During the UN International Meeting on the Question of Palestine held in Quito in March, the Deputy Foreign Minister of Ecuador, Leonardo Arízaga, described Palestine as a “permanent concern”. Not long afterwards, his President, Rafael Correa, managed to unravel all vestiges of support for the Palestinian cause.
Besides meeting with Jewish entrepreneur Jonathan Medved – a photo of the two on Twitter had the caption, “Discussing innovation and Israel-Ecuador relations with President Correa of Ecuador @MashiRafael. Viva la innovacion!” ‑ Correa also regurgitated a number of Zionist fables that have entered mainstream rhetoric in a video circulated widely online. In his discourse, Correa hails Israel for a number of achievements disassociated from the ramifications, including the so-called accomplishment of “making the desert bloom” and praising the settler-colonial state’s technological innovations and entrepreneurship. According to Correa, “Israel is an example that we should follow to emancipate in Latin America.”
Right on cue, Israel and Ecuador signed agreements in which Israel pledged to assist with development and technology projects in the South American state. The agreements were signed in Jerusalem by Israel’s Minister of the Economy Naftali Bennett and his Ecuadorean counterpart, Richard Espinoza Guzmán. Rumours about a possible state visit by Correa to Israel at the end of this year have also emerged.
As expected, Correa’s comments obscured all other resulting endeavours. Zionists and the right wing in Latin America upheld Correa’s comments, deeming him “intellectually honest in recognising the advantages of the only democracy [sic] in the Middle East.” Others compared Correa with Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, who has persisted in upholding his predecessor Hugo Chavez’s legacy towards Palestine.
The left wing and Palestinian supporters expressed indignation at Correa’s words, as well as cynicism with regard to the outdated metaphors that, once upon a time, served to consolidate the establishment of the settler-colonial state. Posting on Twitter, former adviser to the Palestinian Embassy in Argentina Rafael Araya Masry, wrote, “President Correa should know that if Israel succeeded in making the desert bloom, it occurred due to the theft of 85% of Palestinian water.” Masry also deemed Correa’s comments to be both derogatory and deceptive.
Commentators on social media invoked reminders of Zionist aggression fuelling the constant warfare “based upon lies disseminated in the media”, and questioned propaganda that hailed Israeli universities and research as unique in the world. They cited Cuban advances in areas such as education and health which are disregarded routinely by the mainstream media.
Undoubtedly, Correa’s revelatory support for Zionism necessitates a rethinking of his country’s alleged support for the Palestinians. Ecuador has become another example of those countries which profess support for Palestine while conspiring simultaneously with Israel to increase its profits and allow it to perpetrate further colonial violence. In a way, Correa’s hypocritical stance on Palestine reflects the contentious issues he faces with the indigenous people of Ecuador, who maintain that the president is promoting neoliberal policies to their detriment.
The reversal of previously declared Ecuadorean support for Palestine follows the opening of a diplomatic mission in the capital Quito, which is expected to be reciprocated in Palestine. Correa’s declared Zionist support, however, sheds serious doubts upon supposed allegiance to countries embarking upon resistance to occupation and colonialism. In the case of Palestine, it is time for the leadership to reject compromised support that will ultimately detract from the dynamics of liberation.
The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.