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Venezuela Climate Negotiator Pays Tribute to Hugo Chavez Legacy

Caracas, December 14 (teleSUR-RHC)-- Venezuela’s chief climate negotiator plans to visit the tomb of former President Hugo Chavez as an homage to his important groundwork to push the world toward a stronger climate deal,  Reuters reported on Sunday.

“We’re here because of him,” Venezuelan U.N. negotiator Claudia Salerno told Reuters in Paris as COP21 wrapped up with a deal many civil society organizations slammed for condemning future generations to disastrous global warming but global leaders celebrated as “historic.” 

Chavez was among the strongest critics, along with other leaders of left-wing Latin American governments, of the outcome of the COP15 climate summit in Copenhagen in 2009. Many critics saw Copenhagen as a lost cause for its failure to reach a legally binding climate deal. Chavez slammed the negotiations for falling far to short of the necessary emissions reduction commitments from rich countries to stem rapid global warming.
    
Salerno was responsible for drafting the preamble of the international climate agreement, adopted by nearly 200 nations, which includes mention of human rights, Indigenous peoples, gender equality, and respect for nature.

Salerno hailed the prelude of the deal as “revolutionary.” 

Salerno’s forward-looking prelude is a testament to how many Latin American countries are on the front lines of pushing for stronger action on climate change with respect for human rights and based on the framework of climate justice.
    
The references to human rights in the prelude are not carried through the deal, which overall constitutes a weak agreement in terms of human rights and ecosystems protection, Alyssa Johl, Senior Attorney with the International Center for Environmental Law recently told teleSUR English. 

Salerno said that her own children were among the biggest force behind her pressuring for a deal at Paris as representatives of the future generation that will suffer the worst consequences of climate change.

"For the first time we have this sense that finally, our paranoia has disappeared," Salerno said earlier this week as delegates in Paris approached a final deal.

Salerno’s celebration of Chavez’s legacy on the international stage comes after the right-wing opposition won a majority in the National Assembly last week in Venezuela. It is the first opposition win in over 16 years since in the election of Chavez’ socialist government in 1998. 
Edited by Ivan Martínez
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