Winter of global discontent, UN leader predicts

David Brooks


Newspaper La Jornada
Wednesday, September 21, 2022, p. 24

New York. Crisis is the most repeated word at the start of the general debate of the General Assembly of the United Nations Organization (UN), the largest annual parade of political speakers in the world for a week, who confirm that the planet is on the verge of multiple international catastrophes between wars, pandemics and climate change, that is, everything that this organization and its world order was built to avoid.

Secretary-General Antonio Guterres opened the 77th session by declaring that “a winter of discontent is coming on a global scale. The cost of living crisis is raging, trust is crumbling, inequalities are skyrocketing, our planet is on fire… and the most vulnerable are bearing the brunt,” summarizing the state of the world.

Given this, he stated: “the Charter of the United Nations and the ideals it represents are in danger. We have a duty to act. And yet we are locked in a global dysfunction of colossal proportions. The international community is unprepared, or unwilling, to meet the challenges of our times… These crises threaten the very future of humanity and the fate of our planet.”

He listed as examples of the planetary crisis the war in Ukraine and other armed conflicts, the climate emergency, the growing inequality between the countries of the North and the South, hate speech, disinformation through social media, and warned that geopolitical divisions they are undermining the work of the UN and international law.

Given all this, he said, we need a world coalition to address three major challenges: achieving and sustaining peace, defending human rights and our suicidal war against nature. He underlined that the climate crisis It is the problem that defines our time. and what is a paradigm of moral and economic injustice. (

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In this forum, several of the speakers from developed countries focus on defending what they call a world order under international law, elevating the war between Russia and Ukraine as the dominant theme. Emmanuel Macron, President of France, denounced: Russia broke our collective security with an act of imperialism what is it undermining our only possible world ordera message that will be repeated by other leaders this week, including Joe Biden, who will have his participation today.

But for those of the so-called global south, the priority issue is the serious injustices of the current world order and the consequences generated by the geopolitics of the main powers, for which they call for a structural change.

Gustavo Petro, president of Colombia, in his debut before this forum of the world community, offered the most lyrical and furious speech of the day, in which he called on the international community to abandon its addiction to irrational powermoney and fossil fuels to save the planet.

“I come from one of the three most beautiful countries on Earth. There is an explosion of life there… I come from the land of yellow butterflies and magic. There in the mountains and valleys of all the greens, not only the abundant waters go down, but also the torrents of blood. I come from a country of bloody beauty,” she stated.

accused the unsuccessful wars against drugs and against nature for so much blood. For destroying or possessing the coca leaf, a million Latin Americans are murdered and 2 million Afros are imprisoned in North Americaand therefore “I demand from here, from my wounded Latin America, to end the irrational war on drugs.

“While they let the forests burn… they ask us for more and more coal, more and more oil to calm the other addiction: that of consumption, that of power, that of money,” he added. He stated that climate disaster is not produced by the planet, it is produced by capital.

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He stressed that behind the addictions to drugs and hydrocarbons There is the real addiction of this phase of human history: the addiction to irrational power, profit and money..

He linked the phenomenon of migration to these wars, pointing out that people full of hunger and thirst migrates to the north where “you lock them up, build walls, expel them… Do you not see that the solution to the great exodus unleashed on your country is to return to the water to fill the rivers and the fields to be filled with nutrients”.

Petro concluded: Only in peace can we save life in this land of ours. There is no total peace without social, economic and environmental justice. (

The president of Honduras, Xiomara Castro, stressed that she represents the first democratically elected government, after going through 13 years of dictatorshipbut warned that electoral democracy is not enough in his country devastated by policies that have worsened poverty and misery and led to an exodus of its citizens in a world that today lives under the monetary dictatorship.

He denounced that the industrialized nations of the world are responsible for the serious deterioration of the environment, but they make us pay for their onerous lifestyle, immerse ourselves in their plans and in an endless crisisand highlighted that Honduras will only have a future if it takes firm steps to dismantle the neoliberal economic dictatorship.

He concluded: “This arbitrary world order is unacceptable to us, in which there are third and fourth category countries, while those who think they are civilized do not tire of carrying out invasions, wars, financial speculation and crucifying us with their inflation over and over again.

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I take this platform to demand that we be respected, we want to live in peace. Do not continue trying to destabilize Honduras, stop dictating your measures to us or making us choose with whom we should relate.

Other progressive Latin American leaders –including those of Argentina, Chile and Peru– emphasized as priorities the defense of democracy in their countries, international economic injustice, including debt, and the responsibility for climate change of advanced countries. Luis Alberto Arce, from Bolivia, was clear in attributing responsibility for the current disaster: today we are facing a multiple and systematic capitalist crisis that increasingly puts the life of humanity and the planet at riskand called to change that system already building a new world order under the motto of Another world is possible.

For his part, Jair Bolsonaro, president of Brazil, offered a great self-praise for his work using the UN for his re-election campaign, where he defined his country as a people that believes in God, the nation, the family and freedom.

On this first day, and the rest of the week is expected to be the same, not a single leader proclaimed himself in favor of wars, of the environmental destruction of the planet, of injustice, but quite the opposite: each one praised the principles of the UN and called for all others to meet their goals. Therefore, they left a mystery why the world is the way it is, if there is a consensus here for peace, human rights, protection of the environment, education and universal health.

The Article Is In Spanish🡽

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