Venezuela-Palestine fuel deal

Bolivarian Venezuela continued its support for Palestine liberation that existed consistently during the 15 years when Hugo Chávez was president. The two countries agreed on an energy pact in which the oil-rich Latin American country will provide diesel fuel to the Mideast country, which has been subject to Israeli occupation and repression for more than a half-century.

The announcement was made on May 16 during a three-day official visit to Venezuela by Mahmoud Abbas, president of the Palestinian Authority. According to the Palestinian news agency WAFA, under the agreement Venezuela would cover part of Palestine’s need for diesel over the next five years under preferential prices. The two countries agreed to negotiate other agreements regarding crude oil imports.

Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro said his country would provide an initial shipment of 240,000 barrels of oil and diesel to Palestine: “Venezuela [will] honor its pledge to offer all that is needed to help end the injustice that has been afflicting the Palestinian people as well as to help end the occupation of their land and establish their own independent state.” (May 17)

He added that no one could deny to the Palestinians the right to an independent state, to live in peace and “to end any attempt to keep the Palestinians an invisible people.” (Mexican newspaper Excelsior, May 17)

Maduro also agreed to support the Palestinian Authority’s effort to be granted observer status in three Latin American regional organizations: the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR), the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America (ALBA) and the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC).

WAFA reported that Abbas received the Francisco de Miranda Order from Maduro and presented the Palestinian star to both Maduro and Chávez’s daughter, Maria Chávez, in recognition of her father’s “unwavering positions in mobilizing regional and international support for the Palestinian people.”

Abbas stated: “Thanks to Venezuela for supporting Palestine to break Israel’s monopoly on our economy, for responding to our needs, and for your willingness to support the Palestinian people in their just struggle.”

Just weeks earlier the Palestinian Authority, which governs the West Bank portion of Palestinian territory, reached agreement on a unity pact with the Hamas organization, which heads the government of the Gaza territory. The pact followed the refusal of the Israeli regime to negotiate any agreement with the Palestinians that allowed even minimum sovereignty for Palestine.

Since mid-February, the Venezuelan government has been the target of violent demonstrations by ultra-right organizations in some of the municipalities governed by the pro-U.S. opposition. Washington has been backing these attempts to destabilize Venezuela.

The pact with Palestine is evidence that Venezuela’s government refuses to bow to U.S. pressure and is continuing its anti-imperialist stance of offering international solidarity to oppressed peoples fighting for freedom and independence.