Chavez of Arabia
- HERO'S WELCOME FOR CHAVEZ IN SYRIA
ncp @ geocities.com
THE STREETS of Damascus were packed on Wednesday to give Venezuelan
president Hugo Chavez a hero's welcome on his arrival for top-level
talks with the Syrian President Bashar al Assad. Huge crowds from all
walks of life waved banners and flags of the two countries and
portraits of the two leaders as the motorcade drove through the city
to the hill-top People's Palace for a 21-gun salute and the first
round of talks with the Syrian leadership.
The revolutionary Venezuelan leader is well known on the Arab street
for his defiance of American imperialism and his support for the
Palestinian Arabs and the heroic Lebanese resistance that defeated
Israel in the border war last month. Chavez denounced American
imperialism's support of Israel and condemned Israel's aggression and
its war-crimes, which he likened to those of the Nazis.
During that war, when Blair and Bush were blocking a ceasefire at the
UN because they still hoped Israel would win, the Syrian communist
party called on Arab governments to copy Venezuela. Ammar Bakdash, a
member of parliament and of the party's politburo, said: "We call on
Arab leaders to follow the example of Venezuela's President Hugo
Chavez", who recalled his ambassador from Israel while accusing the
United States of blocking UN Security Council action to stop the conflict.
Egypt and Jordan are the only Arab states which have diplomatic
relations with the Zionist entity. The Communist Party of Syria is
part of Syria's National Progressive Front, which is led by the
governing Arab Socialist Renaissance [Baath] Party.
Chavez, who has just completed successful talks in People's China
and Malaysia, landed in Damascus Tuesday evening. Bashar al Assad
greeted him at the airport and thanked him for his "great stand" in
support of the Arabs. "We appreciate your sincere feelings toward the
peoples who have their rights and are under occupation, as well as
your sincere humanitarian and moral sentiments," Assad declared.
"We have the same political vision and we will resist together the
American imperialist aggression," Chavez replied adding that the two
countries will sign a document opposing US "aggression" in the Middle
"We are here in Damascus to call for peace," Chavez told Venezuela's
state television by phone shortly after arriving in Syria. "These two
countries are strongly united against the imperialistic aggression and
hegemonic pretensions of the US empire."
Last month, Chavez visited Iran and received the country's highest
state medal for supporting Tehran in its nuclear standoff with the
international community. Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad called
the South American leader "a brother and trench mate".
The badge of honour was granted to the Venezuelan president to honour
his valuable and brave efforts to establish a justice-based peace,
adopt a stance against the hegemonic system and support endeavours to
uphold the freedom and independence of Venezuela.
Chavez's struggle to end the corrupt and unequal political and
social system in Venezuela; his support for Iran's stance on the
nuclear issue, particularly Venezuela's vote against an anti-Iranian
resolution adopted by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA),
and his support for popular moves in Latin America and efforts to
eradicate poverty in the region were the main reasons Iran made the award.
The former Venezuelan paratroop colonel has built close ties with
Iran, Syria and other Middle East countries following the triumph of
his Revolutionary Bolivarian Movement in the 1998 elections.
Venezuela is the fourth largest oil producer in the world, and Chavez
is using his country's wealth to help the masses and assist other
countries in South America and beyond, which are striving to develop
their own independent economies outside Anglo-American imperialism's
Chavez's world tour he's going to Angola next has broken
imperialist attempts to isolate his country and strengthened
Venezuela's bid for a place on the UN Security Council. People's China
and Malaysia are both backing the bid for one of the rotating seats
traditionally reserved for South America. US imperialism wants
Guatemala to replace Argentina, which stands down in October.
"The US government has employed every means to block my country from
joining the Security Council," Chavez told reporters when he was in
Beijing last week. "The American imperialists are trying to stop us".
The decision will be made by all the South American and Caribbean
countries and if they can't agree the choice will go to the full UN
Chavez supports Syria against US
Hugo Chavez wants to show solidarity with Syria
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has pledged to stand by Syria in
opposition to what he said was US "imperialist aggression" in the
He said he and Syria would strive to build a world free of US
Mr Chavez is visiting Syria to show solidarity with it and other Arab
nations in their opposition to Israel and the US.
He is on a tour of several countries that is viewed as a bid for
support for a UN Security Council seat.
Mr Chavez was given the red-carpet treatment as Syrian President Bashar
al-Assad welcomed him at the presidential palace on a hill overlooking
the capital, Damascus, reports the BBC's Michael Voss. Thousands of
Syrians lined the streets of the capital to welcome him.
We have the same political vision and we will resist together the
American imperialist aggression
"We have decided to be free. We want to co-operate to build a new world
where states' and people's self-determination are respected," Mr Chavez
said after meeting President Assad.
"Imperialism's concern is to control the world, but we will not let
them despite the pressure and aggression," he said.
Mr Assad said he welcomed Mr Chavez's support for Syria and the
"The stance of President Chavez is known and we heard it today: support
for Syria in regaining its occupied territories, and support for the
Palestinian people in achieving their national rights and the
establishment an independent state, in addition to the desire to help
Lebanon in the post-war period."
Mr Chavez had earlier told reporters that his country and Syria shared
a common goal.
"We have the same political vision and we will resist together the
American imperialist aggression."
His latest remarks come after a report from the Associated Press news
agency earlier in the week that millions of dollars in US aid were
flowing to secret programmes that support Venezuelan opposition groups.
In recent weeks, Mr Chavez has visited about a dozen countries,
including Iran and Malaysia.
Venezuela is looking for Latin America's next non-permanent seat on the
UN Security Council, a move the US is hoping to block, our
Mr Chavez was a fierce critic of Israel's offensive in Lebanon and has
found common ground with Syria.
Mr Chavez withdrew his ambassador to Israel shortly after its invasion
of southern Lebanon.
During his Syrian visit, Mr Chavez signed energy deals with the Syrian
On Tuesday in Malaysia, the Venezuelan president met a group of local
businessmen and urged them to invest in Venezuela's economy.
From Syria, Mr Chavez is to travel to Angola.
Chavez of Arabia
Hugo Chavez Frias, the President of Venezuela, has won the "hearts and
minds" of the Arab people. President Chavez accomplished this when he
was the first head of state to condemn what he described as Israel's
"aggression" and "genocide" against the Lebanese people. He was also
the first head of state to recall its Ambassador from Israel in
protest for that country's bombing of civilan targets in Lebanon.
According to Arabic newspapers, Venezuelan flags were flown in
demonstrations in Beirut, next to Lebanese and Palestinian flags, Many
prominent newspapers across the Arab World asked, "Why did't Arab
leaders do what Chavez dared to do?"
Support for Lebanon and condemnation of Zionist Israel was also shared
by many other Central and South American countries. Numerous pro-Arab
demonstrations took place in Mexico, Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay and
Colombia. There is increasing support for the Lebanese and Palestinian
people in Latin America.
Meanwhile Jews in Venezuela say they have received threats and are
feeling quite nervous about the situation. Large scale security
measures have been implemented in Caracas and Jewish leaders have made
statements to the Venezuelan media accusing President Chavez of
antisemitism. Many of the approximately 15,000 Jews who live in
Venezuela are now making preparations to move to Israel.
A delegation of Jewish community leaders from Venezuela arrived in
Jerusalem recently to explore options for Venezuelan Jews who want to
leave and move to Israel. The delegation of 16 community leaders met
with President Moshe Katsav in Jerusalem. The Jewish delegation told
President Katsav of the growing unrest in Venezuela and their fears
for the future of the 15,000 Jews living there.
The Jewish delegation, led by Freddie Pressner, President of the
Confederation of Jewish Associations of Venezuela, visited a Tel Aviv
University program for Spanish-speaking students and toured Kfar Saba,
which has been designated by the Jewish Agency to absorb the growing
number of Jews immigrating from Venezuela.
"The city of Kfar Saba is happy to be affiliated with the Venezuelan
Jewish community," said Kfar Saba Mayor Yehuda Ben-Hamo. "I see this
initiative as an important Zionist endeavor of which Kfar Saba is very
proud." Ben-Hamo said that 25 families have settled in the city in
recent months and that more Venezuelan immigrants are scheduled to
make Kfar Saba their home this year.
Jewish Agency officials estimate there are around 2,000 Venezuelan
Jews already living in Israel and that just over 100 Venezuelan Jews
arrived here during the past year. "We expect that number to rise,"
one official said.
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