Latinamerican countries most of which recognize Palestine as a free and sovereign state, helped this week with their votes to elevate the status of the Palestine Authority to “non member observer” which was approved this week by an overwhelming majority of the UN General Assembly.
Panama was the only Latam country among the nine that did not support the UN resolution considered ‘historic’, while Paraguay, Guatemala and Colombia joined the ranks of those that abstained, 41. The rest of Latam voted in favour of the motion which is similar to the Vatican status and finally totalled 138 ayes.
Two surprises: Mexico that supported the motion but does not recognize the state of Palestine and Paraguay’s abstention which last year with President Fernando Lugo voted as the rest of South American countries.
Panamanian Foreign Ministry Romulo Roux said that his country does not recognize Palestine as a state but admits their right to become one as long as they have the “capacity to live in peace with its neighbours”.
Guatemala that does not recognize Palestine as an independent state has already anticipated abstention, while Colombia another abstainer is a similar case to Mexico: it does not recognize an independent Palestine state but in 1995 had the diplomatic initiative of formalizing a ‘Special mission’ or Palestine embassy in Bogotá.
In Chile which hosts 400.000 Palestine mostly descendents from XX century immigrants, mostly Catholic, are the largest Palestine community overseas, and celebrated enthusiastically the UN resolution. Even when Palestine has an embassy in Santiago since 1991, Chile only recognized Palestine as a “free, independent and sovereign” state on January 2011.
Since the end of 2010 several Latinamerican countries have recognized the Palestine state: Chile and Brazil in 2010; Bolivia and Ecuador, 2010; Uruguay, Argentina, Peru, Honduras and El Salvador in 2011. All of them with the exception of Chile and Peru have affirmed that the Palestine State borders must be those previous to 4 June 1967, before the Six-day war, as was approved by this week’s UN resolution.
Cuba and Nicaragua are among the 94 countries which recognized the unilateral proclamation of a Palestine State approved by the Palestine National Council in Algiers back in 1988 and also were among the first to recognize the Palestine National Authority established in 1994 following the Oslo agreements.
Venezuela’ Chavez has supported the Palestine state since taking office back in 1999 and in April 2009, four months after having broken relations with Israel because of the Gaza offensive it formalized diplomatic relations with Palestine with the opening of an embassy in Caracas.
Costa Rica in Central America recognizes the Palestine National Authority and established diplomatic relations in 2008, two years after having moved its embassy in Israel from Jerusalem to Tel Aviv. The Dominican Republic recognized the Palestine state in July 2009 with which it has formal diplomatic relations. El Salvador and Honduras did the same in August 2011.
Ecuador trusts that the UN resolution is a step forward in the search for “a peaceful, fair and long lasting peace” between Palestine and Israel, with the full establishment of recognized borders by both states.
Brazil reiterated its support for the ‘immediate’ resumption of negotiations between Israel and the Palestine National Authority, which will lead to ‘a sustainable and long lasting peace based on the solution of the two states”, according to a brief release from the Foreign Ministry.
This was the fourth attempt by Palestine authorities to obtain international support since the UN recognized the right of the Palestine people to self determination back in 1974. The last attempt was in September 2011, when the Palestine petition before the UN to be admitted as full member was blocked in the Security Council by Washington. However on 31 October 2011, Unesco recognized Palestine as a full member despite the opposition from the US and Germany.