An Israeli-Palestinian conflict began October 7 (AP)

An Israeli-Palestinian conflict began after Hamas attacked Israel on October 7. (AP)

How Are Latin American Leaders Responding to Hamas' Attacks on Israel?

By Chase Harrison and Jon Orbach

Although most leaders have condemned the attacks, there has not been a unified regional response to them or the subsequent conflict.

Updated October 11, 2023*—Hamas’ surprise attack on Israel on October 7 has instigated a new round of conflict between the terrorist group and the Israeli government, with high death tolls in both Israel and Gaza. Across the region, Latin America’s leaders responded to the conflict and bloodshed. Like with Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, there was no unified regional response. While condemnation of terrorism was common, some leaders, such as Mexico’s Andrés Manuel López Obrador, professed neutrality. Others, like Colombia’s Gustavo Petro, criticized the Israeli government.

Latin America has existing relationships with both Israel and Palestine. From 2009 to 2011, a majority of Latin American countries chose to recognize Palestine alongside Israel diplomatically. Mexico and Panama, however, recognize only Israel.

After the Hamas attacks, citizens in the region made their opinions known with marches and demonstrations in support of both Israeli and Palestinian causes. Foreign ministries focused on evacuating nationals from the region and verifying whether any citizens were taken hostage by Hamas or killed. At least seven Argentines have been killed and 26 Latin Americans were missing as of October 9.


On October 7, Argentine President Alberto Fernández condemned Hamas and expressed his country’s solidarity with Israel, announcing plans to send humanitarian aid. The Argentine government also said that it would increase security at Jewish institutions in the country. Argentina has Latin America’s largest Jewish population.

All three of Argentina’s major presidential candidates—Patricia Bullrich, Sergio Massa, and Javier Milei—have condemned the attack in solidarity in Israel.


On October 7, Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva condemned the “terrorist attacks carried out against civilians in Israel” and called on the international community to resume negotiations to find a solution to the conflict. He posited his support for a two-state solution in which Israel and Palestine live safely within their borders.

“Brazil will spare no efforts to prevent an escalation of the conflict, including during its tenure as President of the UN Security Council,” which began this month, Lula said.


On October 9, Chilean President Gabriel Boric released a statement condemning the attacks without any qualifications. Boric, who has also been a vocal critic of authoritarian regimes in Nicaragua and Venezuela, called for an end to the Israeli occupation.

Meanwhile, the country’s Foreign Minister Alberto von Klaveren posted a statement condemning violence perpetrated by “Hamas, Islamic Jihad, the State of Israel, and any other actor intervening in the conflict.” Israel’s ambassador to Chile Gil Artzyeli criticized that statement for equating the Israeli government with a terrorist organization.


Colombian President Gustavo Petro has tweeted dozens of times about the war since it began. In response to Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant’s comments that Israel is fighting “human animals,” Petro said, “This is what the Nazis said of the Jews … This hate speech, if it continues, will only bring a holocaust.”

Petro also compared Auschwitz to Gaza, saying he saw the concentration camp model of the former implemented in the latter. Both comments drew strong criticism, including from Israel’s Ambassador to Colombia Gali Dagan, who noted that any attempt to compare Gaza to the Holocaust is pure ignorance or antisemitism. Petro said that much of the Colombian media that attacked him fell for “the propaganda of international Zionism” that supports the Israeli far-right.


On October 9, Mexico’s President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, or AMLO, spoke about the conflict during his morning press conference. He professed neutrality saying: “We do not want to take sides… more than condemnations, what is required is a search for peaceful solutions.” In contrast, the Secretariat of Foreign Relations condemned Hamas’ attack and affirmed Israel’s right to self-defense. The Israeli Ambassador to Mexico issued a rebuke of AMLO’s statement, saying: “As history has repeatedly taught us, maintaining a neutral position rather than taking sides ultimately means supporting terrorism.” 

Of the two major presidential aspirants, Xóchitl Gálvez, who will represent the opposition Frente Amplio por México alliance in the June 2024 presidential election, voiced her support for Israel on Twitter on October 7 and expressed solidarity with Mexico’s Jewish community. A day later, she called out Claudia Sheinbaum, the former Mexico City mayor who will represent the governing party alliance in the race, for not condemning the attacks. On October 9, Sheinbaum spoke in a live broadcast on social media about the conflict. She stated she agreed with the AMLO government’s response, condemned the violence, and called for both states to be recognized

Other countries

A majority of Latin America’s governments condemned Hamas's attacks and voiced their support for Israel, including: Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Guatemala, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, and Uruguay.

Though their governments issued statements through foreign ministries, Bolivia’s Luis Arce and Peru’s Dina Boluarte have yet to issue statements. Salvadoran President Nayib Bukele, who is of Palestinian descent, posted on Twitter that in order for Palestine to thrive, it should get rid of the “animals” that are Hamas, whom he compared to gangs in his own country. “Anyone who supports the Palestinian cause would make a great mistake siding with those criminals,” he said.

Three countries—Cuba, Nicaragua, and Venezuela—justified Hamas’ attacks. Former Bolivian President Evo Morales, who recently announced his candidacy for the 2025 presidential race, also laid the blame on Israel.

*Editor's note: Due to a coding error, Cuba, Nicaragua, and Venezuela were omitted from the original version of this report.