While European leaders have given Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro an ultimatum that unless he holds democratic elections they will recognize opposition leader Juan Guaidó as the country’s legitimate leader, the Palestinian Authority is emphasizing its support for Maduro.

Maduro won the presidential elections in May 2018, but the election was determined to be fraudulent and many countries have not recognized his presidency. Nevertheless, Maduro embarked on his second term, enjoying the support of Russia, China, Mexico, Syria, Iran and Turkey, while the United States, Canada, the European Union, Israel and some countries in Latin America back the leadership of Guaidó.

Guaidó proclaimed himself acting president last week, but Maduro has refused to step down. Meanwhile, Venezuelans continue to suffer under food and medicine shortages, and dozens have been killed in nationwide protests against Maduro and his government.

Palestinian Media Watch has found that the Palestinian Authority has unequivocally put itself behind the corrupt Maduro in direct opposition to the United States, Canada, the European Union and others. The following are some examples of its support for Maduro’s presidency in Venezuela:

P.A. Minister of Foreign Affairs Riyad Al-Malki participated in Maduro’s inauguration ceremony and also brought Maduro congratulations from P.A. leader Abbas:

“Al-Malki congratulated President Maduro on receiving the presidency, wished him success in his service of the Venezuelan people, and conveyed to him the congratulations and wishes of [P.A. leader] Mahmoud Abbas and the Palestinian leadership that always stands by Venezuela and its people, as Palestine does not forget its friends.” [Official P.A. daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Jan. 12, 2019]

The P.A. Foreign Ministry emphasized that it considers Maduro “legally elected,” and “condemned several states” for their “interference” and “support of the coup attempt” against him:

“The P.A. Ministry of Foreign Affairs expressed its concern given the events taking place in Venezuela, and condemned several states’ interference in the state’s internal affairs and direct [interference] through support for the coup attempt against legally elected President Maduro.”
[Official P.A. daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Jan. 25, 2019]

PLO Executive Committee member Ahmed Majdalani used the Venezuelan crisis to attack the United States, claiming its “interference” in Venezuela’s affairs is yet another example of the US policy to want to “usurp the will of the peoples.” Stressing Maduro’s “legitimacy,” Majdalani condemned the “coup attempt” against him:

“The blatant American interference in states’ affairs, as is happening in Venezuela, is a direct continuation of the policy of [U.S. President Donald] Trump’s administration, whose goal is to usurp the will of the peoples. … The principle of states’ sovereignty and non-interference in their internal affairs is a democratic diplomatic norm, and the coup attempt against the legitimacy of elected [Venezuelan] President Nicolás Maduro is worthy of condemnation … ” [Official P.A. daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Jan. 25, 2018]

Similarly, head of the Latin America Department in the Fatah Movement Commission of International Relations Muhammad Oudeh expressed to Venezuelan Ambassador to “Palestine” Maher Taha, Fatah’s position regarding “the coup attempt” and “its condemnation of the interference of some states in its internal affairs and direct [interference] through support of the coup attempt.” [Official P.A. daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Jan. 25, 2019]

The Palestinian National and Islamic Forces organized a solidarity vigil in which dozens of protesters expressed support for Maduro outside the Venezuelan delegation in Ramallah. At the vigil, Deputy Secretary-General of the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine Qais Abd Al-Karim stated that the United States is “the enemy” of both the Palestinians and Venezuela:

“The Palestinian and Venezuelan peoples face the same enemy, which is the U.S.”
[Official P.A. daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Jan. 25, 2019]

He also stressed the Palestinian support for Maduro’s “democracy”:

“Our people stands by Venezuela and its defense of democracy in face of the coup sponsored by the U.S.”

An op-ed in the official P.A. daily last year ripping into U.S. President Trump’s speech at the opening meeting of the U.N. General Assembly’s 73rd session on Sept. 25, 2018 accused Trump of calling for a military coup in Venezuela, and falsely claimed that he had announced that he would attack the country. In his speech, Trump announced additional sanctions on Venezuelan President Maduro’s regime given the humanitarian crisis there. He did not mention a military coup:

“The new cowboy (i.e., U.S. President Donald Trump) blatantly threatened a sovereign state—Venezuela—and its president. He announced that his administration will attack [Venezuelan] President Nicolás Maduro (sic.), and unequivocally incited the army to carry out a coup against a president who was legally elected (sic). He also attacked socialism as if his capitalist system is in better shape … ”
[Official P.A. daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Sept. 27, 2018]

Read full report at PMW.