On November 15 2013 Palestine and Bolivia formally declared the establishment of bilateral diplomatic relations during a United Nations session. The Bolivian permanent representative to the United Nations, Sacha Llorenti, declared, “We support the Palestinian cause. Bolivia is a firm believer in the two-State solution, which includes an independent and sovereign Palestine based upon the borders prior to those established in 1967.” In August, Bolivia was admitted to the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People.
Llorenti also criticised Israel’s territorial expansion through settlement construction, describing the action as implementing ‘colonies that hamper the search for a solution to the historical conflict.” Palestinian representative Riyad Mansour stated his hopes “in strengthening the pillars of a Palestinian state and its links with Latin America”.
The Bolivian government has also pledged solidarity with Palestine, as evidenced in a statement released by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, reflecting the international day of solidarity with the Palestinian people. The statement hails Palestine as an embodiment of “unwavering strength to resist under disadvantage, and maintaining a struggle for sovereignty and self-determination.” Contrary to the usual rhetoric emanating from the West, the statement acknowledged the numerous United Nations resolutions as well as their ineffectiveness due to imperial interests in the region. “Unfortunately, the disregard of military and economically powerful countries has perpetuated and increased conflict in Palestine, impeding Palestinians from controlling their own destiny … the courage of Palestinians has demonstrated to the international community that while there are outstanding issues, it is impossible for peace and security to endure.”
Together with former Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez, Bolivian president Evo Morales has been consistently critical of Israel and imperialism. In response to US foreign policy and exploitation, Fidel Castro, Hugo Chavez and Evo Morales declared themselves the ‘axis of good’ against imperialism and its allies, quoting Chavez, “who threaten, who invade, who kill, who assassinate.” Morales broke ties with Israel in 2009 over the massacre unleashed upon Gaza during Operation Cast Lead, declaring that Israeli officials including Ehud Olmert, ought to be charged with genocide in the International Criminal Court. The United Nations was also criticised for its usual diplomatic stance allowing Israel to murder with impunity, with Morales deriding the organisation by accusing the ‘Insecurity Council’ of allowing the perpetrator free reign to indulge in crimes against humanity. Morales reiterated his stance during Operation Pillar of Defence in 2012, declaring Israeli to be “an international threat to stability in the Middle East and Latin America,” the latter referring to Israel’s military and economic ties with countries such as Colombia – a country heavily reliant on Israeli drone technology to further oppression.
The similarities between Palestine and Latin America were invoked in the message of solidarity – a reminder of the colonisation and subsequent neoliberal violence unleashed upon the continent. Through the statement, Bolivia has affirmed the legitimacy of Palestinian self-determination as a struggle beyond the confines of territory – it is also a reminder of a wider struggle for self-determination against imperial exploitation.
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