Palestinians have found an ally in the indigenous peoples of Latin America. Over the last decade, indigenous movements have been among the most vocal supporters in the region of the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination. Bolivia’s Evo Morales, the first self-identified indigenous president in Latin America since colonization, has broken off diplomatic relations with Israel, endorsed the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement, called Israel a “terrorist state,” and denounced Israeli “apartheid” and “genocide in Gaza.” No other Latin American head of state has gone so far in supporting the Palestinian cause.
Latin American solidarity movements with Palestine are starting to win important political battles.
The brutal Israeli assault on Gaza, the fourth in less than ten years (2006, 2008-2009, 2012 and now again), has triggered a burst of solidarity in Latin America.
“Seamos moros!” wrote the Cuban poet and nationalist José Martí in 1893, in support of the Berber uprising against Spanish rule in northern Morocco. “Let us be Moors…the revolt in the Rif…is not an isolated incident, but an outbreak of the change and realignment that have entered the world. Let us be Moors…we [Cubans] who will probably die by the hand of Spain.”  Writing at a time when the scramble for Africa and Asia was at full throttle, Martí was accenting connections between those great power forays and Spanish depredations in Cuba, even as the rebellion of 1895 germinated on his island.
Bishara Bahbah, Israel and Latin America: The Military Connection (New York: St. Martin’s Press with the Institute for Palestine Studies, 1986).
George Black with Milton Jamail and Norma Stoltz Chincilla, Garrison Guatemala (New York: Monthly Review Press, 1984).
A Chicana from California on a recent political study trip to Guatemala elicited a special tour from guards at Guatemala’s seat of government, the National Palace, by putting on a convincing “I’m just a curious tourist” act. Inside an assembly hall she was startled to find an Israeli flag prominently displayed next to those of Guatemala and the US. Why that Israeli flag should be there is explained in a short section, “The Israeli Connection—Not Just Guns” in this excellent book on Guatemala.
What is Israel’s role in Central America, and why have the nations there sought arms and military advisers from Israel? There seem to be four reasons for this curious relationship. The foremost has to do with the reliability of the main military patron in the region, the United States. At one point or another, Washington has interrupted arms sales to Somoza’s Nicaragua and to the governments of El Salvador and Guatemala. Most recently, Congressional opposition has blocked any acknowledged US military support for the counterrevolutionaries (the contras) fighting the Sandinista government in Managua. Furthermore, Israel provides aid to the police forces of Costa Rica, Guatemala and El Salvador, something Congress has prohibited the US from doing since 1974.
From the May-June 1986 issue of Middle East Report:
Israel’s increasingly visible presence throughout the Third World, including such disparate places as the Philippines, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Zaire, Botswana, El Salvador and Argentina, raises a number of questions about the objectives and character of Israel’s foreign policy, the nature of the Israeli state, and the US-Israeli relationship. One Third World connection — Israel’s involvement in Guatemala — involves several unique aspects, but the basic structure of the tie sheds considerable light on the larger issues.
This issue examines the political impact of the economic crisis that has wracked Tunisia and Morocco over the first half of this decade. Even as we prepared this issue, the combustible recipe of austerity decrees and popular desperation exploded into violence in neighboring Egypt, in the industrial town of Kafr el-Dawar, near Alexandria. The decision in mid-September to double the government-controlled price of bread touched off the seething resentment of poor and working class Egyptians at the galloping price increases of uncontrolled market items over the last year. The final blow was a three percent increase in payroll deductions for all state workers.
On Wednesday, March 14, at 4 pm, an Iraqi Airways Boeing 747 jumbo jet took off from Santiago’s Comodoro Arturo Merino Benitez Airport reportedly loaded with “thousands” of 500-pound cluster bombs. The Iraqis apparently bought the bombs from the Chilean firm Industrias Cardoen SA. Cardoen had been displaying its various military wares at the annual International Air Fair (Feria Internacional del Aire, FIDA-84), which was held March 3-11 at the El Bozque Air Base in the Santiago community of San Bernando.