Chile’s New President is Staunchly Pro-Palestine
By: Omar Mansour / Arab America Contributing Writer
Gabriel Boric, a left-wing lawmaker who is very critical of Israel and supports boycotts against goods from Israeli settlements in occupied Palestine has been elected the new president of Chile, defeating his right-wing pro-Israel opponent yesterday in a landslide vote.
Boric will become the youngest president in Chile’s history. He has long been a critic of Israel – as a lawmaker, he supported a bill proposing a boycott of Israeli goods from settlements in occupied West and East Jerusalem and the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights.
As a truly progressive leftist, support for the oppressed is a natural leaning, and Palestine is most definitely part of the leftist tradition. In his victory speech, Boric promised to “firmly fight against the privileges of a few”.
His support for Palestine and the Palestinian cause is in full view – Boric signed a statement of support to the Palestinian cause in a meeting with the president of the Chilean Palestinian community during his presidential campaign.
While support for Palestine comes naturally, the relationship between Chile and Palestine is anything but just an ideological one.
Chile hosts one of the largest Palestinian populations outside of the Arab world, with a community of between 300,000 and 500,000 people of Palestinian descent living in the country.
I’m fact, Palestinians put their hats in the President races as well. Boric even defeated Daniel Jadue, the Communist Party representative and grandchild of Palestinian immigrants.
95 percent of the community in the country are Christian. Palestinian immigration to Chile began in the late 19th century, with waves coming during World War I and after the creation of Israel in 1948.
In 1920, Club Deportivo Palestino was founded by Palestinian immigrants in the city of Osorno. The football club is popularly known as Palestine’s “second national team” and remains an enduring symbol of collective identity to represent a people on the other side of the world.
The Palestinian cause and people are deeply entrenched in the Chilean fabric going back over a century, as in much of Latin America. The victory of such a staunchly pro-Palestine candidate is a sign of hope for the global Palestinian cause, and we remain eager to see the changes that Boric will bring to Chile and to the global stage.
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