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Chile bans Israel from Latin America’s largest aerospace fair

The far-left government did not give a reason for the exclusion.

The Chilean and PLO flags. Source: Wikimedia Commons.
The Chilean and PLO flags. Source: Wikimedia Commons.

Chile’s far-left government has barred Israeli companies from participating in Latin America’s largest aerospace and defense fair, scheduled for next month in Santiago.

The defense ministry announced the decision on Tuesday without giving a reason for the exclusion of Israeli firms.

However, the leftist prime minister, 38-year-old Gabriel Boric, who was sworn into office in March 2022, has been highly critical of Israeli policies and actions vis-à-vis the Palestinians, particularly during the current war in Gaza initiated by the Hamas-led slaughter of some 1,200 people and kidnapping of 253 others on Oct. 7.

Israeli Ambassador to Chile Gil Artzyeli told AFP on Tuesday that he was not contacted by the government about the decision to ban Israeli firms.

“We cannot say we are surprised taking into account the [Chilean] government’s doctrine towards Israel,” he said.

Chilean President Gabriel Boric at his inauguration ceremony, March 11, 2022. Source: Wikimedia Commons.

The International Air and Space Fair (FIDAE) is scheduled for April 9-14, organized by the Chilean Air Force. It is one of the top five fairs of its kind in the world, according to Chile, with exhibitors from more than 40 countries.

The South American nation is home to some 300,000 Palestinians, the largest Palestinian population outside the Middle East.

Following Israel’s ground invasion of the Gaza Strip on Oct. 27, Chile recalled its ambassador to the Jewish state “in the face of the unacceptable violations of international humanitarian law committed by Israel in the Gaza Strip,” per a statement from Santiago’s foreign ministry.

Colombian President Gustavo Petro also announced he was recalling his envoy.

Bolivia severed diplomatic ties with Jerusalem at the end of October. La Paz’s move came in response to what it called an “aggressive and disproportionate Israeli military offensive taking place in the Gaza Strip,” Bolivian Deputy Foreign Minister Freddy Mamani said at a press conference.

María Nela Prada, Bolivia’s acting foreign minister, charged the Israel Defense Forces with “crimes against humanity in the Gaza Strip against the Palestinian people.”

Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva last month was declared persona non grata in Israel after likening Israel’s war against Hamas terrorists in Gaza to the Nazi genocide of Jews during World War II.

Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia have in recent years all elected far-left leaders.

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