Palestinian and Venezuelan Presidents Meet, Discuss Health Facilities and Statehood

The presidents of Venezuela and Palestine met yesterday in the presidential palace Miraflores in Caracas and signed nine agreements, including one to construct health facilities in Palestine.


Mérida, October 12th 2011 ( –The presidents of Venezuela and Palestine met yesterday in the presidential palace Miraflores in Caracas and signed nine agreements, including one to construct health facilities in Palestine. Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez reiterated his country’s support for Palestine’s petition for statehood currently under discussion in the UN.

Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas and Chavez signed agreements in the areas of education, agriculture, and trade cooperation.

37 Palestinians are currently studying medicine in Venezuela’s Salvador Allende Latin American School of Medicine, and Chavez said the government is open to receiving more students.

The two presidents also agreed that Venezuela would construct heath facilities in Palestine, and in the area of agriculture Chavez said Venezuela wanted to contribute to Palestine’s urban and self sustaining agriculture with technology and resources.

 “We’re going to open up spaces for the missions, for social work, for example, the mission Jose Gregorio Hernandez [which provides support for people with mental and physical disabilities]. Because of the aggression and the bombing, there are many people [in Palestine] with disabilities,” Chavez told the press.

They also agreed to create a joint commission to better follow up on the new agreements and those made when Abbas visited Venezuela in November 2009.

 “We want to advance a lot more, but you all know there’s a blockade there,” Chavez said. The 2009 visit by Abbas was the first one by a Palestinian president to Venezuela. The visit followed Venezuela’s severing of relations with Israel and establishing diplomatic relations with Palestine in April that year.

Chavez also reiterated Venezuela’s support for Palestine’s petition for statehood, “The Venezuelan government will always support the Palestine cause. Palestine has the same right that Israel has to have a state”.

He asked that the construction of settlements in Palestine be ceased and that the “borders of June 1967” are returned to.

Abbas expressed his appreciation for Venezuela’s support, “Mr President and the Venezuelan people…I want to publically thank you, especially for the letter you sent …to the United Nations. We’ll continue struggling until we achieve the independence of Palestine.”

Chavez wrote a public letter, addressed to the Secretary General of the UN on September 17, analysing the Israel-Palestine conflict and calling for the recognition of the Palestinian state.

“[The Palestinians] would be willing to return to the negotiating table on the condition that Palestine is recognised as a state, something the vast majority of the world wants, but that one group doesn’t want…I insist on the need to explain to our people, in a didactic way, the geo-politics, history [of Palestine] and to say that the Palestinian cause is our cause, Palestine is part of the human fatherland,” Chavez said yesterday

Abbas also invited Chavez to visit Palestine next year. Chavez said he would visit the country once he had fully recovered from his cancer treatment.

Abbas is currently touring Latin America to seek for support for his country’s petition before the UN. On Sunday he visited Colombia.

Following the meeting with Abbas, Colombian president Juan Manuel Santos said that a Palestinian state can’t come about by the “imposition of some votes or a resolution” in the United Nations, but rather through negotiations.

Colombia and French Guiana (as French territory) are the only South American countries which don’t recognise Palestine. The UN General Assembly overwhelmingly supports Palestinian statehood, but the U.S, which is against it, has the right to veto in the Security Council, which will make the final decision.