The Danger of Venezuela’s Confrontation

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As a preface to this post, let it be clear that the principle stand I take on the Israel-Palestine conflict is the following: the United States should not support either side if it is against our own national interests.


Hugo Chavez recently announced his intentions of establishing a Venezuelan embassy in the the Palestinian territories, stating:

“We have decided to designate an ambassador and open an embassy in Palestine”

Chavez went on further:
“We … are on the side of the Palestinian people’s memorable struggle … against the genocidal state of Israel that knocks down, kills and aims to terminate the Palestinian people.”

As he continued speaking, his statements became less and less convincing:

“We (Venezuelans) should devote the entire force of our hearts and souls towards the creation of a Palestinian state,” he said. “Venezuela is Palestine; Palestine is Venezuela, we have a common struggle

And then Chavez claimed that Colombia was the new “Israel of South America” because Colombia recently allowed the United States to establish more military bases in its country.

The first statement, by itself, is innocuous; it is not THAT objectionable to open up an embassy in Palestine.

The second statement is inaccurate; although Israel acts with reckless disregard for Palestinian lives’, its actions, up to this point, cannot be considered genocidal. In the end, Israelis just want to be left alone. The problem is that Israel goes to extreme measures, more extreme than what has been done unto them in fact, to obtain this solitude. Instead of calling Israel “genocidal”, Chavez should call it for what it is; it would be more effective in marshaling support for his “alleged” concern for the Palestinians’ welfare.

With the third statement, Chavez completely undermines whatever credibility he had up to that point.

There is no rational basis for saying that Venezuelans should support the creation of a Palestinian state with all their hearts and souls. A 2005 estimate put almost 40% of Venezuela’s population under the poverty line. Like most of Latin America, Venezuela suffers from an acute, seemingly intractable poverty. If 40 % of Venezuela’s population is struggling to survive on a day-to-day basis, Venezuela should not be focusing all their energies on assisting others; it simply does not make sense. (I was in Caracas and Maracaibo this summer, and out of the 7 countries I have been to in Latin America, it was by far the most run-down, and also I never heard so many concerns from the people about how unsafe it was due to a high crime rate)

With the 4th statement, Chavez enters the realm of crazy.


Colombia being equated to Israel is a tenuous statement at best and most likely an absurd one.

Chavez premises this comparison on the fact that the United States wants to use Colombia as a jumping point to invade other South American countries, like Venezuela. However, even if the United States did have plans to invade countries like Venezuela, Colombia still is not like Israel.

Chavez’s error lies in two principal points: 1) the fundamental difference between the U.S.’s interests in Colombia and Israel and 2) the fundamental difference in the relationships between Venezuela-Colombia and Israel-Palestine.

1)Our interests in Colombia are direct–stem the drug production and have a solid partner in South America. I will concede that, of course, part of the U.S.’s interest in Colombia is to counter the growing leftward shift on the continent(i.e. Venezuela, Bolivia and Ecuador). However, the U.S.’s interests in Israel run outside of practical considerations. One reason the U.S. so unflinchingly supports Israel is due to the large amount wealthy, influential Jewish Americans (i.e. Michael Bloomberg) who vigorously support Israel regardless of whether its actions run counter to U.S. interests. Undoubtedly, another reason for U.S. support of Israel is because of our past sins; during the WWII era, the U.S. turned away Jewish refugees fleeing the holocaust. Given the above fundamental differences in rationale for support, the U.S.’s support of Colombia now and in the future will not be such that Colombia can be the considered the “Israel” of South America.

2)The Israel-Palestine relationship is, admitted from Chavez’s own mouth, severely uneven; the Palestinians are almost absolutely restricted in freedom of movement and the people are very poor. Israel, on the other hand, is relatively well-off. Succinctly, Israel owns the Palestinian’s fate.

The Colombia-Venezuela Relationship is a far cry from the Israel-Palestinian one; Colombia and Venezuela are on much more equal terms. Each country’s citizenry is allowed to travel back and forth between the two nations, and there is a robust trade as well(16.2% of Colombia’s exports go to Venezuela and 12.7% of the latter’s imports come from Colombia). Furthermore, Venezuela, unlike Palestine, has a formal military capable of defending itself.

There is more to analyze, like the FARC terrorism in Colombia and Palestinian terrorism in Israel but the differences remain.

A likely source of Chavez’s verbal idiocy is that he likes to hear himself talk; framing its neighbor as Israel does nothing but stoke the flames of conflict. If Chavez is concerned with the well-being of Palestine, a conflict on his own ground would only harm his original intention: to help the Palestinian people. This man needs to be quiet.

Here is the original link to the Reuters story: http://www.reuters.com/article/worldNews/idUSTRE5AR0A320091128

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One Response to “The Danger of Venezuela’s Confrontation”

  1. Anonymous Says:

    Testing, Testing

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