Joaquín Rivery Tur
CRITICISM of the UN Conference on
Sustainable Development, known as Rio+20, have
rained down from the moment that the draft version
was known until the definitive document was signed.
Brazilian President Dilma
Rousseff and UN
Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, who said,
"Let me be frank: our efforts have not
lived up to the measure of the challenge,"
(…) "Nature does not negotiate with
Evo Morales recalled the message of the leader
of the Cuban Revolution, Fidel Castro, to
the Earth Summit in Brazil 20 years ago,
"End hunger and not humanity…
Pay the ecological debt, not the external debt."
Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa emphasized
that a document of principles was approved,
which anyone could sign, but asked,
"Where are the concrete commitments?"
Barack Obama did not even attend the
event; neither did Angel Merkel, David Cameron and
other European leaders in general.
However, there were other voices
with more prestige and more forceful arguments than
Bolivian President Evo Morales
recalled at the Conference the message of the leader
of the Cuban Revolution, Fidel Castro, to the Earth
Summit in Brazil 20 years ago.
"End hunger and not humanity… Pay
the ecological debt, not the external debt,"
affirmed Morales, recalling Fidel’s words and noting
in reference to these recommendations that, at this
stage, the capitalist debt is unpayable.
The Bolivian leader attacked the so
called green economy proclaimed by developed nations,
calling it a new mechanism for subjecting the
peoples and anti-capitalist governments, and noted
that capitalism promotes privatizations, the
mercantilism of biodiversity and the genetic
The green economy is making nature a
merchandise and converting every tree, every drop of
water and all natural beings into a merchandise,
subjecting them to the dictatorship of the market,
which is privatizing wealth and socializing poverty,
he added. In his speech, Morales criticized
environmentalism as an imperial strategy which
quantifies every river, lake, plant and natural
product and translates them into money and business
profit, temporally safeguarding them for their
future private appropriation.
"Capitalism is no solution at all,
if we wish to pass into history we must establish
economic, ecological and social policies directed at
saving life and humanity, and re-launch ourselves
toward humanity," Morales concluded.
Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa
stated that the rich countries bear the most
responsibility for environmental degradation on the
He stated that Ecuador had aspired
to a document that would enshrine the rights of
nature, in order to save it, "now that financial
rescues are in fashion."
In an interview with the Telesur
network, Correa emphasized that while there is no
change in the relations of power, there will no
agreement to reduce net emissions into the
atmosphere or to declare the universal rights of
nature, as Ecuador proposed.
It would be difficult to reach a
spontaneous and genuine commitment because the rich
countries are consuming the environment of the poor
nations, he noted.
Referring to the "green economy",
Correa said that the concept, as managed by the
developed countries, is an attempt to incorporate
environmental assets into calculations of the gross
domestic product, under the pretext of reducing
contamination. In order to lower pollution levels,
he commented, one has to change the notion of
development based on materialism, accumulation, and
consumerism into another, which would allow for
sustaining the planet, such as the concept of
development in harmony with nature, as advocated by
"How can one understand multimillion
bank rescues and not multimillion environmental
rescues?" he asked.
Thanking the Brazilian government
for its political will in organizing the summits,
Correa observed that they have little value; however,
"the problem is not a technical one, but a political
one." For the Ecuadorian President, changes in the
relations of power must be brought about by citizens
of First World countries who are exploited by the
He observed that anyone can sign a
document of principles, but asked, "Where are the
concrete commitments, where are the emission limits,
compensation for contamination, new international
agreements, new binding concepts of compensation for
net emissions avoided?"
For the Ecuadorian President, the
four cardinal points are: "A change in the economic
system; in the social context of poverty, inequality
is incompatible with conservation; in the
environmental context, the rights of nature itself
and changing our vision of nature. And the fourth,
the cultural dimension."
Even UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon
stated: "Let me be frank: our efforts have not lived
up to the measure of the challenge," (…) "Nature
does not negotiate with human beings."
The Rio Summit on Sustainable
Development document is "disappointing" given that,
20 years after the Earth Summit, the most
pessimistic trends noted in 1992 have become a