Latin American leaders have emerged as among the most vehement critics of the Zionist regime’s brutal Gaza onslaught – labeling the occupying entity as “terrorist,” recalling ambassadors, and offering near-unanimous, unwavering support to Palestinians.
“I can’t remember another similar situation where [all the countries in the region] have reacted practically as a bloc,” said political scientist Reginaldo Nasser, a professor at the Pontifical University in Sao Paulo, Brazil as cited in a news analysis by AFP.
One of the most symbolic recent developments came from Bolivian President Evo Morales – one of the leaders of Latin America’s far left – who the Israeli regime on its list of “Terrorist States” and eliminated a visa waiver program for Israeli citizens.
Nearly 1,700 Palestinians have been killed and 9,000 injured, two-thirds of them civilians, in Gaza in 24 days of fighting between resistance fighters and the Zionist regime. More than 245 of the dead Palestinians were children, UNICEF has said.
Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff this week described the Israeli military offensive against Gaza as a “massacre.”
Tensions between the two governments had already escalated a week earlier, when Brazil recalled its envoy from Tel Aviv, a move that prompted the Zionist Foreign Ministry spokesman to call the Latin American powerhouse a “diplomatic dwarf.”
Rousseff’s condemnation did not go as far as some of her peers. Venezuela President Nicolas Maduro denounced “a war of extermination that has lasted nearly a century” against the Palestinian people. A lawmaker from his party further used the term “genocide.”
Peru, Ecuador, Chile, and El Salvador have also recalled their ambassadors for consultations, while Costa Rica and Argentina, which have the largest Jewish populations in the region, called the Israeli ambassador for meetings at their foreign ministries.
The region has universally condemned the violence perpetrated by Israeli military operations, urging a ceasefire and the resumption of negotiations between the two sides.
Uruguay President Jose Mujica called on Thursday for “an immediate withdrawal” of Zionist troops from Gaza and suggested it may also recall its envoy from Tel Aviv.
The Zionist regime’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor expressed “deep disappointment” over the recalls, saying they constituted “encouragement” for the Palestinian resistance movement Hamas.
Other Latin American countries had broken diplomatic relations with the Israeli regime years earlier, including Nicaragua in 2010, Venezuela and Bolivia in 2009, after a previous military campaign in Gaza, and Cuba, in 1973, after the Yom Kippur War.
The only somewhat dissonant voice has come from the US-backed Colombia, where the center-right President Juan Manuel Santos has rejected calls to recall his diplomatic representative in Tel Aviv.
Political scientist Nasser, himself surprised by the nearly unanimous condemnation of Israeli atrocities, suggested several reasons. “In the first place, a country today making a declaration against Israel is no longer considered outside international norms.”
There is also a link to anti-American sentiments, Nasser said, as a result of Tel Aviv’s especially close diplomatic ties with Washington.
But official moves have also reflected public anger at the war, said political scientist Ithai Bras, of the Autonomous University of Mexico.
In recent weeks, several protest rallies across the region, from Mexico to southern Chile, have seen thousands of Latin Americans take to the streets in support of Palestinians.
These pro-Palestinian protests have been larger in Europe and Latin America than in Arab countries, Nasser noted, suggesting the issue speaks to concerns over asymmetrical relations.
Bras said the protests are “an identification with pain, a sentiment of solidarity with what is happening in Latin America,” where feelings of oppression are widespread.