Venezuela’s Maduro Criticizes US Hypocrisy After Crackdown on Students

The Venezuelan government also condemned Israel’s latest assault on Gaza following Monday’s invasion of Rafah.
Venezuelan students march through the streets of Caracas in support of the Palestinian people and against Israel's assault on Gaza. (PSUV)

Mexico City, Mexico, May 7, 2024 ( – Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro expressed his solidarity with students in the United States protesting against Israel’s genocidal campaign in Gaza while questioning the silence of human rights organizations amid a crackdown against freedom of expression in the US.

“What would they say if in Venezuela the police suddenly entered and raided the country’s universities and dragged away professors, students, workers as is happening in the United States, where seventy universities have been raided?” asked Maduro during his weekly broadcast on Monday night.

The Venezuelan president likewise criticized Israel’s decision to censor Al Jazeera and expressed his support for the workers of the Qatar-backed international news outlet.

“They have suffered persecution, the murder of their journalists and now the Zionist regime and colonialist occupier under Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu seeks to silence them,” said Maduro.

The Venezuelan government also condemned Israel’s latest assault on Gaza following Monday’s invasion of Rafah. Located in the south of the small enclave bordering Egypt, it is one of the few remaining areas not totally destroyed by Israeli bombs and currently hosts more than a million refugees from other parts of the strip.

“Venezuela, consistent with its unrestricted support for the Palestinian cause and the just claim for its existence and sovereignty, expresses its absolute solidarity with its People and Government, including the families of the victims, and hopes for the speedy recovery of the wounded and injured,” read a statement published by Foreign Affairs Minister Yván Gil.

The communique called for the international community to take all the steps necessary to reestablish “legality and international law in the area” in order to avoid a further escalation that could lead to a regional conflict. 

The Maduro government has previously publicly spoken out in favor of South Africa’s genocide case against Israel at the International Court of Justice (ICJ). Caracas additionally condemned Israeli actions raising region-wide tensions following an attack on Iranian diplomatic facilities in Syria and Iran’s response with hundreds of drones and missiles fired at Israeli territory. 

During the 23rd Summit of Heads of State and Government of the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America in April, regional leaders issued a special declaration calling for an end to the genocide being perpetrated against the Palestinian people.

The Maduro government and Venezuelan society more broadly have long supported the cause of the Palestinian people. Maduro has consistently called for an immediate ceasefire and even paid tribute to the sacrifice made by Aaron Bushnell, the US airman who self-immolated outside the Israeli embassy in Washington in protest over US support for Israel’s genocidal campaign. 

Last week, thousands of Venezuelan students marched in the capital to show their support for the Palestinian people. The demonstration was spearheaded by the Venezuelan Federation of University Students (FVEU) alongside Palestine solidarity collectives. 

Venezuelan popular movements have also taken strong positions on Palestine. The Communard Union, which brings together more than 50 communes nationwide, issued its own statement reiterating its support for the Palestinian cause and further condemned the violence enacted against protesting students in the US. 

Venezuela, under the leadership of former President Hugo Chávez and his successor, has been a strong champion of the Palestinian cause, defending the right to resist in various international fora

Chávez’s forceful condemnation of Israel following his decision to break diplomatic ties in 2009 still reverberates among Palestinian solidarity activists.

In recent months, further Latin American countries have taken steps to sever ties with Israel. Colombian President Gustavo Petro announced last week that Bogotá would shut down all diplomatic links with Tel Aviv. Bolivia likewise broke relations with Israel in November.

Edited by Ricardo Vaz in Caracas.