Mabasa Sasa in Santa Cruz, Bolivia
President Mugabe has called for the Group of 77+China to be at the forefront of creating a global order that represents the interests and aspirations of downtrodden people and oppose domination by Western powers.The President said this soon after landing in Santa Cruz de la Sierra, Bolivia, yesterday where he will attend today’s 50th anniversary Commemorative Summit of the G77+China, which runs today and tomorrow.
President Mugabe is accompanied by Foreign Affairs Minister Simbarashe Mumbengegwi and other senior Government officials.
On arrival, President Mugabe inspected a guard of honour and was then treated to two displays of Bolivian cultural dance and music.
Thereafter, he addressed scores of people who had gathered to welcome him to the South American country, saying Zimbabwe would join the rest of the G77+China in fighting oppression and advancing developing countries’ interests.
“We should come together economically, come together politically, come together socially to form a really, really active and operational Group of 77 that will stand firm and can be relied on to protect our interests and aspirations,” President Mugabe said.
The G77 was established in 1964 and is the largest inter-governmental organisation of developing countries operating within the United Nations system.
Founded by 77 countries, its membership has grown to 133 covering Africa, Asia and Latin America, but retains its original name and continues to pursue development of South-South co-operation and co-ordination of mutually beneficial positions at the UN.
On Wednesday, Xinhua reported the host President Evo Morales saying Bolivia could afford to host the summit because it was “financially solvent thanks to the nationalisation of the energy sector”.
Leaders and their representatives are expected to discuss issues such as unemployment, poverty, climate change and food security.
A matter most participants are looking forward to is presentation by Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro of evidence of a United States-backed plot to assassinate him.
“We are going to show the evidence of assassination plots, implicating opposition leaders and US officials,” President Maduro has said.
Venezuela has experienced widespread destabilisation since the death of the iconic President Hugo Chavez last year, with opposition groups reportedly getting financial, technical and moral support from Washington to overthrow President Maduro’s government and undo pro-poor policies implemented over the past 15 years.
The choice of Bolivia to host the commemorative summit could not have been more inspired.
President Morales is Bolivia’s first democratically-elected leader from the indigenous population.
Morales’ administration has busied itself with poverty eradication, nationalisation and economic empowerment and eroding the influence of the United States and big Western corporations in the local economy and body politic.
President Morales has exacted more taxes from the hydrocarbons sector, has instituted agrarian reforms and boosted literacy.
Expectations are that he will be re-elected by a landslide in polls later this year.
Bolivia itself is named after Simón Bolívar, who died in 1830 and is considered one of the most influential politicians in Latin America’s history.
Bolívar was a soldier and politician who was instrumental in ending Spain’s colonisation of Venezuela, Colombia, Panama, Ecuador, Peru and Bolivia, playing a central role in the creation of a union called Gran Colombia, which he led from 1819 to his death.
The politics and economics of self-reliance and South-South co-operation are central to the ideology of the G77+China.
At their last meeting at the UN headquarters in the United States in 2013, foreign affairs ministers of the G77+China resolved, among other things, to maintain focus on poverty eradication and food security of their peoples.
“Ministers stressed that poverty eradication is the greatest global challenge facing the world today and an indispensable requirement for sustainable development . . .
“Ministers further stressed that, in order to enable governments of developing countries to effectively eradicate poverty, developing countries must ensure national ownership of their own development agenda, which entails preserving their own policy space backed by a strong political commitment to reduce poverty in line with their national priorities and circumstances.”
They also called for strengthening of the UN system and reform of multilateral lending institutions and the international financial architecture to make them more democratic, and debt restructuring.
“The ministers firmly rejected the imposition of laws and regulations with extraterritorial impact and all other forms of coercive economic measures, including unilateral sanctions against developing countries, and reiterated the urgent need to eliminate them immediately,” their declaration read.
“They emphasised that such actions not only undermine the principles enshrined in the Charter of the United Nations and international law, but also severely threaten the freedom of trade and investment.
‘‘They, therefore, called on the international community neither to recognise these measures nor apply them.”