Idiot Media Watch (II)

Is AFP editorially biased against the US and Israel?
The AFP article says the “expulsion of the Israeli Ambassador to Venezuela illustrates the nearly unanimous rejection in Latin America to (Israel’s military) offensive in Gaza, a hostility fed by a traditional distrust towards the United States, (which is) Israel’s great ally.”
The AFP correspondent who wrote the article leads with President Hugo Chavez’s expulsion of the Israeli Ambassador to Venezuela, and quotes Chavez condemning Israel’s government as a “murderer” and “genocidal.” Chavez adds that the presidents of Israel and the US should be tried by the International Criminal Court.
The article then quotes Argentina’s Pablo Kornblum, who teaches international studies at JFK University in Buenos Aires, saying that the “reaction in latin America comes from a very strong anti-American sentiment (in the region) which has been transferred to the Middle East.”
Luis D’elia, a leader of Argentina’s “piqueteros,” who function essentially as paid street thugs for certain Peronist politicos, is also quoted.
Other “examples” of Latin America’s unanimous condemnation of Israel include Bolivia’s President Evo Morales and members of Ecuador’s Congress who are aligned politically with President Rafael Correa.
The article adds that Mexico, which will get a non-permanent slot at the next meeting of the UN Security Council, has called for an immediate cessation of hostilities which, it must be noted,is perfectly consistent with longstanding Mexican foreign policy in all international armed conflicts.
Two observations about AFP’s article:
1) It fails to make the case for unanimous regional condemnation of Israel. All Latin American governments have not, as yet, issued official statements condemning Israel. In fact, most of the region’s governments have not taken a stand officially yet.
2) The sources AFP cites to argue its case – Presidents Chavez and Morales, Ecuadorean legislators and “piquetero” chieftain D’Elia – certainly do not constitute a credible basis for the claim that all of Latin America is aligned against Israel and the US.
However, Latin America has a very large population descended from Arab immigrants mainly from Lebanon and Syria, and followed by Egypt, Iran and Palestine (i.e. Israel).
Brazil’s Arab population totals over 12 million, Argentina’s mainly Muslim Arab population totals over 700,000, Ecuador and Venezuela also have sizeable Arab populations. Former Argentine President Carlos Menem is a descendant of Syrian immigrants, while Ecuador’s former President Abdala Bucaram is of Lebanese descent. El Salvador’s current President, Antonio Saca, also is of Lebanese descent. Across the region, the largest Arab populations are of Lebanese and Syrian descent, in that order, whose ancestors came to Latin America as far back as the 19th Century.
It is not surprising, therefore, that vigorous anti-Israel protests have erupted over the past couple of weeks in countries like Argentina, Brazil and Ecuador. Similar protests also have taken place in Caracas, but these largely have been political propaganda shows orchestrated by the Chavez government to curry favor with its Iranian and Syrian allies.
Latin Americans of Arab descent are legitimately expressing their objections to the Israel-Hamas conflict. However, we detect no regionwide popular groundswell of condemnation of Israel and the US – at least not yet.


About Caracas Gringo

Representing less than 0.00000000001515152% of the world population as of 31 December 2011.
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