Daniel Jadue, mayor of Recoleta in the Chilean capital Santiago and grandson of a Palestinian immigrant, is about to assume the presidency of Chile. Jadue, who speaks openly about the struggle for the freedom of Palestine, has his roots in the city of Beit Jala in the occupied West Bank and has been active in this cause since the age of 11.
Jadue spent part of his youth job with the General Union of Palestinian Students in Chile. The candidate joined the union in 1978 at only 11 years old and worked in information and communication offices. In the following years, he joined the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP).
He then headed the General Union from 1987 to 1991 and coordinated the activities of the Palestinian youth organization in Latin America and the Caribbean from 1991 to 1993. During this time, Daniel traveled to Lebanon and Syria, meeting various Palestinian political leaders.
In 2009, along with a group of other prominent Palestinians in the diaspora, Jadue visited Palestine for the first time. On his return to Chile, the presidential candidate wrote a delivered describing his experiences entitled Palestine: Chronicle of a siege (2013).
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If elected, Jadue will not be the first Palestinian head of government in Latin America. Eleven from Latin America presidents have Arab origins, and a significant number are linked to Palestine. Carlos Facusse (Honduras, 1988-2002), Antonio Saca (El Salvador, 2004-2009) and Nayib Bukelele (2019-present) were among the first Palestinians to ascend. However, Jadue’s open and steadfast commitment to Palestine and its freedom sets him apart from these leaders.
“Being Palestinian is not eating Palestinian food and dancing dabke,” Jadue told Mondoweiss in an interview. “[â¦] If you are Palestinian, but if you don’t know which side of the wall you are on, then you are not Palestinian. “
âYou cannot be for human rights outside of Palestine and against human rights for Palestinians,â Jadue added.
Last month, following the Israeli occupation’s 11-day bombing of the Gaza Strip that killed 256 Palestinians including 66 children, Jadue led a protest outside the Israeli embassy in Santiago, posting photos to his Twitter account.
Llegamos hasta al frontis de la embajada de Israel en Chile para solidarizar con el pueblo palestino y condenar los attacks en la franja de Gaza que han dejado mÃ¡s de 220 personas asesinadas en los cobardes bombardeos de Israel! #FuerzaPalestina #PalestineFree pic.twitter.com/9gQoL5M0yY
– Daniel Jadue (@danieljadue) May 19, 2021
Chile, home to half a million Palestinians, is used to supporting those living under Israeli occupation. In July 2020, the Chilean Senate approved a resolution calling on the president to implement a law boycotting products from the settlements and banning trading activities with companies operating in the occupied Palestinian territories.
That same week, Chile lit up its telephone tower with Palestinian kuffyeh to show support for the Palestinian people and to repudiate former Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s plans to annex 30% of the occupied West Bank.
Last year, Club Deportivo Palestino, a unique football club founded by Palestinian immigrants in the town of Osorno in southern Chile in 1920, celebrated its centenary. The club are known as the âPalestine Second National Teamâ, providing an opportunity for the oppressed people of Palestine to be seen and heard outside their occupied borders.
Presidential elections in Chile are scheduled to take place on November 21.