Venezuela mural expresses solidarity with Palestine

Venezuela mural expresses solidarity with Palestine

Artists have been working diligently over the past few weeks to create a mural that covers an entire building in the 23 de Enero neighborhood of Caracas, Venezuela. They were brought together by local artist Julvio Millar to express his solidarity with the Palestinian people and highlight Palestine's ongoing struggle to resist Israeli colonialism. The mural includes a map of Palestine, a return key, the Palestinian flag, as well as a photo of a Palestinian fighter wearing the traditional keffiyeh and making the V sign for victory.

The giant artwork is part of a larger project carried out by the group Plataforma de solidaridad con Palestine, which is currently working on various initiatives and activities in Venezuela to publicize Israel's brutal eviction and dispossession of Palestinians in occupied Jerusalem and the West Bank, and in the besieged Gaza Strip.

Millar has focused on painting murals since 1974, with over 3,000 across Venezuela. He is also known as a strong supporter of the Palestinian cause since he was a university student and has put his passion for the cause to work in solidarity with Palestine as General Coordinator of the César Rengifo group involved in street art and mural painting.

“We are part of the Palestine Solidarity Platform in Venezuela,” he told me. “Since its creation, we have painted murals and posters in different parts of Caracas and other places in Venezuela to show the popular interaction with the Palestinian cause in our country”.
The artist highlighted that the images are used to raise awareness of the Israeli occupation of Palestine. “Mural painting is a tool that must be used politically and socially so that anyone who sees and walks beside a mural understands the message.”

Activist artists, he said, mobilize against the occupation of Palestine by framing the occupation in paintings about Israel's human rights abuses. “We show how the occupation violates the freedoms and rights of Palestinians in their own country.”

This is one way, he added, that Palestinian efforts to reach an international audience can be successful. “It is a blessing to be able to communicate these ideas in images.”

According to Millar, the only way to stop the Israeli genocide of the Palestinian people is to do things every day and everywhere. "It shouldn't just be through networks like ours, but also with any creative tool that can reflect the harsh realities of life in occupied Palestine."
Venezuela has expressed strong solidarity with the Palestinian cause under President Hugo Chávez (1999-2013) and this continues under President Nicolás Maduro (2013-present). It was the first country in Latin America to recognize the State of Palestine in the nominal borders of 1967. In 2009, Venezuela and the Palestinian Authority established diplomatic relations and announced the opening of a Palestinian Embassy in Caracas. Diplomatic ties remain close and Venezuela has supported the Palestinian cause at the UN.

Murals have been used in different contexts and with different techniques to show these strong relations between Venezuela and Palestine. The use of colors, designs and thematic treatments can radically alter the viewer's perception. Through these paintings, many Venezuelans became curious to know more about Palestine and its people.

About 15,000 Palestinians live in Venezuela. They believe that murals can be a way to bring people together and create a sense of community. Despite the challenges they faced with differences in language, culture and customs, they managed to integrate into Venezuelan society and are respected.
In Venezuela, murals can be used to express a community's history and culture and reflect a community's unique identity and values. Many murals were painted as a way to tell stories from other communities and preserve Palestinian history and traditions.