A “World Plan for Fraternity and Well-being”

by Andrés Manuel López Obrador, President of Mexico and current President of the UN Security Council

Your Excellency, António Guterres, Secretary-General of the United Nations,
Permanent members of this UN Security Council,
Non-permanent members,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

I have not come to speak about security as a synonym for military power or as a reason for the use of force against anyone. Rather, my approach is based on the proposal of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, who Pablo Neruda called the ‘titan of freedoms,’ when the United Nations was created: the right to a life free from fear and misery, which continues to be the strongest foundation of security for all societies and States.
  The main obstacle to the exercise of this right is corruption in all of its expressions: transnational powers; opulence and frivolity as a way of life for the elites; the neoliberal model that socialises losses, privatises profits and encourages the looting of natural resources and of the property of peoples and nations.
  It is corruption when courts punish those who don’t have the means to buy their innocence and protect the wealthy and large business corporations who steal from the treasury or don't pay taxes. Corruption is the impunity of those who hide illicit funds in tax havens. And corruption is also the usury practiced by the shareholders and administrators of the so-called vulture funds, without even losing their respectability.
  It would be hypocritical to ignore the fact that the main problem on the planet is corruption in all of its dimensions: political, moral, economic, legal, fiscal and financial.
  It would be folly to disregard the fact that corruption is the main cause of inequality, poverty, frustration, violence, migration and serious social conflicts.
  We are in decline because never before in the history of the world has so much wealth been concentrated in so few hands due to the misuse of influences and at the expense of the suffering of other people, privatising what belongs to everyone or things that shouldn't have an owner, adulterating laws to legalise the immoral, distorting social values to make the abominable seem like acceptable business practices.
  Take, for example, what happened with the distribution of COVID-19 vaccines. While private pharmaceutical companies have sold 94 percent of the vaccines, the Covax initiative created by the UN for poor countries has barely distributed six percent: this is a painful and resounding failure.
  This simple fact should lead us to admit the obvious: in today’s world, generosity and common sense are being displaced by selfishness and private ambition. The spirit of cooperation is losing ground to the profit motive and, with it, we are sliding from civilisation to barbarism and walking as if estranged, forgetting moral principles and turning our backs on the pains of humanity.
  If we are unable to reverse these trends through concrete action, we will not be able to solve any of the other problems that afflict the peoples of the world.
  What are we doing in Mexico?
  We have applied the formula of banishing corruption and using all the money we recover for people's wellbeing, with the criteria that, for the good of all, the poor come first. Focusing on the poor also means accepting that peace is the result of justice and that no country can be viable if marginalisation and misery persist and increase.
  For this reason, we hold that the lasting solution to living free from fear, risk and violence is to end unemployment, help youths to work and study, and avoid family disintegration, social breakdown and the loss of cultural, moral and spiritual values.
  In Mexico, it could take time to pacify the country, but the safest formula is to address the root causes as we are doing. For example, by giving young people options for studying and working to prevent them from taking up a life of crime. The real victory over criminal gangs will always be to deprive them of their breeding ground and their reserve army.
  With these same criteria, we are addressing the issue of migration. The key actions are not coercive. Rather, they allow people to study and work, and provide health and well-being, in the places where they were born or reside so that they are not forced to leave their towns because of hunger or violence, and so that only those who wish to emigrate do so, making migration optional and not forced, an individual decision and not a demographic phenomenon.
  Recently, I respectfully explained to President Biden a new way to address migration that takes into account the need to organise the flow of migrants, avoids disorder and violence, and ensures human rights. I proposed immediately putting in place in three nations two programs that we are carrying out with success in Chiapas, a state that neighbours Central America.
  Today we are planting 200,000 hectares of fruit and timber trees there, and this program employs 80,000 people. In addition, 30,000 youths are working in this south-eastern Mexican state as interns and receiving a minimum wage to train in workshops, companies and other productive and social activities.
  If these two actions were taken immediately in Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador, we could make it possible for some 330,000 people who today are at risk of migrating due to lack of work to remain in their homes. I think the UN should implement these proposals in order to address the root causes of the problems in poor countries.
  The international community’s most important organisation must rouse itself from its lethargy, get out of its rut, and must not stand on ceremony. It must reform and denounce, combat corruption around the world, fight against the inequality and social discontent that are spreading across the planet with more determination and depth. It must play a more active role, be more of a leader.
  Never in the history of this organisation has anything really substantial been done to benefit the poor, but it is never too late to do justice. We must act today against marginalisation, addressing the causes and not just the consequences.
  In keeping with this idea, in the next few days the Mexican representation will propose to the United Nations General Assembly a World Plan for Fraternity and Well-being. The goal is to guarantee the right to a decent life for 750 million people who survive on less than two dollars a day.
  Mexico’s proposal to establish a world state of fraternity and well-being can be financed with a fund that comes from at least three sources:
  A voluntary annual contribution of four percent of the fortunes of the thousand richest people on the planet.
  A similar contribution from the thousand private corporations with the highest value in the world market.
  And a contribution of 0.2 percent of the GDP of each one of the member countries of the Group of 20.
  If this revenue target is reached, the fund would have about a trillion dollars a year.
  In its annual report, the UN could designate a day to award recognitions or certificates for solidarity to individuals, corporations and governments that stand out for their humanitarian vocation in helping to finance the global plan for fraternity and well-being.
  The fund’s resources would need to go directly to its beneficiaries, with no intermediaries, because when funds are given to non-governmental organisations and to civil society and other types of organisations, supposedly to help the poor, I don't want to generalise, but in many cases that money remains mired in bureaucracy, pays for luxurious offices and advisors, or is diverted and ends up not reaching the beneficiaries. Therefore, I repeat, the fund's resources must reach the beneficiaries directly, without any intermediaries, by means of a personalised card or electronic wallet.
  The World Bank and the International Monetary Fund could collaborate to create the necessary structure and conduct a census next year of the world’s poorest. Once the target population has been defined, they could begin to disperse the funds in each country as pensions for the elderly, for children with disabilities, as scholarships for students and support for farmers and for youths who work as interns in productive activities, in addition to providing free vaccines and medicines.
  I do not believe, and I say this sincerely, that any of the permanent members of this Security Council will oppose our proposal, since it does not involve nuclear weapons or military invasions, nor does it put the security of any State at risk. To the contrary, it seeks to build stability and peace through solidarity with those who in most need of our support.
  I am sure that each and every one of us, rich and poor, donors and beneficiaries, will have an easier conscience and live with greater moral strength.
  Here I would quote Adam Smith: “How selfish soever man may be supposed, there are evidently some principles in his nature, which interest him in the fortune of others and render their happiness necessary to him, though he derives nothing from it except the pleasure of seeing it.” In other words, only by being good can we be happy.
  And we should never forget that it is the collective duty of nations to offer each of their sons and daughters the right to food, health, work, social security, sports and recreation.
  I will close by remembering two patriots and liberators of our America:
  José María Morelos y Pavón, servant of the Mexican nation, who a little more than two centuries ago demanded that both indigence and opulence be moderated; and, almost at the same time, Simón Bolívar said that the most perfect system of government is the one that produces the greatest amount of happiness possible, the greatest amount of social security, and the greatest amount of political stability.
  It is an honour to be with you, permanent and non-permanent members of the UN Security Council, which is the closest thing to a world government and which can become the most effective organisation in the fight against corruption and the noblest benefactor of the poor and forgotten of the Earth.
  Thank you.  •

Source: https://www.gob.mx/presidencia/es/articulos/transcript-message-of-the-president-of-the-united-mexican-states-andres-manuel-lopez-obrador-united-nations-security-council?idiom=es New York, United States of 9 November 2021

gl. Andrés Manuel López Obrador has been the president of Mexico since 2018. One of his main promises to the people was to fight violence, corruption and impunity in his country. Mexico has one of the highest murder rates in the world, and the drug cartels still dominate the country. López Obrador is devoting himself to this Herculean task with all his might, but also with prudence. At the same time, he is trying to move away from neoliberalism, for example in energy policy. In foreign policy, he pursues a course of national sovereignty and strives to strengthen Latin America’s cohesion without getting into direct confrontation with the USA. He is popular among the people because of his credibility and his down-to-earth approach.

 

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