Hundreds of people gathered after work on 10 July in downtown Caracas to protest Israel’s “Operation Protective Edge” - the continuing massive bombardment of Gaza.
At the rally, speaker after speaker voiced outrage at the massacre of innocent children and other civilians and called for the Venezuelan government and MERCOSUR to cut all ties with Israel.
Former Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez cut diplomatic relations with Israeli after its earlier war on Gaza in 2008-2009. However, the two countries have maintained commercial relations, and a number of Venezuela’s Latin American allies also maintain diplomatic relations with Israel.
On July 10, President Maduro expressed grief over the assassination of three Israeli youth and urged a thorough investigation of the crime. Then he went on to “energetically condemn Israel’s unjust , disproportionate and illegal military attack on the heroic Palestinian people”…and demanded the Israeli government immediately stop this aggression. Then, the President of the National Assembly, Diosdado Cabello, called on the world powers to raise their voices against the massacre of the Palestinian people by Israeli bombs on Gaza.
An article released by the government sponsored, Venezuelan News Agency (AVN) also pointed out that private media around the world have contributed to the massacre of the people of Gaza by perpetuating the narrative that the military action is a “war between equals”.
AVN noted that Israel is a great military power while the Palestinian people in Gaza have no modern military resources. AVN added that Israel has surrounded and blockaded Gaza, keeping it under siege, since Hamas won elections there in 2006.
Calling for an end to Israeli Impunity
At the rally, and in a number of editorials, members of various grassroots organizations called for an international response to Israel’s “chronic and flagrant disregard for international law”. Hindu Anderi, winner of the prestigious Anibal Nazoa prize in journalism, delivered the main speech at the rally. She received prolonged applause when she called Israel a “terrorist state” that practices systematic murder to maintain its military occupation of Palestine.
The crowd at the rally included children and their parents, youth in kaffiehs and elderly people, Venezuelans from various political organizations on the left, and individuals waving handmade signs and articles picturing wounded children.
They grew more serious when Anderi reminded them, “Our solidarity with Palestine is not enough. We call for a total boycott of Israel by MERCOSUR, ALBA…All countries must put an end to diplomatic, economic, political and cultural ties to Israel. The only thing that will finally stop the terrorist state is to pressure US imperialism, Israel’s principle ally, to stop its support.”
The rally had been announced in government media and the independent left news website, Aporrea. News services had featured graphic photos of the mayhem caused by Israeli bombing. Editorials reflected a consensus that Israel’s international impunity must end.
For example, Raul Ramirez wrote in Aporrea, “It is necessary to point out that Israel is not alone. It has all the support it needs from the empire: economic, military and technical. It is the guardian of US interests in the Middle East.” This, he explained, was the reason why Israel enjoys a “terrible impunity” in implementing its objective of ethnic cleansing.
Angel Guerra Cabrera pointed out the hypocrisy of Israel claiming its bombardment is in response to Hamas’ rocket attacks. “The leaders in Tel Aviv cynically brandish the launching of obsolete defective missiles from the political resistance of Gaza, none of which can penetrate the famous iron dome generously financed by Washington DC…” He reminded his readers that while Israel had so-far suffered no casualties, “the Palestinian armed struggle against foreign occupation is totally defensive and a sacred right under international law.”
More actions are planned by the Palestine solidarity movement in Venezuela. On Friday, July 11 at 6pm at COTRAIN, Av Las Acacias #59, La Florida, there will be a meeting to discuss solidarity activities. On July 18 at 6pm, at the same location, there will be a showing of short films on Palestine and on July 25, a major activity is planned. At a meeting Friday evening, a representative of the international movement in solidarity with Palestine suggested they launch a targeted boycott of Israeli products. In addition to Aporrea, more information on upcoming events can be found on the University of Simon Bolivar’s Solidarity Facebook page.