***image1***Throughout Latin America, activists, civil society groups, and community organizers came together on March 30th to commemorate Land Day and to participate in the first annual Global BDS Day of Action. From north to south, the entire continent was involved in launching boycott campaigns, lobbying governments and the UN, and engaging in wide-scale awareness raising activities. These actions continue Latin Americaâs strong trend of solidarity with the Palestinian people, which has become especially visible in the past several months.
A boycott campaign was launched by civil society organizations in Chile, who stated that it would continue until the occupation ends efforts at ethnically cleansing the Palestinian people are halted. Numerous grassroots activists and civil society leaders came together in the Plaza Italia to officially join the global BDS campaign, and called on Chile to end its support for Israeli occupation. Declaring that no apartheid state can survive without external aid and assistance, the organizers demanded the establishment of a comprehensive economic, cultural, academic and political boycott.
Venezuela was also the site of major BDS activities. In one initiative in Caracas, a group of about twenty activists marched to the UN representative office to present a letter condemning Israeli apartheid and the UNâs inaction, demanding that effective steps be taken to hold Israel responsible, and declaring that as of March 30th, Venezuelan civil society organizations were taking up the Palestinian call for BDS. Another action in Caracas involved film screenings about the occupations of Palestine and Iraq, the attacks on Gaza, and informative short clips about ongoing boycott initiatives in Europe.
***image2***In Cuba, meanwhile, diplomats, students, academics, and workers with the Cuban Institute of Friendship with the People (ICAP) commemorated Land Day and the BDS Day of Actions by organizing a volunteer day in the area of the Julio Antonio Mella International Camp, southwest of Havana. The participants expressed the common struggle for self-determination, shared by both Cubans and Palestinians, and declared their intentions to continually stand with Palestinians in their resistance efforts and in their struggle to reclaim their land.
The growth of these campaigns in Latin America represents an important step forward for the global BDS movement, as it signifies the an increased development of south-south solidarity, and an important linking of common struggles against imperialism and occupation. With the World Social Forum having recently taken place in Brazil, and several different initiatives aimed at preventing the ratification of the Israel-Mercosur free trade agreement, Latin America has become hotbed of BDS activity and an extremely strong ally for the Palestinian people.