On the global war that is now exploding in Ukraine. A vision of the South and of people who are victims of colonial wars
We, united as inhabitants and citizens of the Earth, work for the peaceful and brotherly collaboration of all peoples. We believe in the possibility of resolving conflicts through dialogue and loving reason, which is at the base of humanity’s ancestral cultures, and not by force of arms, whether financial, such as economic blockades or propaganda wars, armed conflicts, paramilitary invasions, or declared war, as the world has seen in Ukraine since February 2022.
1 – In Latin America and the Caribbean, we are victims of more than a century of wars by the United States government, which attacks in several ways and countless times has invaded our territories, arming and financing coups and dictatorships and provoking genocide against our populations. It is from this revolting reality that we watch the same imperial US government breaking the international agreements that it itself signed, as it did against the Indigenous peoples during the invasion of their territories. It is no longer concerned with disguising the unequal conditions and injustices sanctioned by its treaties and economic agreements imposed on other countries. What is the legitimacy of the confiscation of 640 billion dollars of the Russian reserves, as well as the gold reserves of Venezuela, Nicaragua, and other countries? The United States government applies sanctions all over the world, so that today the countries hit by these blockades represent a large fraction of the world economy. This has grave consequences for the entire population of the planet, and especially for the poor countries of our continent. It is a permanent war of the rich against the oppressed classes, but also a constant manifestation of hatred against the impoverished (aporophobia).
2 – Ukraine is the second largest country in Europe, highly industrialized, with 40 million inhabitants, a fertile territory rich in minerals and energy sources. We know it has been marked by tensions, conflicts, and violence. We understand Ukraine is the cultural frontier between Eastern Orthodox Christianity and Western Christendom. We see as an act of war the coup d’état sponsored by the United States in 2014 and the attempt by the U.S. and the European Union to deploy NATO bases in Ukraine’s territory, an initiative contrary to signed international agreements.
Current events make us ask once again if the existence of NATO still makes sense, as it is an oppressive alliance, with its ideological, geopolitical, economic and arms industry strengthening ever more the power games by which the dominant countries of the North use to oppress the countries of the South, especially the impoverished peoples of Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean.
3 – We agree that the war in Ukraine is part of the global war that Pope Francis has called the “third world war carried out in pieces.” We condemn the Russian military invasion of Ukraine as well as the actions of NATO that served as a pretext for it. We know that in a war like this, there is no innocent side, and no one is totally without blame. Our pacifist position implies advocating a negotiated solution in a diplomatic manner. Russia’s military offensive must give way to the mobilization of all nations that defend Peace with Justice. We are part of the social forces pressing both sides for a peaceful solution to this conflict.
However, we consider it important to denounce the decisive responsibility of the governments of the United States and the European Union in this war. The direct participation of the United States government in financing and overthrowing the legitimate government of Ukraine in 2014 may have been unprecedented in Europe, but on our continent, it is the experience repeated several times in various countries this century alone, and dozens more last century.
4 – We express our solidarity with the civilian populations directly affected by this war, especially the young people, children, and women who see their lives affected by a conflict unleashed by the interest of rulers, large financial corporations, and producers of armaments and fossil fuels.
5 – International data from FAO say that in only the first months of this year, the world saw an increase of 500 thousand victims of hunger. Evidently, this reality is much crueler in impoverished countries such as ours in Latin America and the Caribbean, which are rich in natural common goods, diverse cultures, and accumulated knowledge and technologies, but which have impoverished populations thanks to the domination and exploitation by rich countries, corporations, and local elites.
One of the first consequences of the war –the increase in the price of fossil fuels– immediately impacted the prices of basic foodstuffs and caused the decline in income from work as well as the increase in informal work. This shows us how urgent it is to cancel the subsidies to the big oil companies, break the price parity between national and imported hydrocarbons, and finally, break our dependence on fossil fuels and restructure our energy matrix in a sovereign and sustainable way.
The war also increases the political articulation of the extreme right and new forms of fascism throughout the world, and this also has more dramatic consequences in our countries, whose democratic institutions are already structurally weakened by the new forms of colonialism to which we continue to be subjected.
6 – In the Agora of Earth Inhabitants, we have always affirmed that all of humanity needs to have a voice and space in the international bodies of justice and law.
The context of the Ukraine war has almost succeeded in omitting news about other wars. We especially want to join the peoples of Syria, Myanmar, Yemen, Nigeria, Somalia, Palestine and others, as well as, on our continent, the peoples of Cuba and Venezuela, a country constantly threatened and attacked by paramilitary groups that invade it from Colombia to ensure the interests of world capital in our continent.
It is urgent that peoples, social organizations, and communities become aware that Peace and Justice are matters too important to be left to the discretion of rulers who behave as managers of large economic corporations, owners of wars, and cultivators of conflicts between peoples. It is important that our communities and peoples’ organizations realize that the ecological devastation caused by today’s weapons and the dominant world’s way of life far exceeds any gains that either side in these wars can achieve.
Capitalist society is today at war with Mother Earth, the waters, the soil, the air, and all living things. We must stand not only against wars in their current ferocity, but against the factors that provoke them, as well as the geopolitical, economic, advertising, and cultural expressions that these wars assume.
We invite the communities and grassroots organizations of international civil society to the practice of Active Nonviolence in defense of peoples’ rights, the rights of Mother Earth and Nature, and against transnational and neocolonialist corporations, their products, and their mode of consumption and production.
As fellow men and women in search of Peace with Justice, we call on all humanity to learn from the original peoples the paradigm of Living Well. We call on humanity to practice dialogue as an expression of the brotherhood of life and of the hope that another way of organizing human life in the world is possible, necessary, and urgent.
AHT – The Agora of Earth’s Inhabitants is a global network aimed at a progressive presence of organized civil society –empowered in voice and space– in international, regional and national forums. It focuses its research and action on the transformation of the world system on the basis of solidarity, collaboration, unity of diversity, and the recognition of Nature as subject of rights.
Co-authors: Marcelo Barros, Maíra Melo, Luiz Rena, Moema Viezzer, Anibal Facentinni, Don Lúis Infanti, Riccardo Petrella and Marcos Arruda.
On behalf of the AHT-LAC (Agora of Earth Inhabitants – Latin America and the Caribbean