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Bolivia’s Evo Morales Calls Israel a “Terrorist State,” Israel Loses Support in Latin America

First Posted: Aug 01, 2014 05:12 PM EDT

The conflict in Gaza between Hamas and Israel has crossed the ocean and reached Latin America, leading to countries in the region to pick sides. Bolivia is the latest in the Western Hemisphere to oppose Israeli violence in Gaza in a wave of opposition against Israel in the region.

Bolivia's Socialist president, Evo Morales, denounced Israel's violence against civilians in Gaza, enacting new travelling sanctions against Israelis, according to the Bolivian newspaper La Razon.

"Israel is not a guarantor of the principles of respect for life and of basic rights governing the peaceful and harmonious coexistence of our international community," Morales said in the city of Cochabamba, following a decision by his cabinet of ministers.

Morales also labeled Israel as a "terrorist state," depriving Israelis of the easy entry granted by a 1972 law. Morales, according to La Razon, argued that the law is invalid because it was implemented during the dictatorship of Hugo Banzer.

Aside from Bolivia, five other Latin American nations have criticized Israel's actions and have recalled their envoys, according to the Buenos Aires Herald. Along with these is also the economic trade bloc Mercosur, comprised of Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay, Venezuela and Paraguay. All but Paraguay signed a communiqué decrying the "disproportionate use of force" by Israel and calling for a cease-fire.

Brazil, Chile, Ecuador, Peru and El Salvador have all recalled their ambassadors, according to the Wall Street Journal, which does not have much clout in the larger scheme of things. However, some of these countries do not have leftist governments that oppose U.S. policy but are centrist governments enjoying good relations with Washington, showing the extent of animosity against Israel. 

Following the actions of Chile, Peru and El Salvador, Israel's Foreign Minister Yigal Palmor expressed his displeasure with the Latin American nations' decisions, saying they encourage Hamas, according to Haaretz.

"Israel expresses its deep disappointment with the hasty decision of the governments of El Salvador, Peru and Chile to recall their ambassadors for consultations," Palmor said. "This step constitutes encouragement for Hamas, a group recognized as a terror organization by many countries around the world."

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