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Venezuela: Do the Actions of the Chávez Government in Support of Palestine Reflect the Views of the People?

In Venezuela, the conflict in the Middle East is a little closer to home due to the actions of the government of President Hugo Chávez. In addition to the explusion of the Israeli ambassador and other diplomatic personnel in Caracas, in what Chávez has called a “gesture of dignity”, there have been other moves by the government and its supporters indicating that Chávez has come out strongly in favor of Palestine and against the actions of Israel.

David Ludovic of the blog Historia No Prejuicios [es] (History, Not Prejudices) writes about three events that recently took place in Venezuela that clearly shows the government's views towards the conflict in the Middle East:

“El presidente de Israel debería ser llevado a la Corte Penal Internacional”. Este primer comentario del presidente Hugo Chávez durante la inauguración de un hospital en Caracas pareció ser una orden cumplida a cabalidad por su ministerio de Relaciones Exteriores, que pocas hroas después emitió un comunicado en el que anunciaba la expulsión del embajador de Israel en nuestro país, Shlomo Cohén y de parte del personal diplomático acreditado.

Pocos minutos después, el comunicado era leído con júbilo en la Asamblea Nacional, cuyos diputados –ataviados con kaffes (tradicionales mantos árabes) y portando banderas representativas del movimiento palestino, discutían en ese mismo isntante un acuerdo en contra de las acciones militares de Israel en la Franja de Gaza originadas (recordemos siempre) como consecuencia por el permanente lanzamiento de cohetes Qassam desde esa región a poblaciones israelíes.

Finalmente, la mezquita principal de Caracas, en la zona de Quebrada Honda, también fue escenario de las protestas, aupadas por el gobierno. En ella se congregaron, además de los parlamentarios, otros representantes del gobieno, entre ellos el ministro de Relaciones Exteriores, Nicolás Maduro.

“The Israeli president should be brought to the International Penal Court,” said President Hugo Chávez during the inauguration of a hospital in Caracas, and appeared to be followed through by the Foreign Minister, who a few hours later emitted a communique that announced the expulsion of Shlomo Cohén, the Israeli ambassador in our country, as well as other accredited diplomatic personnel.

A few minutes later, the communiqué was read with great joy in the National Assembly, whose deputies – dressed with keffiyeh (traditional Arab scarves) and waving flags representative of the Palestinean movement, debated an agreement against the military actions of Israel in the Gaza Strip (we always remember) as consequence for the continuous launching of rockets from that region towards the Israeli population.

Finally, in the main mosque in Caracas, located in the Quebrada Honda area, there was also a scene of protests supported by the government. There, in addition to parliamentarians, other government representatives gathered, including the Foreign Minister, Nicolás Madura.

Ludovic also adds historical context regarding Venezuela's relationship with the two sides over the past 50 years:

…luego de que Venezuela fuera uno de los países impulsores de la resolución AG/181 de la ONU, que establecía la creación de dos estados en la región, su entrada en la Organización de Países Exportadores de Petróleo (OPEP), la obligó a mantener relaciones “neutrales” o cordiales con ambas partes en conflicto. Con Israel, por sus relaciones de amistad e intercambio científico, militar, etc. Con el mundo árabe, por sus intereses económicos, fundamentalmente en lo relacionado al petróleo.

Esta situación, mantenida durante casi cincuenta años, se rompió con la llegada de Chávez al poder y sus intentos de fundar ” una nueva geopolítica”

… after Venezuela's role as a driving forcer of the UN resolution AG/181, in which it established the creation of two states in the region, its entrance into OPEC, forced Venezuela to maintain “neutral” and friendly relationships with both parts in the conflict. With Israel, out of friendship and because of the scientific and military exchange, etc… And with the Arab world because of economic interests, mainly related to oil.

This situation, maintained for almost fifty years had been broken with the arrival of Chavez to power and his plans to build a “new geo-politics.”



Photo of protest in support of Gaza in the city of Mérida, Venezuela by Jesus Molina and used under a Creative Commons license.

For the entire photoset of the protest against Israel, and in support for Gaza that took place in the city of Mérida, Venezuela, visit his Flickr set.

Despite these high-profile actions, Venezuelan bloggers maintain their own viewpoints on the crisis. Some think that the government does not speak for them when condemning the attacks of Israel, and seemingly condoning the behavior of Hamas. Others believe that Israel is correct in defending itself, demonstrating that some people's view differ than that of their government.

Eliodoro Niklaus ofEliodo Opina [es] thinks that his government does not speak for him, when Chávez states that Venezuela supports Palestine:

Como yo lo veo, hay un conflicto milenario entre el pueblo judío y el pueblo palestino. Y a finales del 2008, los palestinos (a través de las milicias del Hamas) atacan a Israel, lo que motiva a Israel a responder el ataque. (…) Yo no apoyo al Hamas ni al Hezbolá ni a Palestina. Así como tampoco apoyo a Israel en un conflicto absurdo que puede ser resuelto de otra manera.

Que los palestinos se podría decir que son los más débiles ante Israel, de acuerdo. Pero en todo caso Venezuela tendría que repudiar al conflicto con sus dos participantes. No apoyar a Palestina ni a Israel en un conflicto armado, y más bien buscar una conciliación o mediación en el conflicto…

As I see it, there is a millenary conflict between the Jewish and the Palestinian People. At the end of 2008, the Palestinians attacked (through Hamas military forces) Israel, which moves Israel to respond (…) I neither support Hamas, or Hezbollah, or Palestine, nor Israel in an absurd conflict that could be solved in another manner.

We could say that Palestinians are weaker than Israel, but in any case Venezuela should reject the conflict for both sides, not support Palestina or Israel in an armed conflict, rather than look for a settlement or mediation in the conflict.

The images of war are being seen on television screens across Venezuela, and brings the conflict closer to home. Martha Colemnares [es] sees a picture of young children dressed in military garb speaking out against Israel and says:

En la gráfica Niños de 5 y 6 años, disfrazados de terroristas y “programados” por Hamás para matar judíos. Y es indudable que A los medios de comunicación, organizaciones políticas, humanitarias y diversos políticos les es fácil condenar un bombardeo ante la opinión pública, porque eso los alinea con la imagen de un deseo humanitario de paz universal, pese a que no se lo exigieron al Hamas cuando atacaba cotidianamente a Israel.

In the image we see children of 5 and 6 years old dressed like terrorists and “programmed” by Hamas to kill Jews. There’s no doubt that to the mainstream media, political and humanitarian organizations, as well as some politicians, it is easy to condemn a bombing on the basis of public opinion, since that puts the condemnation in line with those who want world peace, even though they didn’t demand peace when Hamas attacked Israel on a daily basis.

Finally, Eduardo Casanova [es] writes that Israel “by invading Gaza, did nothing more than defend itself, and exercise its right for legitimate defense, but unfortuantely, that legitimate defense, caused death and pain to Palestinean men, women and children, who should not be subjected to that martyrdom” :

Nadie debe ponerse de parte de los unos o de parte de los otros, porque manifestarse de parte de Hamas es alentar el terrorismo y manifestarse de parte de Israel es aupar una guerra, y la guerra nunca es justa. Israel necesita la paz. El mundo necesita la paz. Una paz alentada y vigilada por el mundo entero. ¡Shalom Israel!

No one should be on one side or the other. To support Hamas is to support terrorism and to support Israel is to support war… and war is never fair. Israel needs peace. The world needs peace, a peace that should be encouraged and watched over by the whole world. Shalom Israel!

10 comments

  • from the Quotations , I see the bloggers had just extracted the current conflict of the main issue, they are repeating the same words of Israeli media, Israel want peace, and Hamas is the terrorist.

    I wonder what kind of peace you want when you Occupy a land for many years, and when you pull out you refuse the free elections of Palestinian choice, and you put it under brutal blockade.

    They say the reasons of War is the Hamas rockets, I say Hamas rockets were launched cause of Blockade, a Blockade caused more than 300 death cause of lack of access to medical supplies, and before that the rockets were launched cause of an Occupation.

    I wonder If Israel want peace why she waited more than 40 years to end her Occupation, yet she Occupy west Bank and Syrian Golan refusing to Apply international law and UN resolution which demand Israel to end her Occupation.

    What is terrorism!!

    When you steal my land, Bomb my holy places, my hospitals, Ambulance cars, paramedics, kids, children, schools, and you say you are defending your self.

    When you attack people, don’t have any kind of Regular force, no Tanks, No AirForce, no Gun ships, no Army, people have been under brutal blockade for more than 2 years, and all they have a Hand made rockets being launched to say NO for Occupation and NO of the Blockade.

    What kind of a nation that consider Bombing Civilians by F16 is an achievement.

    It’s a shame to compare and equal between Hamas and Israel like they are 2 states fighting each other.

    Israel never wanted peace, she only seek surrender from the Arabs, it’s a surrender agreements they want, and the only reason they are bombing civilians cause they believe in cruel sadistic strategy they used it in Lebanon.

    They Kill Civilians so the Civilians stops supporting the resistance, that the only Reason.

    Viva Resistance, Viva Chaves.

    And by the way, Israel is the one who broke the six month truce, not Hamas.

  • The eradication of injustice is most important globally. All humanity will continue to suffer if injustice rules. Therefore, there is no way in which, we can close our eyes to genocide and imperialism. The weapons used in this war come directly from supporting governments. We are all involved through consumerism and taxes. With, this in mind we should notice where and how we spend our money yet, understanding that capitalism filters and redistributes wealth in shameless ways. Hugo Chavez has always received resistance to his views. I find Hugo Chavez to be a man of good intentions with a desire to do what is right for his country/people as a whole. He and Castro have developed something beautiful-not perfect-but striving. I wish my government had a little of what these men have to offer with a history of aid instead of destruction and relentless war and oppression.

  • nelson

    The Palestinians are under a typical genocide-systematically killing and torturing women, children, unarmed men… The Jews have taken own Palestinians land (literally they have taken their gardens, orchards, forest….). after all this-do Palestinians have any choice? What would be your answer if somebody ilegally took your land and who have been torturing and killing your people, your family for 60 years. Israel is the most brutal nation in the world-along with USA (they wouldn’t be able to do anything without US support). So, may God bless hero Chavez and his people and all honest people around the world.

  • I come from a people who were stripped from their land and displayed as well as denied human rights. i agree with you Nelson.
    Israel and the U.S. are guilty however, so am i as i sit comfortably upon U.S. soil where, my money is filtered into the these killing fields regardless, of how i spend it. The numbing reality is that we must find ways to resist that do not fuel the “machine”. Let, us commit to finding the courage to do this.
    we must do this
    peace and blessings

  • Thanks for this report, Laura. It provides an interesting, and important alternative to main-stream propaganda.

    Alloush, Nelson, Saudade; I find it difficult to take your comments seriously. How could the Israelis have “stolen” Palestinian land and subsequently taken it over, when in fact, the land you are referring to (the Gaza strip) belonged to Egypt until 1967? That being said, how can it be that Israel “occupied” Palestinian land, when in fact, there was no Palestinian land to occupy in the first instance?

    It seems that, like most people, you have been conditioned to believe, by a predominantely anti-Israel western media, that Israel invaded a land named “Palestine” with a unique national-based culture, which simply isn’t true. I’m reminded of a quote by Golda Meir which went something like this: “There were no such thing as Palestinians. When was there an independent Palestinian people with a Palestinian state?”

    I’m not Israeli not am I Jewish, but I believe in factual comment.

    Craig Dylan – The Abstract Gaucho

    Read the blog:
    http://www.craigdylan.blogspot.com

  • Craig Dylan ::.
    ~~~~~~~~~
    As an Answer to your question, can you tell where the hell we brought that 5 million Palestinian refugees! including those who came from Palestine which is now recognized as Israhell.

    It seems you read history well, but your fact goes back to 1967, well we read history back to 1948 and beyond that, when Israhell before that date doesn’t exist!!.

    All Arabs Countries were under Ottoman Empire in what so called Islamic Empire, Israhell were not part from that empire, it was Palestine.

    Can you tell where was Israel in the date from 1917 to 1948!!
    It was Palestine under British Occupation and it’s the British who helped the Jews which they are not related to middle east to build their Israhell, “Zionist Entity”.

    For the Sake of God how the Black Jewish can be related to Middle Eastern Region!!!!.

    Israhell people most of them came from all over the place to make a state for the Jewish, they are not from Palestine, yet we accepted the 1948 borders but your Israhell keeps Occupying Syrian Golan, westbank, and lately south Lebanon and Gaza.

    So tell me honey, does Syria Exist!!, or you deny the Syrians also?! then why Israhell keeps her Occupation!!, What about Lebanon!!.

    Tell me UNRWA to whom she seek help? for the ghosts!! Palestinian are recognized by United Nation, and your view of point doesn’t provide any help for the situation.

    Not Having a Palestinian Authority till 1967 that doesn’t mean you have the right to deny the exist of the people.

    Your Comment is outrageous, it’s like saying the massacre in Gaza didn’t exist, cause there are no Palestinian!!!!

    Palestinian are exist and they have elected Government which is under blockade,Occupation and fire, just cause they refused the Occupation and then they refused the Blockade!!.

    If you are not Israhelli or Jewish, and I think you are very affected by Anti-Palestinian propaganda, please at least have a neutral position, or for the love of God say it out loud, you Support Israhell including her war on Gaza.

  • Alloush, I absolutely support Israel and am not afraid to state so publicly. I think any individual affected with a desire to promote individuality and democracy ought to support Israel.

    While I agree that there are socio-culturally Arab populated territories nominally “Palestine”, I don’t agree with your suggestion that there exists a unique “Palestinian” culture or history. I do not require a history lesson. I am well-aware of the British mandate and when “Israel” as we know it was created as a modern state. But neither of these historical facts changes my initial comment that the Gaza strip, as a cultural entity is, like the West Bank, part of a broader Arab culture not a singular “Palestinian” culture. In fact the Gaza Strip is historically distinct from the northern portion of the present-day West Bank, being considerably influenced culturally by North Africa. The West Bank meanwhile features little North African cultural influence. This distinction is even demonstrated today by the Hamas and Fatah seperation. In fact, it is fair to argue that “Palestine” in the modern sense is a political entity more than a cultural one, but given the fact that the governments of the Gaza Strip and West Bank are divided and antagonistic, even the political (as well as cultural) viability of a united Palestine is uncertain.

    Craig Dylan
    http://www.craigdylan.blogspot.com

  • David Johnson

    I absolutely agree with Craig Dylan.
    Alloush – you are wrong my friend.

  • Jason

    Craig, David :- Regardless of the existence of an entity called “Palestine” and people called “Palestinians” you cannot dispute that there were people who lived in the area called Israel/Occupied Territories before the Jews immigrated to that area and proceeded to expelled or subjugate real “people” who lived there previously (within living memory by the way). expel the natives.

    To nitpick over the semantics of the name of the is infantile. Those people lived in that area and had it taken away from them.

    You may say the Jews were there first, but Israel and Judea are only small blips of a few centuries out of 10000 years of inhabitation of the area. The current Arab peoples have continuous ancestors in the region going back over 1000 years. The Jews were expelled by the Romans btw so why don’t we give them Italy to take over ?

  • George

    Many today have little knowledge of the nation of Israel. They did indeed exist before 1948,no not in recent history but in the days of the Bible up to about 2000 years ago they did indeed exist as a nation. They have now once again become a nation as God our Creator predicted they would in his Holy word,the Bible. They had indeed been scattered for years because of the sin of rejecting as a whole their Messiah.But now in his promises to Abraham, Isaac,and Jacob and the prophets brought them back to their own land again. That promised Messiah was none other than the one who came into the world to save sinners,live a sinless life,and die on the cross for their sins and ours ,the Lord Jesus Christ.He was buried,and rose from the dead and was seen of men.And went back up to Heaven. If we repent of our sins against God and trust Jesus Christ as our own personal Saviour and God he will give those who do his gift of eternal life both now and in Heaven forever. Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved,and thy house.(Acts16:31).The one atonement for sins God will accept is the sinless blood of his Son at the cross 2000 years ago.The one sacrafice for sins forever.Ask him to forgive your sins and save your soul today in prayer and he will.This is found in the Authorized King James Holy Bible of 1611. Thank You,very much. Sincerely;

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