A recent op-ed in the Jerusalem Post glorifying the international influence of Israel with particular reference to Guatemala has once again sparked the conviction that the settler-colonial state should turn to Latin America for political support. The op-ed, a mixture of misplaced patriotism and an exaltation of Israel’s humanitarian and military aid to the country, attempts to depict Latin America as a possible ally for Israel.
Drawing upon the historical support of Guatemala for Israel, being one of the first countries in the region to recognise the settler-colonial state, the op-ed urges Israel to “constantly revive our political and economic relationship with Guatemala, before Islamic extremists fill the peaceful vacuum with their hateful and violent messages.”
Israel may indeed derive support from nations aligned to imperial interests and others which, despite the ramifications of neoliberal violence, have traded revolutionary zeal for the rhetoric of convenience. Beneath the glorification of similarities between Israel and Guatemala, including a ludicrous comparison to the destruction wrought by natural disasters to the Zionist propaganda alleging fear of imminent annihilation, it is the submission to imperial interests and the endorsement of violence that entices commentators to muse about the benefits of Israel investing in the region.
The ties maintained between Israel and countries in the region such as Guatemala, Colombia and also Chile, exhibit reliance upon Israeli drone technology in the name of security. In April 2013, Israel was awarded a $3 million contract to provide the Chilean army with surveillance drones. Drones are reported to have been deployed in the Araucania region to perfect the oppression of the indigenous people of Chile, the Mapuche, who are resisting colonial usurpation of land exacerbated by the laws set in place during Pinochet’s dictatorship that negated the existence of the indigenous population.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, Latin American countries such as Cuba, Ecuador, Venezuela and Bolivia have consistently imparted support for Palestine. The integrity and respect for resistance was strongly evidenced during the United Nations International Meeting on the Question of Palestine that took place in Quito, Ecuador, last month.
Chilean news outlet El Ciudadano published a detained report specifically dealing with the Cuban and Ecuadorean reiterations of support for Palestine uttered during the summit. Ecuadorean Deputy Foreign Minister Leonardo Arízaga described the question of Palestine as “a permanent concern for Ecuador”, denouncing the various forms of aggression committed by Israel against Palestinians. In January 2014, the Palestinian embassy was opened in Quito and the gesture will soon be reciprocated by the establishment of a diplomatic mission in Palestine.
The Cuban Ambassador in Ecuador, Jorge Rodríguez, reiterated his country’s stance supporting Palestinian self-determination and renewing the insistence that Cuba will not renounce its support for Palestine to become a full member state in the UN. Rodríguez also referred to Fidel Castro’s speech at the 6th Summit of the Non-Aligned Movement in which the Cuban leader and revolutionary imparted his internationalist stance by declaring that the just cause of Palestine should derive support from nations across the world.
Such statements have not been relegated to isolated occurrences. Drawing attention to the oblivion enforced upon colonised nations, Castro’s speeches throughout the years emphasised the necessity of internationalism to combat colonial and imperialist oppression. In recent years, the Cuban representative at the UN has been constant in specifically denouncing Israel’s settler-colonial expansion and avoiding surrendering to mainstream rhetoric which mellows the magnitude of atrocities into the detached “military occupation”.
Far from remaining confined to a Cuban expression of support, the internationalism inspired by Castro was emulated by other Latin American countries, in particular Venezuela and Bolivia, which followed the Cuban example and severed ties with the Zionist settler-colonial state. As opposed to the asserted “imagination” comprising the op-ed, Latin American internationalist support for Palestine, as well as opposition to Israel, remain tangible deterrents against Zionist infiltration in the region.
The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.