Interview with Julián Gómez del Castillo

Presentation of the ‘Campaign for Justice in North-South Relations’

Elche (Alicante) 1990


“At this moment, for every 100 people in the world, 74 suffer from hunger. The causes are very clear and internationally recognised.


Firstly, the system of international finance, as the Second World War was coming to an end, the IMF and World Bank were founded in 1944, to continue or increase the violent and unjust robbery of poorer nations.


Secondly, the system of international trade is based on the principle of robbery and exploitation of the world’s poorest citizens in thousands of different ways. In Spain, Madrid’s market has sold $60,000,000 in health material to an African nation with 500% interest on that price. And this is, in general, how the international market works.


Thirdly, technology, without which the world cannot live, is a key point to consider. Poorer countries, which are only poor because they have been robbed, have access to only 1% of the technology that they require, meaning that they have to buy almost 100%. This leads to a tremendous multiplication of their debt in order to attain what they need. Also, as if that wasn’t enough, they have their researchers taken away. As they can’t undertake their research in their own nations, they enter into multinational conglomerates, such as the large universities of the northern hemisphere, to do research for the same people who steal from their homelands.


Finally, the big international organisations that were founded at the end of the Second World War, which in reality, as John Paul the second denounced, favour the economic North’s exploitation and robbery of the economic South.


Interviewer: Do you believe that it is at all possible to get to the root of the problem and deal with the causes of hunger in order to stop the never-ending poverty of the poor nations of the world?


I believe that, evidently, in the economic North, people will not want to. They know that it would not be favourable for them to deal with the causes of hunger, precisely because the Northern economies are sustained by theft from the South. However, I hope that the numbers of conscious and responsible groups of people in the world’s poorest nations increase and break the chains of hunger and poverty. And it that way, the necessary changes will be imposed upon people in the economic North.


Interviewer: How does your Campaign act against the causes of hunger? What is your plan of action?


Fundamentally, with a two-pronged attack. Here in the economic North, we try to act as the voice of the economic South in spite of the strong opposition of the international organisms or the powerful political and social groups of the northern hemisphere, which evidently boycott information about the nations of the southern hemisphere. On the other hand, we try to encourage the growth of groups of people in poor nations who are capable of standing up against injustice and trying to change their countries from within.


Interviewer: And what role does the Church play in this campaign against hunger in the world?


Well, without being triumphalistic about Christianity, which I never have been and never will be, we need to observe reality. From the human perspective, we’ve got to take into account that more than three hundred thousand Christian, religious, and secular volunteers are dying in the Third World voluntarily for helping their brothers and sisters. On the other hand, from a perspective of economic solidarity, the amount of money that the Church sends at the moment to the Third World in one way or another is greater than all of the international organisations combined. And, evidently, the Church doesn’t subscribe to the same version of reality that the official development aid that the Spanish government uses. Equally, the government doesn’t help because of hunger, but because of political convenience. For this reason, Ethiopia (the poorest country of the poorest in the world) which, according to the latest figures, has an annual income per capita of $120, received only $14 of the official development aid of the richest nations. Meanwhile, Israel, with an average income of $8,000, received $500, showing clearly that the development aid of the governments of the world’s ‘developed nations’ is a big disgrace, plain and simple.


Interviewer: Are you definitively a pessimist about the possibilities of solving this problem? Soon you will have spent 40 years working in this area. Do you think that there is any way in which, at some point, the causes of poverty in the world can be dealt with?


Well, I want to be optimistic, as my grandparents, who participated very actively in Spain’s social movements, taught me. The movements for emancipation have clearly shown us that the only people who can free the oppressed are the oppressed themselves. That isn’t pessimism. That is just being optimistic while basing one’s ideas firmly in reality. No emperor left their empire voluntarily so, evidently, if the working classes in the 19th century wanted to free themselves, they had to organise against the powers of their time. The same is true in the 20th century, and has been throughout history. So, to truly emancipate themselves from the imperialism of the rich nations of the northern hemisphere, the poor will have to be their own liberators. We can’t free them because, evidently, as citizens of a consumer society, aren’t directly interested in people in other countries having enough food to eat.


Interviewer: I suppose you have travelled a lot and visited a lot of these oppressed nations. What could you tell us about these places?


Well, I would recommend that those who want to experience what a human life really is went to visit one of these nations and took a walk through its impoverished neighbourhoods. Also, when you want to see real solidarity and brotherhood, you will find that increasingly more difficult in the European Community. To find it, you need to go to these places that suffer from real poverty, which can truly inspire you. I personally hope to live the final years of my life among these people.



(Translated from video found on )


About Ed Sykes

Independent journalist. Co-founder of Phoenix Media Co-operative. Author of Rojava: An Alternative. Ex-Canary editor and writer (2015-2020). Aka 'Oso Sabio' - see @ososabiouk on Twitter.
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