Chileans: ‘We know what it is like for the Palestinians’

August 15, 2014
Paula Sanchez speaking at the Sydney rally for Palestine on August 9. Photo: Peter Boyle.

At a rally in solidarity with Palestine in Sydney on August 9, Chilean community activist and Socialist Alliance member Paula Sanchez told the 1000-strong crowd about the growing number of Latin American countries cutting diplomatic and trade ties with Israel in protest against its war on Gaza. Sanchez addressed the rally on behalf of the Latin American Social Forum.

“More and more countries of Latin America are showing their support for the Palestinian people and they don't accept what Israel is doing to Gaza”, Sanchez told Green Left Weekly. “Some countries like Ecuador, Chile, Peru, Brazil and El Salvador have withdrawn their ambassadors from Israel in protest.”

Sanchez said she was particularly pleased that the Chilean government had decided to withdraw its ambassador and cut some trade ties with Israel. “Chile has a very big Palestinian community, some of whom are in their third generation in Chile. Recently there was a very big demonstration in Chile's capital, Santiago, in solidarity with Gaza.

“Venezuela and Cuba had already cut ties with Israel in solidarity with the Palestinian people during earlier military aggressions by Israel. And Bolivia took action very early in this latest attack on Gaza.”

Sanchez also pointed to the “In Defence of Palestine” statement signed by Bolivian President Evo Morales, Cuban leader Fidel Castro, Uruguayan writer Eduardo Galeano and many other prominent Latin Americans.

“The people of Latin America have suffered a lot of repression and many military regimes imposed by the US government, so we know what it is like for the Palestinians. What is happening now in Gaza is horrible. They are killing women and children and they do this with the support of the US.

“The left-wing governments of Latin America are setting an example that should be followed by other countries, so I made a call at the rally for Australia to immediately withdraw its ambassador from Israel,” Sanchez said, urging others to join her in signing an online petition.

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