Opposition leader Guaido wants post-Maduro Venezuela closer to Israel

Opposition leader Guaido wants post-Maduro Venezuela closer to Israel
A decade after Hugo Chavez cut ties with Israel, Guaido, the US and Israeli-backed self-declared president of Venezuela, is hoping to revive their relationship.
2 min read
12 February, 2019
Venezuela's self-proclaimed president Juan Guaido wants to restore ties with Israel [AFP/Getty Images]

Juan Guaido, Venezuela's US-backed self-declared president, said he was working to restore ties with Israel a decade after the country severed relations with the Jewish state in solidarity with the Palestinian people.

Guaido said "I am very happy to report that the process of stabilising relations with Israel is at its height," in a quote pulled by Reuters from an Israel Hayom interview.

Israel joined the United States, Canada and a host of South American countries "in recognising the new leadership in Venezuela" last month. 50 countries now recognise the hopeful leader.  

Venezuala's National Assembly chief Guaido proclaimed himself acting president of Venezuela during a mass opposition rally against current socialist President Nicolas Maduro. The country has seen two million flee shortages of basic food and medicine.

There is due to be a formal announcement on reestablishing ties and opening a new Venezuelan embassy in Israel "at the proper time".

Israeli leaders claim the policy of Hugo Chavez, Maduro’s predecessor, to cut ties with Israel a decade ago over its 2008-2009 war in Gaza and turn instead to Palestine and Iran, prompted a flight of Venezuelan Jews.

Guaido said the Jewish community in Venezuela "is very active and prosperous, one which has contributed greatly to our society".

Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and right wing politicians in South America have been attempting to woo each other in recent months.

Israel seeks to counter Iranian influence and expand its diplomatic reach while southern American governments see closeness to Israel as an indirect way to strengthen relations with the Trump administration in Washington.

Under their right-wing administrations, Brazil and Honduras, are reportedly considering following the US in moving their embassies to Jerusalem.  

Maduro, who is backed by Russia and China and retains control of the military, has managed to hold on to power and says Guaido's rise has been orchestrated by the US.