Monday, May 16th | 15 Iyyar 5782

January 28, 2019 12:07 pm

Denouncing US ‘Interference,’ Gaza Palestinians Rally in Support of Maduro Regime in Venezuela

avatar by Ben Cohen

Palestinians in Gaza City demonstrate in support of the Maduro regime in Venezuela. Photo: Screenshot.

Hundreds of Palestinians marched through Gaza City on Monday in a show of support for Venezuela’s increasingly isolated president, Nicolas Maduro.

The solidarity march, which culminated outside the UN office in the Gazan capital, was organized by the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP) — a constituent group of the PLO that adheres to Marxist-Leninist ideology and denies the right of Israel to exist as a sovereign state.

Addressing the crowd, prominent DFLP leader Talal Abu Zarifa announced:“We declare our full solidarity with Venezuela and its government under the leadership of the democratically-elected Maduro.”

Speaking in front of an array of Venezuelan and Palestinian flags alongside portraits of Maduro, Abu Zarifa hailed the “Venezuelan people” for “rejecting US interference in their internal affairs.”

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“We salute the Venezuelan people’s willingness to defend their national dignity against the foreign hostility that endangers their future,” Abu Zarifa said.

Support for Maduro among the Palestinians has remained rock solid over the last week, following the US decision to recognize opposition leader Juan Guaido as Venezuela’s legitimate interim president ahead of new elections. Street protests in Venezuela against Maduro’s government have escalated dramatically since his inauguration for a second term on Jan. 10, following a widely-condemned election in May 2018 which saw opposition parties barred from participating.

Democratic nations including Canada, the UK, Germany, Israel and most countries in Latin America have followed the US in extending recognition to Guaido, the speaker of the democratically-elected National Assembly dissolved by Maduro in 2017. In stark contrast, authoritarian leaders and governments around the world have rushed to declare their support for the “Bolivarian socialist” government in Caracas.

Russia, Turkey, Iran, China, Syria and the Palestinian Authority have all vocally backed Maduro, accusing the US of engineering a “coup” against the disputed Venezuelan leader. Speaking to the official PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida over the weekend, PLO Executive Committee member Ahmed Majdalani stated that “the coup attempt against the legitimacy of elected President Nicolas Maduro is worthy of condemnation.”

Under Maduro’s predecessor, Hugo Chavez, Venezuela broke diplomatic relations with Israel following the three-week armed conflict between the Jewish state and Hamas in Gaza in Dec. 2008. Accusing Israel of carrying out a “genocide” against the Palestinians in Gaza, Chavez frequently denounced Israel using antisemitic imagery, going so far as to accuse the Mossad intelligence agency — whom he described as “Israeli terrorists” — of attempting to assassinate him in 2010.

Maduro preserved Chavez’s foreign policy after the latter’s death in 2013, retaining close ties with Iran and Cuba and forging a new friendship with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erodgan.

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