South American countries recognize Palestine

On Jan. 14 Guyana's Foreign Ministry announced that the country was recognizing Palestine as an independent nation in the hope that "that the increasing recognition of the state of Palestine will contribute to a resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the creation of lasting peace and stability in the region." Guyana is the sixth South American country to recognize Palestine in a little more than a month. (Haaretz, Israel, Jan. 14)

Brazil started the wave of recognitions on Dec. 3, and Argentina followed on Dec. 6. Bolivia's President Evo Morales announced his country's decision to recognize Palestine on Dec. 22; Bolivia had broken relations with Israel in January 2009 in response to an Israeli offensive in Gaza. (Reuters 12/22/10 via Europa Press) On Dec. 24 Ecuador's Foreign Ministry announced that President Rafael Correa had approved that day "official recognition by the government of Ecuador for the Palestinian State as free and independent, with the borders from 1967." (EFE, Dec. 24, via La Hora, Quito)
The government of Chile's right-wing President Sebastián Piñera announced its recognition of Palestine on Jan. 7. A statement read by Foreign Minister Alfredo Moreno stressed that Chile has also "fully supported the right of the state of Israel to exist inside secure and internationally recognized borders." Like Bolivia, Chile didn't define the borders of the Palestinian state; Argentina, Brazil and Ecuador all specified the borders from 1967, which would include Gaza, the West Bank and East Jerusalem. Moreno noted the presence in Chile of large communities of people of Arabic and Jewish descent; there are about 300,000 Arab Chileans and 30,000 Jewish Chileans. Moreno also announced a visit by Piñera to Israel and Palestine and Mar. 4 and 5. (AFP, Jan. 7, via El Comercio, Quito)
Venezuela had recognized Palestine earlier, as had three other Latin American countries: Costa Rica, Cuba and Nicaragua. Uruguay indicated that it would make a similar move sometime in 2011.

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