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Gaza solidarity sweeps across Latin America

October 23, 2023 at 1:12 pm

A woman takes part in a pro-Palestinian demonstration in Brasilia, Brazil, on October 20, 2023. [Mateus Bonomi – Anadolu Agency]

The Palestinians in Gaza thought that they had experienced the most terrible war ever when, in May 2021, civilians were killed and injured, tens of thousands were displaced, homes and vital infrastructure were destroyed and the supply of basic services was severely disrupted. Until 7 October, that is. Since then, air strikes, ethnic cleansing, brutality and denial of basic legitimate rights are being used by Israel in its latest war to erase the presence of the Palestinian people in their own land.

Solidarity with the Palestinians in Gaza has since swept in waves across Latin America. Activists have organised talks, meetings, cultural activities, media interviews and social media campaigns. Thousands of pro-Palestinian protesters have taken to the streets across the region in support of Gaza and rejection of the Israeli occupation’s aggression. The Palestinian flag has been raised in Brazil, Mexico, Venezuela, Argentina and Chile.

On one of Brazil’s major thoroughfares, Avenida Paulista Street in São Paulo, pro-Palestine solidarity saw a march with protesters demanding their respective governments to impose sanctions and a military embargo on the supply of weapons to Israel. Some were draped in Palestinian flags and set off green and red flares. Others carried banners declaring “Stop bombing Gaza”, “Free Palestine” and “Sanctions on Israel”. They were all united under the message and objective: “Freedom for Palestine”.

At the UN, Brazil called for a new meeting of the Security Council to discuss the ongoing war on Gaza. The council failed to adopt a resolution due to the US using its veto to block a move to open a ceasefire for humanitarian aid to get into Gaza.

READ: US complicit in Israel war crimes in Gaza

“An international humanitarian ceasefire is needed urgently now!” said President Lula Da Silva on X. “Brazil, in the provisional presidency of the UN Security Council, will join the efforts to bring the conflict to an immediate and definitive end. And we will continue to work to promote peace and defend human rights in the world.”

In Chile, a wave of solidarity with the Palestinian people led to protests and marches organised by activists to denounce the ongoing Israeli crimes against the Palestinian people and declare solidarity with Palestine and its people. The Chilean-Palestinian Parliamentary Group in the Senate in Santiago condemned the targeting of the Palestinians and called for an end to the war against the Palestinians in Gaza.

Yesterday, Chile´s Costanera Centre Tower, the second tallest building in Latin America, had “Palestinian Solidarity” projected onto it in support of the Palestinian people and rejection of the Israeli aggression on Gaza. Chile has the largest population of Palestinians in Latin America, and directed this gesture of support to the Palestinian people in the Occupied Territories.

Chile’s Premier League football team Club Deportivo Palestino expressed its solidarity with the team wearing the Palestinian keffiyeh before a match last week. The football club was founded in Chile in 1920 by Palestinian immigrants in the city of Osorno, in the south of the country. It is known as Palestine’s “second national team”.

Club Deportivo Palestino and the Costanera Centre Tower showing solidarity with the Gaza Strip (Photo source: the official page of the Palestinian community in Chile)

In Venezuela, artists have been working diligently for the past few days to create a mural that covers a whole building in a Caracas neighbourhood. The artists were brought together by Julvio Millar to express solidarity with the Palestinian people and put the spotlight on the ongoing struggle to resist Israeli aggression in Gaza.

The mural includes a map of Palestine, a symbolic key of return and the Palestinian flag, as well as a picture of a Palestinian woman wearing the traditional keffiyeh. Millar explained his reasoning by pointing out that, “Palestinian women and children have been targeted by the Israeli occupation as part of the Israeli genocide and what the Gaza Strip is experiencing now is evidence of that.”

The artist has focused on painting murals since 1974, with more than 3,000 across Venezuela. He is also known for being a strong supporter of the Palestinian cause ever since he was a university student. “Solidarity with the Palestinian people is a national day in Venezuela,” he told me. “Venezuelans show their solidarity with Palestine in most aspects of their lives, and art is one of them. We have painted murals and posters in many different parts of Caracas and other places in Venezuela to show the aggression against our people in Gaza.”

Meanwhile, Colombia´s President Gustavo Petro has said that, “Colombia will open an embassy in Ramallah, Palestine, and send aid to Gaza’s borders to await the opening of a humanitarian corridor.” Earlier this year, a street in the Colombian capital Bogota was renamed Estado de Palestina (“State of Palestine”).

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The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.