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Freedom-seeking Latin American countries support Palestine, still fight authoritarianism: Academic

Latin American countries which were caught in the grip of authoritarianism and went through the same struggle to win their freedom are most likely to support the Palestinian cause, according to an academic.

Professor David Miller, sacked by Bristol University over his criticism of Israel and Zionism, said many nations across Latin America including Venezuela and Chile are strongly supportive of Palestinian resistance, most probably because they come from a similar background in fights against dictatorship.

“There are quite a lot of Latin American countries [which] recognize the Palestinian state. And indeed, many of the countries who come from a tradition of struggle against authoritarianism are the ones who are most likely to be supporting the Palestinians,” Miller told Press TV’s weekly show Palestine Declassified aired on Saturday.

According to the latest figure by the United Nations, the State of Palestine currently enjoys bilateral recognition from 138 of the 193 UN member states and Latin America is a hub of support for the Palestinian cause.

Brazil, Argentina, Bolivia, Uruguay, Paraguay, Ecuador, Chile and Venezuela have all announced support for a Palestinian state and recognized Palestinian sovereignty over the West Bank and Gaza.

Chile is home to the largest and one of the oldest Palestinian communities outside the Arab world, with almost half a million people of Palestinian origin, who constitute around 2.5% of the country’s population.

In 2022, the newly elected President of Chile, Gabriel Boric, canceled the credentials ceremony for the new Israeli ambassador and promptly dismissed him from the Presidential Palace when he heard of the Israeli military killing of Odia Salah in Jenin. It has since been announced that a Chilean embassy will be established in Palestine.

Lauding the Chilean government for refusing the Israeli envoy’s credentials, Miller also hailed the Venezuelans for having been at the front of absolute support for the Palestinian cause.

He described the late, great President of Venezuela Hugo Chavez Chaves as an “uncompromising advocate” to the Palestinian Cause.

“The skepticism there is on the left in Europe, and many similar parts of the world towards Islamic revolution is not held so strongly in Latin America. They come from a Christian background, predominantly Catholic, but they are much more able to understand that the religion can play a role in revolution than is left in Western Europe,” Miller explained.

Therefore, he said, that is how the Palestinian liberation and the liberation movements of Latin America connect and that is what Chavez understood very well.

Miller also said that “the Venezuelans have been absolutely at the front of absolute support for the Palestinian cause and indeed for the support of other movements around West Asia, including in Lebanon with Hezbollah.”

The US government and other nefarious actors have long accused Chavez of harboring active cells for the Lebanese resistance movement Hezbollah in Venezuela.

It was alleged that Chavez provided safe haven to the only group which has successfully driven Israel out of Lebanon, the mighty Hezbollah, in the Venezuelan territory of Margarita Island.

“The Venezuelans have been very supportive of Hezbollah and the Palestinians and both [current Venezuelan President Nicholas] Maduro and Chavez have said, we will not be abandoning our allies and these are people who they regard as comrades in arms, and not as terrorists or as Islamic fundamentalists, as many people on the left in Western Europe perceive,” Miller said.

Maduro, who himself has been the target of several US assassination attempts, has publicly expressed strong solidarity with the Palestinian cause.

In an interview published in January 2022, when asked about his country’s commitment to the liberation of Palestine, Maduro responded “No one in this world dares ask us to abandon Palestine. It is a sin just thinking about abandoning Palestine. Palestine is the sacred land of mankind; Israel's crimes against the Palestinian people will be paid for by the occupation one day.”

“So what we will see with Latin American countries, especially those who are already supporting Palestine, is that their support will intensify and it will be added to by other countries which will come on board,” Miller added.

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