Venezuelans Protest Israel’s Attack and Send Aid to Gaza

by Tamara Pearson —

Mérida, January 9, 2009 (— Venezuelans protested across the country yesterday in solidarity with Palestinians, while the foreign minister, Nicolas Maduro announced that Venezuela will send food and doctors to Gaza.

At a solidarity protest in Caracas, Maduro announced that on Sunday, Venezuela will deliver 80 tons of medicine, water, and food to Gaza. Thirty Venezuelan doctors and the ‘Simon Bolivar Humanitarian Workforce’ will also be sent there.

Maduro also said that as the General Assembly of the United Nations begins today, “We will solicit the sanctioning of the Israeli government for the war actions that it has taken against the Palestinian people.”

“Attacks like the one against a school with the [United Nations] logo are a clear demonstration of the mockery against international rules. Hence, we demand that the United Nations protect the Gaza strip and declare a plan of humanitarian assistance for it,” he said.

Yesterday there were protests against the attacks on Gaza across the country.

An estimated 5,000 people attended a protest in Caracas, calling for a boycott of Israeli products, for Venezuela to stop sending oil to Israel and for the suspension of education, cultural and other agreements that it has with Israel until the invasion of Gaza ends.

A broad range of social movements were involved, as well as the Communist Party of Venezuela (PCV), the United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV), Jews, Christians, Palestinians, Lebanese, and Syrian people. A radio collective truck, playing a range of modern songs against the occupation of Palestine headed up the march, which concluded outside the Israeli embassy, where people threw shoes at the building, and some young people inflicted minor damage.

Burning the US flag outside McDonalds as part of the protest in solidarity with Palestine, Merida (Tamara Pearson/

Burning the US flag outside McDonalds as part of the protest in solidarity with Palestine, Merida (Tamara Pearson/

A second march, somewhat larger and organized by the PSUV, took place that afternoon. 63 Venezuelan ambassadors participated, who were in Caracas for a foreign ministry meeting, along with members of parliament and other social sectors.

In Yaracuy state the protest was attended by the president of the regional parliament, a legislator to the national parliament, alternative media collectives, youth organizations, the Venezuelan Association of Solidarity with the Palestinian people, and the PSUV. Cultural activities with local artists followed the rally. Palestinian-Venezuelan’s said in speeches to the crowd that they appreciated the gesture of expelling the Israeli ambassador from Venezuela.

The protest in Merida was organized by youth organizations, the Homeland for All Party (PPT), PSUV, PCV and the Socialist Forces Front. Hundreds rallied in the main plaza, burnt Israeli and US flags, wrote messages on a giant banner in the street and on the backs of cars, taxis, and buses and handed out leaflets to passersby.

Hundreds also marched in Anzoategui state, lead by the state governor, Tarek Saab and joined by the local Arabic community and PSUV members.

This morning, In Barquismeto, Lara state, there was a rally and march with the Arabic community, followed by a concert.

January 9th 2009