We are very grateful that Venezuela’s ambassador to the UK, Rocío del Valle Maneiro González, spoke at the book launch for Carlos Martinez’s book The East is Still Red on Tuesday 6 June 2023. Rocío was Venezuela’s ambassador to China from 2004 until 2013, and accompanied Hugo Chávez during several of his presidential trips to China.
Rocío described living through a period in which the international balance of power shifted from West to East, principally due to the multipolar strategy promoted by China. Speaking as a representative of Venezuela – a country which continues to suffer due to the sanctions, destabilisation and coercion applied by the Western powers – Rocío stated that China’s international policy is based on equality, on win-win relations, on peaceful cooperation and a collective vision of a prosperous future for humanity. She concluded that, after reading The East is Still Red, “it is almost impossible to describe socialism as a failed political system.”
During the discussion, which can be viewed in the stream of the event (embedded below the article), Rocío intervened in response to a question about women’s equality in China. She observed that, while women are not well represented among the top political leadership of the country, women in China are nonetheless very well represented in the workplace at every level – including as business leaders, engineers, lawyers and academics, as well as having strong social and equal rights. She stated forcefully: “Chinese women are the equal of men; they are the free women of Asia.”
Good evening, first of all, allow me to express my gratitude to Carlos Martínez for inviting me to say a few words on the occasion of the launch of his book “The East is Still Red”. This is an honour for me, even more so as it is held here, at the Carl Marx library, giving it a special historical transcendence.
This is a relevant book and I will explain why. When China decided to open up to the western world, a step it took, in my opinion, in this century, because what China did in the XX century, was to peek through “the window” and start planning a route. Well, when China decided to open up to the world, a number of sinologists, China specialists, showed up in the West, trying to explain China’s complexity with western theories and principles. I read at least 5 of those books published by scholars; I remember one of them having more than 400 pages. Those were the days when I was preparing for the task given to me by President Chavez: I was to become the ambassador of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela to the People ́s Republic of China.
When I arrived in China in 2004, nothing of what I had read was of any use to me. Only the books relating to Chinese culture, those great particularities of a civilization that goes back 3 to 5 thousand years, and is still alive. Apart from that, the rest was totally useless, mainly because it had little to do with the facts, with what I was seeing and experiencing.
Carlos’ book has the relevance, the value, to present a different hypothesis to explain what China means to the world today. It is a book that equates with what I lived during those 9 years I
spent as Ambassador in Beijing, from 2004 to 2013. I had the privilege, as did all my colleague ambassadors, to witness how the international balance of power shifted from West to East, due to force applied by China.
From those years of hard work and learning, if one thing became clear to me, it was that China’s greatness is rooted in two main factors: discipline, which comes from the teachings of Confucius and a collective purpose, which is at the heart of Communism. The union of these two factors is, in my opinion, the most objective, rigorous and real starting point to approach to the truth of China. A nation which was reborn and liberated in 1949, a nation which defeated hunger with an enormous effort considered today as a true political and socio-economic miracle of universal history. A nation which today plays a protagonist role as an international player in every field. A nation, and to me this is the most important, which designed an international policy based on equality, a win-win formula, to teach imperialism how to move forward in creating a new world in peace, not with armed intervention but with diplomacy and negotiation guided by a collective purpose.
I congratulate Carlos, because he dares to approach such a complex subject, opposing the position of western experts, and does so based on concrete facts. After reading his book it is almost impossible to affirm that Socialism as a political system is a failure.