BOGOTA, Colombia

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro conmemorated on Monday late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat on his 91st birth anniversary.

“In Venezuela, we are celebrating the 91st anniversary of the birth of our friend, Yasser Arafat. Eternal leader who left us a legacy of firmness and dignity for the cause of freedom and peace. Today, we continue with his people raising our voices for a free and independent Palestine!” said Maduro on his Twitter account.

Yasser Arafat participated in the Palestinian movement, which aspired to build an independent Arab state, clashing with Jewish aspirations on the same territory.

He founded the Fatah movement in the late 1950 and in 1969 he took over the Palestine Liberation Organization, created by the Arab League five years earlier to declare Palestinian independence from the region’s powerful players.

The 1993 Oslo Accords that gave the Palestinians limited territorial sovereignty and partial control over civil affairs in the West Bank and Gaza, won Arafat the Nobel Peace Prize in 1994.

Arafat returned to Palestine in 1994 following decades of struggle against the Israeli occupation from abroad. During the second Palestinian Intifada, which erupted in 2001 against then Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon’s incursion in the Al-Aqsa Mosque, the Israeli occupation forces imposed a blockade on Arafat’s residence in the West Bank’s city of Ramallah.

Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez also remembered Arafat through his Twitter account on Monday.

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