Special Update, July 2014
Published by the North London Venezuela Solidarity Campaign
Venezuela: Standing In Solidarity with Palestine By Matthew Willgress military action is a “war between equals”. AVN added that Israel has surrounded and blockaded Gaza, keeping it under siege.
The government of Venezuela, led by President Nicolas Maduro, #SOSPalestina Launched has decried Israelli forces’ & Solidarity Acitvities Held incursion into Gaza and called Additionally, President Maduro has launched an for the UN to condemn Israel “SOS Palestine” campaign to demand an end to over its recent wave of Israel’s ongoing bombardment of Gaza. aggression. President Nicolas Ongoing Solidarity “Enough already, I’ve joined the campaign. Maduro described the assault, #SOS Palestina, let’s launch it,” he told supporters These latest positions and initiatives in solidarity whilst holding up a handwritten placard. Asking with Palestine, reflect a proud tradition in which has claimed over 350 fellow citizens to join the campaign, he said “The Venezuela in recent years. Former Venezuelan lives, to as a stepping up of a Palestinian people have the right to live in their President Hugo Chavez cut diplomatic relations ancestral lands in peace…our international with Israeli after its earlier war on Gaza in 2008policy of “extermination.”
enezuela has called for an emergency session of the UN’s Human Rights Council to address Israel’s ongoing military incursion in Gaza, said an official statement, adding the UN should address the “systematic violation of the Human Rights of the Palestinian population in Gaza by the State of Israel and adopt the necessary measures to halt those violations.” Earlier this month, President Maduro condemned “Israel’s unjust, disproportionate and illegal military attack on the heroic Palestinian people.” An article released by the government’s Venezuelan News Agency also pointed out that much private media around the world has contributed to the massacre of the people of Gaza by perpetuating the narrative that the
Palestinian girl expresses her thanks to Venezuela.
position over the issue of Palestine is just and follows the policy of [former President] comandante Hugo Chavez” (see more overleaf.)
Alongside this, numerous solidarity activities with Palestine have been held in Venezuela. At the outset of “Operation Protective Edge” - the continuing massive bombardment of Gaza – thousands gathered to protest and hold a solidarity rally, where speaker after speaker voiced outrage at the massacre of innocent children and other civilians. In contrast to the attitude of many Western and other governments internationally on Palestine, the rally had been announced in government media as well as progressive independent news sources, with a twitter account associated with President Maduro even publicising it.
Nicolas Maduro has spoken out for Palestine again & again on the international stage, first as Foreign Minister & now as Venezuela’s elected President.
2009. Venezuela has since built up an alliance with Palestine, including making “solidarity” health, education and oil deals with the Middle Eastern country (see more overleaf.)
As the holder of the world’s largest oil reserves, with a repeatedly elected progressive government in power committed to national sovereignty free from US domination, and the redistribution of wealth, Venezuela has faced constant hostility from the US in recent years. No doubt Venezuela’s stance on Palestine and with regards to questions of the Middle East and international justice more generally – the government opposed the wars on Afghanistan and Iraq – is another reason for this hostility. ■ To find out more about Venezuela today and join the campaign in solidarity with this progressive beacon in the world visit www.venezuelasolidarity.co.uk
Hugo Chavez’s image appeared on marches across the Middle East at the time of Israel’s 2009 assault on Gaza.
Special Update, July 2014
The Late Hugo Chávez Awarded the Star of Palestine Compiled from agencies
ahmoud Abbas recently awarded President Maduro and the family of Venezuela’s late President Hugo Chávez the “Star of Palestine”, stating, “Chavez is always in our hearts. The churches of Palestine rang their bells with sadness when he died, because the Palestinian people hold him in such great esteem”. Under President Chavez, Venezuela’s expulsion of the Israeli ambassador in 2009 after the assault on Gaza was followed with a statement in which Chavez declared that the presidents of both Israel and the US should be tried at the International Criminal Court. His stance was again emphasised in the aftermath of the massacre on board the Mavi Marmara in May 2010, with Chavez asserting that the attack was “an act of war undertaken by the Israeli army against defenceless civilians”. Then, following the UN vote which established
Palestine as a non-member state, a Palestinian delegation from Ramallah visited Venezuela. A further notable gesture on behalf of Venezuela was the abolishment of visas for Palestinians wishing to travel to the country. Venezuela also pledged to build a hospital on Palestinian territory, advancing another concept of Chavez’s revolution - the promotion of free health care for all. When Chávez passed away in 2013, tributes were paid across a wide range of viewpoints in Palestinian society, including by Hamas, who declared Chavez “an activist and supporter of the Palestinian cause,” the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, who said that Chavez’s ‘heroic stand against the aggression and tyranny of the occupation’ would never be forgotten, and Fatah who said, “Chavez was known for standing up to the Israeli occupation and for refusing to bow to American hegemony.”
Palestinian/Venezuelan ties Strengthened as PetroPalestina is Created By Paul Dobson
ust weeks before Israel’s attacks on Gaza, President Nicolas Maduro received Mahmoud Abbas, explaining that “The Palestinian cause is the world’s cause and Palestine shall be an invisible people no more.” A key reason for the visit was to form PetroPalestina, an organization aimed at helping fulfill the oil demands of the besieged Palestinian economy, which will, in the words of Maduro, “firm up the supplying of diesel from Venezuela to Palestine”. Discussions were also held on the creation of a Palestinian centre of Mission Miracle; a health program which uses laser surgery to restore, without cost, sight to people who can’t afford private attention.
South America & ALBA condemn Israeli assault By Sian Errington
he wave of change that has seen progressive governments elected across much of Latin America remains a beacon of hope, as shown again by the response on Gaza.
On 17th July Foreign minister Ricardo Patiño recalled Ecuador’s ambassador to Israel. Cuba has a long tradition of standing shoulder to shoulder with Palestine, whilst Chile has halted free trade negotiations with Israel and seen massive protests in solidarity with Gaza (see picture below.)
Not only has Venezuela launched an international campaign and sends oil to Gaza, but other governments have also spoken out and taken action. Bolivia’s President Evo Morales has said it is high time something was done “to end the genocide that Israel is carrying out on Palestine.”
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This newsletter was published by the North London Venezuela Solidarity Campaign. The views in articles only express those of the authors unless otherwise stated – [email protected]