he signed a PetroCaribe deal in housing, infrastructure, law and order, education and training, agriculture, healthy, energy and technical assistance with Prime Minister Timothy Harris.
“We sign these agreements to start working on what remains to be done through PetroCaribe and the ALBA, in the name of a true diplomacy of peace and love,” affirmed Maduro.
The Venezuela-funded PetroCaribe alliance has long been an important source of support in the Caribbean, providing oil shipments in exchange for staggered low cost repayments.
According to Prime Minister Harris, the alliance had helped the government to achieve “poverty reduction and improvements in the condition of life of our people”.
“Through PetroCaribe, your government continues to demonstrate a long-lived commitment to the cause of my government and that of fellow regional governments,” said Prime Minister Harris.