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The subversive speech of a President at the UN

The address by the President of Colombia Gustavo Francisco Petro Urrego, to the 77th session of the UN comes not only from Latin-American ecological politics, and global ecological ethics, but also expresses a critical spirit that goes beyond the evaluation of environmental sustainability.


Gustavo Petro. Photo from Usaid U.S / Flickr. Creative Commons License.

Germán Ayala Osorio

The head of state was channelling, without saying so, the ideas and perspectives of Pepe Mujica, when as President of Uruguay he addressed the World Summit Rio+20.

On that occasion Mujica told everyone that the economy was holding politics in chains, and that the market was governing the human race instead of the contrary, as it should be.

Petro, also re-baptized what Jean Ziegler and Eduardo Galeano called a few years ago “the criminal world order”, in referring to the wars declared by the United States and its allies to take possession of the oil and gas belonging to countries that they had previously described as supporters or friends of terrorism. Petro preferred to speak of the existence of a “criminal power” or an “irrational power in the world”, in the hands of a northern hemisphere that is both rich and violent, with its societies made sick by their dedication to consume and consume, in order to hide the existential emptiness of a way of life that is degraded and irrational.

In his words, Petro told the leaders of this arrogant North and the members of its miserable societies, that “we serve to excuse them for the emptiness and the loneliness of their own society, which leads them to live in the midst of bubbles and drugs”.

In his speech Petro showed the subversive character that still accompanies him, with which he tries to subvert, disrupt or disturb the criminal and obtuse hegemonic order that the developed countries have imposed.

The same order with which they have managed to dominate the countries of a submissive South, with the help of heads of state who in the past lowered themselves to crawl before this form of domination, only carrying with them some worn-out kneepads.

The case of Colombia is especially blatant. It’s unnecessary to recall the postures which Uribe and Duque assumed towards those who insisted on the failed struggle against drugs, in order for them to take over the lands and forests just so that their sponsors (the sugar producers, palm growers, drug traffickers, paramilitaries and cattle ranchers) could extend their criminal tentacles into valuable ecosystems like the Amazon rain forest, now at risk of disappearing. Petro Urrego stated his judgement that the war on drugs had failed. And he warned, as well, that by not taking climate change seriously we would be at the doors of the “failure of human civilization”.

Speaking without mincing his words, he told the opulent North, that its countries, possessing everything and with all their civilized structures, have turned the planet into a slaughterhouse, degraded the lives of millions of consumers, and made the human species the most dangerous and vile [on earth].

If humanity continues with its clearly unsustainable model of civilization, the human condition will be shown to be perverse and will open the way towards a world of post-nature and post-humanism. So, I am convinced that little or nothing will change, despite the forcefulness of Petro’s address to the UN. And that’s because the focus of the developed countries is on creating scenarios of artificial life that arise from the idea that it is possible to live without Nature. For some time, they have been thinking themselves to be God, to create and recreate life in the service of their corporate interests.

Petro’s speech had a problem, in that he was speaking to millions of citizens who still believe in the human being, in humanity – in other words in a species that is capable of learning to live in peace and to offer love.

Maybe the Colombian President had forgotten that there exists a rich and powerful global elite that is working on the design of future scenarios of post-nature, scenarios which can only be thought of within a post-humanism. While these scenarios are being developed in Artificial Intelligence (AI) laboratories, in Colombia the “dances of death” will be the climax and an inspiration for the continuing “torrents of blood” flowing across the fields and forests of a country that has been historically controlled by an elite that is as irrational and stupid as those that make up the “irrational power [controlling] the world” or its “criminal order”.

*Germán Ayala Osorio: Comunicador social, periodista y politólogo, autor del blog La otra tribuna.

(Translated by Graham Douglas  –  Email: – Photos: Pixabay

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