Venezuela’s Maduro Recognizes Aaron Bushnell Sacrifice, Calls For Stop to Gaza Genocide

“This is what our ruling class has decided will be normal,” said Bushnell before self-immolating outside the Israeli embassy in Washington D.C..
Maduro Gaza Bushnell
Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro repeated his government’s call to stop the ongoing genocide in Gaza. (@nicolasmaduro / X)

Mexico City, Mexico, February 27, 2024 ( – Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro paid tribute to the sacrifice made by Aaron Bushnell, the US airman who self-immolated outside the Israeli embassy in Washington, to bring attention to the plight of the Palestinian people. 

In his final words, Bushnell reiterated a call to stop the ongoing genocide in Gaza.

“We call on the conscience of the entire world to stop this genocide. How can it be that we have to see someone, a soldier, a young man, immolate himself in order to denounce something as horrific as genocide,” said Maduro during his weekly television program on Monday.

Bushnell, a 25-year-old active duty member of the US Air Force, broadcast his act of protest on social media, explaining his motivations before immolating himself outside the Israeli embassy on Sunday in protest over Israel’s genocidal campaign in the Gaza strip. 

“I am about to engage in an extreme act of protest. But compared to what people have been experiencing in Palestine at the hands of their colonizers, it’s not extreme at all. This is what our ruling class has decided will be normal,” the airman said before dousing himself with an accelerant and lighting himself on fire.

Bushnell’s last words were “Free Palestine” before collapsing on the ground. Nearby security officials attempted to put out the fire with extinguishers while another police officer pointed a gun. Bushnell was taken to hospital but succumbed to his injuries. 

Bushnell’s act of protest received heavy media coverage, despite the consensus that most US outlets maintain a pro-Israel editorial line. Palestinian advocates criticized coverage of Bushnell’s death that attempted to mask his motivations. However, some outlets such as CNN aired his message as part of their reporting.

“Aaron Bushnell gave his life so that America would hear his message: End the genocide. He kept calling “Free Palestine” through intense, horrifying pain. He gave his life so people in Gaza might live. There’s no greater love than that. I feel sadness and awe for this human being,” wrote Ali Abuminah, director of the Electronic Intifada.

His act reverberated around the world, including Venezuela, which has long championed the Palestinian people’s struggle for liberation.

“A young Air Force soldier horrified, frightened, desperate, and in pain over the massacre and genocide of against the Palestinian people, lights himself on fire. On behalf of the entire Venezuelan people, I would like to convey our condolences to the family of this young soldier,” said Maduro.

The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) also expressed its solidarity with Bushnell’s family, adding that his protest shows that “the status of the Palestinian cause, especially in American circles, is becoming more deeply entrenched in the global conscience, and reveals the truth of the zionist entity ​​as a cheap colonial tool in the hands of savage imperialism.”

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. The Maduro government has likewise publicly spoken out in favor of South Africa’s genocide case against Israel at the International Court of Justice (ICJ). 

Meanwhile, Venezuelan social movements organized under the banner of the Palestine Solidarity Platform have affirmed the Palestinian people’s right to resist by any means necessary. There have been several marches in Caracas to protest against Israeli atrocities during the latest offensive in Gaza.

“The principle of solidarity is the cornerstone of humanity. That’s why we, in a country enduring a brutal US blockade, feel solidarity with the people of Palestine,” Hindu Anderi, a Lebanese-Venezuelan journalist and longstanding Palestinian solidarity activist, told Venezuelanalysis.

Edited by Ricardo Vaz in Maputo, Mozambique.