Skip to comments.The Palestinians Come to Latin America
Posted on 02/22/2011 7:31:38 AM PST by Ooh-Ah
The Washington Post recently reported on the successful Palestinian drive to achieve statehood recognition from South American countries. Over the past few months, several countriesincluding Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Ecuador, Guyana, Paraguay, Peru, and Uruguayhave endorsed the existence of an independent Palestinian country. (In years past, Palestine had garnered official recognition from Costa Rica, Cuba, Nicaragua, and Venezuela.)
To a casual observer, the wave of recognition may seem like a spontaneous outburst. In fact, there was nothing spontaneous about it. The flurry of diplomatic activity represents the culmination of a robust Palestinian lobbying push that was blessed and encouraged by former Brazilian president Lula da Silva, who left office on January 1 but spent much of late 2010 fomenting support for Palestinian statehood. Lula had avid enablers in Argentine president Cristina Kirschner and her foreign minister, the controversial Héctor Timerman.
Next month, Costa Rica will host a Forum for Peace in the Middle East led by its erstwhile president, Oscar Arias, and also by Dominican Republic president Leonel Fernández. (Arias, incidentally, is now being investigated in connection with his brothers alleged misuse of public funds during his 20062010 government.) One of the individuals helping to organize and promote the event is Hasan Abdel Rahman, a PLO operative who served as Palestinian ambassador to the U.S. from 1994 to 2005. We should also note that there are unanswered questions as to who is really bankrolling the forum, and to what end.
At a time when the Middle East is being rocked by popular protests and calls for democracy, it seems bizarre for Latin American figures to be focusing attention on the IsraeliPalestinian conflictunless we consider the Palestinian lobbying campaign. That campaign appears to have caught both Israel and the U.S. off guard. No surprise there. Israel has been neglecting Latin America at times (after being very involved in the regionand receiving critical diplomatic support from Latin American governmentsduring its early history). Meanwhile, the Obama administration has largely abdicated any type of leadership role in the Western Hemisphere. The leadership vacuum has been filled by a variety of forces, many of them inimical to U.S. and Israeli interests. (Irans growing hemispheric presence is the most obviousand troublingexample of this phenomenon.) Its time for a change of strategy in Washington and Jerusalem.
Most people don’t know that there is a fairly large Middle Eastern contingent in Central and South America. They are referred to as “Turcos”, because they came on Turkish passports, fleeing persecution under the Ottoman empire in the late 19th/early 20th. Century. The Columbian singing star Shakira is one of them.
As everywhere, emigres form political pressure groups around issues involving their countries of origin.
If I may fine tune your statement a tad.
I grew up in Panama (still live here). Anybody from that part of the world was called “turco” to include Jews.
It is like Peruvians to this day who call anything from the Orient “Chinos” (Chinese). Alberto Ken’ya Fujimori, their past president, is never referred to as a Japanese. He is referred to, to this day, as a “Chino.”
Your historical comments about Turcos certainly have validity. I just had to throw something in that continues to humor me.
If youd like to be on or off, please FR mail me.
Lots of Lebanese Christians in Latin America and has been for years. The Turcos you describe also look like they were persecuted Christians
Next month, Costa Rica will host a "Forum for Peace in the Middle East" led by its erstwhile president, Oscar Arias, and also by Dominican Republic president Leonel Fernández... One of the individuals helping to organize and promote the event is Hasan Abdel Rahman, a PLO operative who served as Palestinian "ambassador" to the U.S. from 1994 to 2005.