RT.com was one of the first news sites to break the news that “Bolivia declares Israel ‘terrorist state’, scraps visa exemption agreement”, published July 30, 2014. Indeed, Bolivia had declared Israel to be a “terrorist state” and renounced a visa exemption agreement with the country in protest over the ongoing Israeli military offensive in Gaza which, by August 5, health officials in Gaza say more than 1,800 Palestinians have been killed in the four-week conflict, which has also claimed 67 Israeli lives.
Cancelling the 1972 agreement which allowed Israelis to travel freely to Bolivia “means, in other words, we are declaring (Israel) a terrorist state,” the country’s President Evo Morales announced.
Morales also stated that Operation Protective edge clearly shows that “Israel is not a guarantor of the principles of respect for life and the elementary precepts of rights that govern the peaceful and harmonious coexistence of our international community.”
The announcement came after a cabinet meeting of the government of Evo Morales which decided that: “The Bolivian state and people have made a firm decision to terminate the agreement on visas to Israel, from August 17, 1972, signed under a regime of dictatorship in Bolivia and that allowed Israeli citizens to enter Bolivia freely without even entry visa.”
Earlier in July, Morales filed a request with the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights to prosecute Israel for “crimes against humanity.”
Other Latin American countries including Chile and El Salvador recalled their ambassadors in Israel on Tuesday for consultations due to the increased violence in the Gaza Strip against civilians. The move follows similar actions by Ecuador, Brazil and Peru who have also recalled their ambassadors.
Bolivia broke off diplomatic relations with Israel in 2009 over a previous military operation in Gaza.
Israel intended to seek stronger economic ties with Latin American countries – particular focus on Costa Rica, Colombia, Mexico, Chile and Peru – to weaken its dependency on Europe. These efforts were working as, as early as February, Israel was admitted as an observer nation to the Pacific Alliance, a South American trade alliance composed of Peru, Mexico, Chile, and Colombia. In June, prior to the commencement of the ongoing Operation Protective Edge, Colombia signed free trade agreements with Israel, among other countries.
But now with the massacre owing to Israel’s Operation Protective Edge, Latin American countries are moving to sever diplomatic ties with the settler-colonial state – as some have done in the past – Chile for one has already suspended its existing free trade agreements.