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Latin America condemns Israeli air attacks on Gaza
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Many Latin American countries on Sunday condemned the Israeli airstrikes on Gaza, which killed at least 285 people and injured more than 900. They urged immediate talks between Israel and Palestine to end the violence.

The attacks began on Saturday and continued on Sunday against dozens of Hamas' security installations, marking the bloodiest days since the 1967 War in this volatile area. The Palestinian authorities have declared three days of mourning.

The Cuban government said in a statement on Sunday, published by the Cuban media, that it was an act of genocide on the part of the Israeli government, and it violates most principles of International Law and the Charter of the United Nations.

Cuba also called on the international community to condemn the attacks and demand an immediate ceasefire. The country reaffirmed its solidarity and support for the Palestinian people.

The Venezuelan government expressed its "solidarity with the Palestine people" and accused the government of U.S. President George W. Bush of being the "only accomplice" of the Israelis.

Venezuela also expressed its "deep indignation" and described the attacks as "criminal." It urged the United Nations to "use its authority, and to enforce resolutions in favor of the Palestinian people and against the Israeli government's violence."

Argentina's Foreign Ministry, in a statement, called for more talks, and expressed "its deepest sorrow against the violent acts, which once again had plunged the Middle East and Gaza Strip into mourning."

Argentina demanded Israel "stop the bombing" and "permanently preserve and allow the normal flow of supplies and other services to meet the urgent needs of the people in Gaza."

Argentine President Cristina Fernandez called for the re-establishment of the truce, broken on Dec. 19, and the resumption of negotiations to find a path to permanent peace.

Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega demanded on Sunday the Israeli government stop its "criminal acts" in Gaza.

"I want... to ask the international community to make all necessary efforts to stop the criminal acts of the Israeli government against the suffering Palestinian people," Ortega said in a statement.

He also criticized countries like the United States and Israel, which "spend (money) to destroy highways, kill children and entire families in Iraq and Afghanistan, instead of investing for the development of all peoples."

The member countries of the Common Market of the South (Mercosur), including Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay, also criticized on Sunday the "increase in violence" in the area and the Israeli bombing of the Palestinian territory.

On Saturday, Chile's President Michelle Bachelet "strongly" condemned the attacks and expressed her deep concern about the violence in the region, while the Brazilian government urged Israel and Palestine's Hamas to stop the hostilities and start a dialogue.

(Xinhua News Agency December 29, 2008)

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