San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Latin America, Israel trade after trading insults

It’s a long way from Tel Aviv to Brasilia, but the journey just got a bit longer. When Israel launched Operation Protective Edge, Brazil bristled. President Dilma Rousseff, who rarely gets in a lather over foreign policy, called Israel’s move into Gaza “a massacre” and recalled her ambassador for consultation. Israel hit back, with a foreign ministry spokesman snubbing the South American giant as a nation that had become “irrelevant” in world affairs. That stung, in part because it was a familiar slight: former Mexican Foreign Minister Jorge Castaneda once famously slammed Brazil as “a giant that acts like a dwarf” for falling silent while human rights were trampled in Venezuela and Cuba.

As goes Brazil, so goes Latin America, and soon the anti-Israel meme was speaking fluent Spanish as well. Mercosur, a South American trade bloc, called on the United Nations to probe Israeli “war crimes.” Argentina, Peru, Chile and El Salvador also ordered their envoys back home, while Chile’s legislature froze talks over a bilateral trade deal. Bolivia’s president, Evo Morales, who had sent Tel Aviv’s ambassador packing years ago, called Israel “a terrorist state” and restored visa controls on Israeli tourists, while Venezuela offered to take in Palestinian refugees. Even Rafael Correa, Ecuador’s president, whose recent praise for Israel swept the Internet, recalled his envoy.

And it was all going so well. Just a few months ago, Israel was Latin America’s newest best friend. Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu had announced a pivot to the Americas, with a $14.5 million plan to tighten economic ties and expand diplomatic outposts in the region. “We are making a very concentrated and focused effort to vary our markets, from our previous dependence on the European market, to the growing Asian and Latin American markets,” Netanyahu told his Cabinet in May.

Israel was named an observer state in the Pacific Alliance, a $3 trillion trade compact in northern South America. And in a state visit to seal a bilateral-trade deal, Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos offered nothing but hosannas. “If somebody called my country the Israel of Latin America, I would be very proud,” he said in Tel Aviv.

That was then. Now Latin Americans have joined the rhetorical rocket launch, marching for Palestine, burning the Israeli flag and blitzing social media with photographs of the mayhem in Gaza.

But don’t count on anyone shredding treaties or canceling trade agreements. Israel and Latin America go back a long way. Latin nations were early backers of the Jewish state, providing 12 of the 33 votes needed for the two-thirds majority to pass the U.N. resolution creating Israel in 1947. “But for Latin America, there would be no Israel today,” claimed Fox News’s Latino front man, Geraldo Rivera.

Since then, Israel has renewed its bonds to Latin America, supplying around $1.5 billion a year in fertilizers, electronics, farm equipment, medicine and defense technology and consulting to Latin America last year, including $107 million in arms sales in 2012. Some 30 Israeli defense suppliers set up booths at the Latin American Aerospace and Defense Fair, in Rio de Janeiro, last year.

True, diplomatic relations cooled since the 1970s, when Latin America embraced the pro-Palestinian consensus of the nonaligned nations, and later backed the creation of an autonomous Palestinian state. With the rise of populist caudillos in the Andes, the blowback lately has grown shrill, and occasionally hateful.

Yet much of the current outrage is fueled by internal ideological quarrels, with Israel cast as a stand-in for the more familiar brand of Gringo imperialism. “Some populist leaders have only a proximate notion of world affairs today,” says Jaime Aparicio Otero, a former Bolivian ambassador to Washington. In a recent broadside, Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro lashed out at Israel for “destroying more than 50 synagogues…sorry, I mean mosques.”

As Gaza smolders, the anti-Israel drumbeat is likely to continue, but the smart money says the damage will remain confined to the rhetorical battlefield. “Latin diplomacy was correct in criticizing Israel’s excesses in Gaza but no one is interested in severing relations,” says former Brazilian foreign minister Luiz Felipe Lampreia. “There’s too much at stake.”

So look for a lingering verbal storm over the Atlantic, but also for more shipping containers.

Mac Margolis is Brazil bureau chief for Vocativ.

© 2014, Bloomberg News

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Costa Rican’s, in particular, and Pali’s have at least one thing in common, need for proof of their manhood. They have been emasculated.

It is obvious, when you have NEVER fought for anything, much less your own survival, then you need to feel like you are part of a ‘gang mentality, because that is as close to the action that anyone of you will ever get.

Why do you think this generation has no respect for its own culture and moral ethics – because they have no HEROES, no one to look up to. Their parents are of the generation where they are too scared to make any changes and they would rather to live as they do than improve their lot.

Like most Latin American’s, machismo is just a fallacy, they like to talk the talk, but lack the ability to walk the walk, to change anything – your mentality is let someone else go make the sacrifices, we will be here with the rest of the women and children to back you up. If you look at who protests here – my example proves itself out.

Students at UCR who have been nowhere, done nothing and have the perspective of what ever they read (after they have Xeroxed it from a book). It is truly pitiful what Costa Rica now stands for – NOTHING – Oh, except a Cinderella futbol team.

They have become nothing but a whore to China or any other nation that is willing to give handouts, rather than cleaning up their own internal graft, corruption and Tico mentality of being a scared little girls who continue down the same path. Always being scared, making sure they align themselves with what ever popular cause or idea has the most mob mentaity behind it. No, independent thinking. This government, is no different than any of the previous, still scared to make any changes – do not change the status quo.

As far as Israel goes, Costa Rica could learn a lot. I grew up in Israel, now I am a citizen of this country. As a Jew I know what it is to be persecuted on a daily basis, because of religion, but more importantly I can hold my head high with honor, because I unlike you, have made the sacrifices, fought the fight, and know what it is to have ideals that far out way mob mentality.

Costa Ricans know none of this. They have no heroes to look up to anymore, that all ended in the 40’s and 50’s with that last generation. Today, Costa Rica is headed down a path of remaining a first world country with third world thought.

I saw the protests in La Sabana, what a joke. Your socialist party, you spoiled brats, and people who just hate Jews, because YOUR church tells you too. You know we killed Jesus. Laughable.

You see the difference is this – Jews celebrate a victory as their survival– but not the defeat of their enemies. The two are obviously related but the mindset is completely different.

One (Jews) celebrates life and the other celebrates death (Arabs/Muslims/Pali’s).

Though of course Jews take undeniable pride in military victories, they would prefer that the engagement never happen to begin with. (The most important part)

Arabs like you, cannot wrap their minds around this idea. For them, military victories are proof of their manhood, a source of “honor,” and, for Muslims, proof of their belief system being superior.

Conversely, military defeats are shameful and indicate a problematic belief system, as why would Allah allow his people to be so dishonored? The point is the utter defeat – and more importantly, the humiliation – of their enemies.

This is why Arabs cannot understand Jews. They project their own belief system and the honor/shame culture on their enemies. They cannot conceive that the defeat of one’s enemies is not the overriding goal of an embattled and surrounded people.

All of the vitriol heaped on “Zionists” about their supposedly racist and genocidal goals is nothing more than Arab projection of their own belief system on Jews.

So, you remain the ignorant and uneducated that your society has become. One day you will wish that you had brought your children up to respect the society you once had and the culture you once could be proud of.

Someone, asked me yesterday what would Costa Ricans do if Nicaragua started shooting rockets into San Jose?,

I told them Costa Rica would not do anything without first doing a study for at least three years – then when they decide to fight back – it would be contested in court by the socialists and the amplified party – taken to Sala IV – supported by judicial order and they would just become Nicaraguan’s.

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