Last December, while cleaning the pots and pans used to make the hallacas, but only when he managed to remove an old oil stain from the tray he uses to bake bread, Gregorio J. Pérez Almeida understood that he was far from be an intellectual. So he wrote in an article that he spread among his closest circle. He currently teaches virtual classes through the Telegram channel Escuela de Sabidurías, which is a higher stage than the one he had been doing: “Against School of Philosophy”.
Educator and Master in Philosophy. He prefers to be called "Goyo." If they do it by their first name, it is not taken for granted. For 12 years he was a contributor to Ultimas Noticias, between 1985 and 1997. He does not consider himself a reader of novels because his was always philosophy, “serious” thinking, only now he is “dying to read literature because that's where he is. The philosophy". When he published Heterodox Essays on Human Rights in 2012, a bookseller told him that that title was lousy, it scares people. For this reason, it is now being reissued by Monte Ávila Editores, with a new title: Impensar los Derechos Humanos.
- Why is it that human rights have become fashionable?
—Everyone defends human rights, but our vision is critical. With a large part of the texts that we publish, the Human Rights School of the Ombudsman's Office is created, attached to the Vives Suriá Foundation. On the one hand, Venezuela is a pioneer in having a school of critical views on human rights financed by the State and, on the other, we are one of the last countries in Latin America that has a National Human Rights Plan, but it is unique, because has a critical, comprehensive vision.
"Is it a decolonial vision?"
—Because of Luis Antonio Biggot, who asked me to preface his book The Neocolonized Educator, I find the vein of decolonizing thought, which is typical of Latin America, and then I run into the American Immanuel Wallerstein and other authors who they give me the possibility to think that human rights are a trap. It is the great success of the United States because economic hegemony may pass, but cultural and political hegemony will continue. Eventually I meet the American professor Samuel Moyn, from Columbia University, who publishes some books where I agree with him in another way. I say that I agree with him because I am only from here. I am thinking about it before, but he publishes by Harvard University The Last Utopia. Human rights in history. That is the last utopia, after the socialist one that the gringos undertook to finish and tear it to shreds, because people began to say: “that failed”, “that failed”. They sold us something that they had been shaping: human rights, and in 1948 they managed to consolidate that Declaration, which they call Universal.
—How does the US manage to convince all nations with that Universal Declaration?
—The story they told us ...
-Is a lie!
- ... was that everyone agreed.
—When the 66th anniversary of the Declaration was completed, I was struck by how they made it Universal and I came across the book A New World, by Mary Ann Glendon, which is a compliment to Eleanor Roosevelt for having achieved that Declaration. The United States appointed the widow of former President Franklin Delano Roosevelt to represent her in the Human Rights Commission created in the United Nations, and she hand-picked who will accompany her. In the end, that Declaration was written by a single man, a man named Charles Malik.
-Only one person?
"There were several." He, supposedly Egyptian. Also Peng-chun Chang, supposedly Chinese; the French René Cassin, who was secretary to Charles de Gaulle and creator of the Constitution of the French Republic, and the Canadian John P. Humphrey. All had been trained in American universities or in liberal universities in their countries. I mean, they were her agents. A liberal elite of high intellectual level that she put as central. But the discussion for that Declaration begins in 44, which coincides with the creation of Bretton Woods. In conclusion, the United States thought long term.
Universal, but not so much
When the Universal Declaration was approved, Latin America was plagued by dictators, including Anastasio "Tacho" Somoza in Nicaragua, whom Roosevelt said "was a son of a bitch, but our son of a bitch." Pérez Almeida does not dismiss the interests of the United States.
—A Declaration like this seems to be contrary to the policy of support for dictatorships?
- Dictatorships put them in place, but they take them out with “human rights”. The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights that visited Argentina during the last dictatorship played the role of good and bad police, because they are made up of liberals and conservatives. When these dictatorships do not serve them, they are removed as human rights violators and replaced by democracies in the same vein of their interests. They set the standard and now we are locked in the same discussion for which they want to condemn us as those criminal dictatorships.
—In 2019 they did not condemn the violations perpetrated by the coup in Bolivia.
"There was no such topic there." After the fall of the Berlin Wall the formal structure of power fell and they don't have to be hiding anything. They just act like they are. They are going to remove the declassified documents shortly because they no longer care if they find out about the conspiracies. Everything they have done against us they say openly. They did not question human rights when Mrs. Jeanine Áñez because for them the rapist was Evo Morales who, like us, was giving the poor the possibility of living off the few advantages that the capitalist system offers them.
"Evo was a dictator to them."
—Like Nicolás Maduro, a horrible dictator who violates human rights left and right according to the institutions and spokesmen they control, the international media structure dominated by political hegemony and satellite countries, which has Spain as its best ally in Europe , an American colony thanks to Francisco Franco. That is why it has such a belligerent role against us.
- In Spain, the Franco regime has not been overcome?
"That is sad." It has not been overcome because the monarchy is maintained. Francoism is nothing more than a practical expression of a monarchical government acting in the old way.
—The current kings seem to be digital networks, misnamed “social”, whose owners decide who can express themselves and even censor the president of the United States.
—When I studied philosophy, I had some professors who were Marxists, but they admired the United States because it was the model of an enlightened society, a “self-critical” society. So, when they censure Donald Trump, he seems to be something great, "defenders" of democracy, "enemies" of fascism, of violence and they made that decision at "risk". At the risk of what? It's a show! But there are people who are happy with that.
"It seems that the system is not so rotten."
—With “ethics”, “morals”, but what was the first thing President Joe Biden did: sign the Obama decree against Venezuela due to pressure from the Pentagon.
"You extend it many days before it expires."
—In the US there is a military dictatorship because those who rule are the owners of the military industry, which together with the communication industry, form large corporations. The real power is in the Pentagon. The White House is only the office where they give conferences and supposedly make decisions, which together with foundations and funding agencies are the ones that decide the destiny of the world.
- There are those who maintain that these are conspiracy theories.
—The American philosopher and political scientist Sheldon Wolin, who has nothing to do with the left, in his book Democracia SA expresses with an academic language, very extended in the graduates of those “prestigious” universities, something like this: “It is not that I am saying that Adolf Hitler is in the White House, nor that Nazism is being reproduced in the United States, but the functioning of many institutions makes me think that there are Nazi practices in American politics ”. And in addition to this, he warns that several presidents of his country are part of secret sects, among them the Bushes, father and son. Most are Republicans, although for the reelection of George W. Bush, the Democratic candidate, John Kerry, and the president were part of the same secret sect. Both are graduates of Yale University.
—They don't share parties, but they do share sects.
But they share something more fundamental, which is the vision of power and the conception of the United States as a chosen nation. They started before Hitler with euthanasia, genetic control.
"And Manifest Destiny."
—Nazism was born in the United States.
"They were his allies."
—And they have been a hegemonic power since what they call the First World War. It is not from 1945 to here, because since the twenties unstoppable economic power was on the horizon ... and culturally, too. From there comes all this historical, social, fascist current, which is expressed in different ways in the Western world. He had his special moment with Hitler and they had to stop him because he was killing white people. Europeans killed blacks, Indians, for more than 400 years and there was no problem. But since that time they were killing Jews, they had to stop it. "Hitler got out of hand," Carlos Ortega would say, and he also did not do what he should have done, which was to stop the Soviets. Rather, they beat him, but they don't say that, that it was the Soviets who beat Hitler.
"Who won the war?"
—Phillip K. Dick in his novel The Man in the High Castle argues that Nazism did not lose the war and occupy the United States.
—In the documentary The Devil Next Door it is revealed how thousands of Nazis entered the United States. The US immigration agents visited them once established to ask only "how was the trip" and "how do you feel." "Good," they replied. The agents recorded the questions and answers and their "thank you very much" and "goodbye" in a file. That's what Congressman Elizabeth Holtzman found in the immigration files in 1973. "It was immigration, not the US Public Health Service," she says surprised in the documentary on the case of John Demjanjuk, nicknamed "Ivan the Terrible". The Nazis were elements that served against communism and its interests. It didn't matter how criminal they were.
—While discussing human “rights” they captured Nazi criminals.
—They built the ideology of human rights in the strict sense of the term “ideology”, as Ludovico Silva uses it, supported by the texts of Karl Marx: “ideology is the set of ideas that hides exploitation, that conceals it, that disguises it ”. Later it became a wild card, thanks to Lenin who began to call "proletarian ideology", "bourgeois" and opened the spectrum for this concept. But the ideology of human rights became natural.
The soldiers of the empire
"When the poorest and most exploited by capital say that they have 'human rights', that person is their soldier," emphasizes Pérez Almeida about the achievements of the United States. Because the first rights on this side of the world colonized by the Spaniards “are neither freedom of expression, nor individual freedom, nor private property. It was national independence, sovereignty ”. That is our history of rights and they were born with Simón Bolívar and the liberators of Latin America.
- Talking about human rights is commonplace.
—And that was Hugo Chávez's serious political error.
-What was the mistake?
—When they give you a home, the possibility of acquiring a medicine, a social benefit to the people, they thanked the President, “You and God,” they told him, and Chávez replied: “Don't thank me, that is your right ”. Nooo! You killed the possibility of politics, because if the law is natural, I don't have to fight. If the State gives it to me, I have to ask for it to be recognized.
"They no longer fight for rights."
—It's a formal fight and the idea of building an anti-capitalist society was blurred, because human rights are the currency of capitalism. It is an invention and consolidation of this system. Even the Chinese created a Human Rights Commission, which when the US produces its annual report, China replies with another in the same terms. In our Constitution, civil and political rights are not fundamental rights, although the term is still used, which is also a political error, because it is not fundamental to have the right to freedom of expression, to life.
"Why isn't the right to life fundamental?"
—What exists is life and the fight for it. Enrique Dussel says that life is the source of rights. If we do not organize ourselves to fight to live, we have nothing. And in that fight we create rights.
—The first article of the Universal Declaration says that we are born “free and equal in dignity and rights” and that we must behave fraternally. The Israeli army is far from behaving like the brother of the Palestinians.
—It's merely formal and they have all the media and rhetorical instruments to keep it at that level. They have achieved this in such a way that people in favor of us think that President Maduro violates rights.
"What right has he violated?"
—One of the things they repeat the most is that “it put an end to unionism”.
"Coming from him, the union thing seems serious."
—Anyone believes that expression that “it ended the trade union movement”, because before there were thousands of unions, but they belonged to the capital. The State supported them, but when Chávez arrives, this whole system breaks down. He tells her "I did not come here for Fedecámaras, or Consecomercio, but for the people."
—And to refound the Homeland.
—And to refound the Homeland we must have another union that tries to make demands and policies come out from the very lives of the workers. That things did not turn out the way we want. Who thought it was going to be like this?
"How does a revolution have to be made?"
"As you can, without losing your vision of utopia." When the possibility exists because it is real, not in the magnitude that we want, as long as that is maintained, the fight will continue. Whether it is due to socialism or other things, those can also vary. It does not matter. We can put socialism with other things.
—There are those who think that socialism has only one expression.
- The Africans have said that European socialism has nothing to do with them and they affirm that they are ancestral socialists, that they have always lived a participatory democracy. Even the idea of romantic love stole the West from Africa, as British anthropologist Jack Goody shows in his book The Theft of History.
"Is it worth continuing to dream of a new world?"
- If you stop dreaming, I don't know what you become. It is not that you stop being human and that we dreamers are superior, not at all. Although we are minorities, I can tell you that a good percentage do not dream of another world, but rather they dream of this one a little better. Liberalism convinced them that it was individual and until now the State has been portrayed as an enemy of that right. That is why they faced Chávez, because he managed to get a great majority of those people who thought of a better world individually, to think of a better world for all. That is only achieved by great leaders and we were planted with that idea, which is not a right but a need to seek a better world.