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LOOKING AHEAD
25.01.2009

January 21, 2009 (the date of publication in Russian)

Ruslan Kostyuk

CHAVEZ'S PALESTINIAN DEMARCHE

Venezuela challenged the USA again by breaking diplomatic relations with Israel

International reaction to the conflict in the Gaza Strip wasn't unanimous. Majority of countries urged Israel and Hamas to stop hostilities immediately, begin negotiations and give up military influence on opponents, which is absolutely in compliance with appropriate resolutions of UN Security Council. Basically this neutral position was taken by most leading countries, even those, who stand for multipolarity in the world, like Brazil, India, China. Actually, this position is mostly programmed. The very countries, even with all their dissatisfaction about "American unilateralism", aren't still ready to foreign-policy confrontation with the West and its regional allies (like Israel). And even more risky it is in time of global financial crisis, which, as we can see, touched everyone.

So it's not surprising, that the countries claiming to get a "polar" role in modern international relations didn't give any harsh structural criticism to Tel-Aviv actions. Neither did Arab countries – Egypt, Jordan and Mauritania Ц declare a straight break of diplomatic relations with Israel. But Venezuela and Bolivia decided to break principally and declared about total denial of diplomatic relations with Israel.

We wonder why would they care about Middle East being that far Ц in South America? What are the interests of Caracas and La Paz in Israel and Palestine? Of course, on the one hand Venezuela is interested in collaboration with Iran Ц firstly in the framework of OPEC, members of which both countries are. However the main Hugo Chavez's motivation, as we think, has not economic, but ideological character. Anti-imperialism ideology is actual for him, and the criticism of Israel suits this position.

Venezuela, Bolivia and Ecuador have been carrying out structural anti-capitalist reforms and are moving toward the "socialism of the XXI century". These reforms mostly are consistent and radical.

Venezuela and Bolivia along with Cuba became the initiators of the creation of Bolivarian Alternative for the Americas, which has turned into sub-regional organization with a pronounced anti-Washington attitude. Bolivarian Alternative nowadays seems to be the only international group, which functions not according to the laws of market economy, but contrary to it.

This organization was created for the sake of uniting nations of different Latin America zones and putting a human in the heart of American integral project. Venezuelan oil, as well as Bolivian gas, is exported to member-countries of Bolivar Alternative for the Americas on special prices; Cuban teachers and doctors learn and cure people in ally-countries practically voluntarily. And the very existence of such anti-liberal structure is a challenge to modern foreign affairs.

It is Venezuela and Bolivia, who stand against the USA tougher than any other South American nations. Recent decisions about the deportation of the US ambassadors are great evidences of that. Venezuela, Bolivia and Ecuador criticize the US hegemony policy everywhere Ц not only in Latin America, but also in Asia and in the Pacific Rim. The Middle East isn't the exception.

Hugo Chavez and Evo Morales reasonably suppose that after you've decided to withstand the US global dictatorship in social-economic and domestic policy directions, you ought to be consistent also in the sphere of foreign affairs. Few years ago, in his speech for all the anti-globalists of the world in Caracas, Chavez promised that Venezuela would logically realize anti-imperialistic policy in all azimuths. And he's keeping his words. From the very first day of Israeli operation against the Gaza Strip Venezuelan and Bolivian officials proclaimed not only that the character of military actions of Israeli command was "disproportional". Chavez and Morales were quite clear saying Israeli actions contradict the norms of international law and principles of humanism. In notes to Israeli government South American revolutionaries pointed that Israeli state uses the methods of "state terrorism". Chavez defined Israeli policy as "intolerant", Morales called upon for the international tribunal for those who were responsible for what's happened. Daniel Ortega, the President of Nicaragua who supported them both, qualified Israeli soldiers' actions as "genocide".

It's paradoxical, but Latin American Left turned to be far more determined in accusing the actions of Israel than the majority of Muslim states. Obviously, that kind of adherence to principles today can be showed only by the countries which have their own social ideals, believing in themselves and their own powers. Arab corrupted clan regimes aren't able to do that, but such politicians as Chavez and Morales can stand for their own positions decisively and strictly.


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