Photo Credit: Adam Shuldman/Flash90
Israelis demonstrate in support of Juan Guaido in Tel Aviv, Feb. 2, 2019.

Juan Guaidó, the interim President of Venezuela who contests the presidency of Nicolás Maduro, heir of the late Hugo Chávez, told Israel Hayom in a report published on Tuesday that “We have begun to work to renew the relationship, and I am very pleased to announce that the process of stabilizing relations with Israel is in full swing.”

“This is very important for us,” Guaidó stressed, adding: “First we will renew the relationship, then we will announce the appointment of an ambassador in Israel, and we very much hope that an ambassador from Israel will come to us.”

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Asked by Israel Hayom whether his new embassy would be established in Jerusalem, Guaidó replied: “This is part of the issues we are discussing. I will announce at the right time the renewal of relations and the location of the embassy.”

Juan Guaidó / Voice of America via Wikimedia

Venezuela voted in favor of the 1947 UN partition plan, and in 1949 supported Israeli membership in the United Nations, establishing diplomatic ties with the Jewish State at about the same time. Relations between the two countries were traditionally strong, but soured radically under the presidency of Hugo Chavez, who befriended Iran. Chavez positioned himself as an enemy of American foreign policy, and condemned the US and Israel as partners in the Middle East.

Following the 2008–2009 Gaza war, Venezuela broke all diplomatic ties with Israel. In April 2009, Venezuelan foreign minister Nicolas Maduro met with PA foreign minister Riyad al-Maliki in Caracas, and the two established formal diplomatic relations.

Arabs hold portraits of Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez in front of the Venezuelan Embassy in Ramallah. / Issam Rimawi/Flash90

In January 2019, Guaidó, President of Venezuela’s National Assembly, was recognized as the legitimate President of Venezuela by 50 nations, including the United States, the 12-member Lima Group, and the Organization of American States, over Maduro whose election was declared a fraud.

Israel was the first nation outside the Americas to recognize Guaidó’s presidency.

Before the Chavez presidency, Venezuela’s ties with Israel were very good, so much so that Venezuela’s first representative in Israel, Dr. Romulo Araujo, was based in the King David Hotel in Jerusalem. Later, the mission was located in the Katamon neighborhood of Jerusalem, where it remained until 1980, when Venezuela and many other nations chose to move their embassies outside of Jerusalem.

When the United Nations passed General Assembly Resolution 3379 on November 10, 1975, calling Zionism “a form of racism and racial discrimination,” Venezuela abstained (The resolution was later revoked).

Israeli Foreign Minister Shimon Peres visited Caracas in January 1995, on a mission to “cement ties with friendly countries, and to deepen cooperation in areas of mutual benefit.” Venezuela’s Foreign Minister noted that “the reception that was given for Foreign Minister Peres was unprecedented.”

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