[In the interview below, Tariq Ali talk to Democracy Now's Amy Goodman about Venezuela's bid for a seat on the UN security council and his new book 'Pirates of the Caribbean: Axis of Hope', in which he argues that Venezuela, Bolivia and Cuba form an “Axis of Hope.”. --Ed]
Tariq Ali on Hugo Chavez, the Axis Of Hope and His New Book “Pirates of the Caribbean”
By Amy Goodman and Tariq Ali - Democracy Now
October 17, 2006
Listen to Segment || Download Show mp3
Watch 128k stream Watch 256k stream Read Transcript
Help Printer-friendly version Email to a friend Purchase Video/CD
Ali examines Hugo Chavez’s influence and his legacy and how Chávez’s views have polarized Latin America and examines the aggression directed against his administration. Together Ali argues Venezuela, Bolivia and Cuba form an “Axis of Hope.” [includes rush transcript]
Voting in the race for Latin America’s open seat on the UN Security Council will go into a second day after delegates failed to end a deadlock between frontrunners Venezuela and Guatemala.
Neither country obtained the 125 votes needed to win, but after ten rounds of voting, Guatemala established a wide lead with 110 to Venezuela’s 77. The balloting resumes Tuesday and could last days until one country prevails or the Latin American group decides to bring forth a compromise candidate. Guatemala’s bid for the open seat is heavily backed by the United States.
Venezuela’s President, Hugo Chavez, has become one of the foremost challengers of neo-liberal policies and a constant critic of American foreign policy. First elected in 1998, Chavez’s influence continues to be felt throughout the region. Just this weekend, presidential elections were held in Ecuador that resulted in a run-off between two candidates - leftist economist Rafael Correa will face- off against Alvaro Noboa in a run-off next month. Correa is a close ally of Chavez, while Noboa is openly pro-Washington. Chavez’s social-democratic reforms and his constant taunting of the Bush administration have brought intense hostility from Washignton. Venezuela’s U.N. Ambassador Francisco Arias Cardenas has complained that the US is actively trying to prevent Venezuela from winning the rotating seat on the U.N Security Council.
Well a new book examines Chavez, his influence and his legacy. In "Pirates of the Caribbean: Axis of Hope," author Tariq Ali looks at how Chávez’s views have polarized Latin America and examines the aggression directed against his administration. Ali also analyzes the leaders of two other countries – Cuba and Bolivia and looks at how together with Venezuela, they are sharply challenging American foreign policy.
Tariq Ali joins me in the firehouse studio. Author of several books, his latest is "Pirates of the Caribbean: Axis of Hope."
- Tariq Ali, author of several books including "Bush in Babylon: The Recolonization of Iraq" and "Clash of Fundamentalisms." His new book is called "Pirates of the Caribbean: Axis of Hope."
AMY GOODMAN: Tariq Ali joins me in the studio today. We thank you for joining us.
TARIQ ALI: Good to be with you, Amy.
AMY GOODMAN: Are you following this vote in the UN?
TARIQ ALI: I am following this vote very closely, and I know that the United States is strong-arming even tiny countries, who obviously can’t resist the pressure. And the fact that the United States takes this vote that seriously in a situation in Latin America indicates how much they fear Hugo Chavez, because otherwise this would have been a routine vote. It didn't matter to them which Latin American country sits on the Security Council. There’s no right to veto. But they are fearful that the Venezuelans will use the Security Council as a platform to put an alternative view forward, and we live in a world where alternative views aren’t permitted.
AMY GOODMAN: So what do you foresee happening at the United Nations?
TARIQ ALI: Well, I fear that the Venezuelans will not make it. I think that the United States will probably get its way and that Guatemala, a country with the worst human rights record in Latin America probably, is going to be the representative of Latin America on the Security Council, when a majority of Latin American countries would prefer Venezuela. The majority of Latin Americans are voting for Venezuela, but the United States wants Guatemala, because they will not tolerate a Venezuelan presence on the Security Council.
AMY GOODMAN: We’re talking to Tariq Ali. Your last book was on Iraq. Can you talk about how Iraq relates to Latin America?
TARIQ ALI: Well, I just felt, Amy -- I mean, we all write about Iraq. We talk about Iraq. The situation is incredibly depressing, as some of the images on your own program showed today. And I felt, because I’ve been traveling to Latin America a great deal, that we needed a book out which gave some sense of what is possible in this world and that people were getting incredibly weighed under the constant reports of violence coming out of the Arab world. And here was a part of the world where the only violence was that being directed against popular movements by those who the United States backs, and Chavez and Evo Morales were winning democratic elections and actually giving the people what they had promised them in these campaigns.
So, calling it Pirates of the Caribbean was, of course, tongue-in-cheek, but the Axis of Hope is the strong part of this book, that it shows that you can wake the world up from a neoliberal sleep, in which it has sunk, and that the Latin American leaders have a social vision, which offers some hope to the world at the present time. I mean, what we get from the Middle East is at the moment three occupations and constant battles and struggles and resistance and violence.
- (click here to view entire article)