On 29 November 1947, the UN General Assembly voted on the establishment of two states, one Jewish and one Arab, on the territory included in the British Mandate for Palestine; 13 of the then 20 Latin American member nations voted in favor.
In the 1950s and 1960s, relations with countries of the region were strengthened, due in no small measure to joint programs in which Israel shared its experience and skills in areas such as agriculture, medicine, organization of cooperatives, and rural, regional, and community development. Thousands of trainees have participated in study programs in Israel. Developments in the international arena during the 1960s and 1970s led to a lessening of support for Israel of these countries, mainly at the UN and its affiliated bodies.
Today Israel maintains full diplomatic relations with all the countries of Central and South America and the Caribbean region, except Cuba, Bolivia and Venezuela (the latter two severed relations with Israel in 2009). These relations are reflected in productive cooperation in the political, economic and cultural spheres, as well as in a large number of bilateral agreements in many areas.
Commerce is extending steadily. A Free Trade Agreement between Mexico and Israel, concluded in 2000, added a new dimension to this sphere. Exports, including chemicals, hi-tech software, agricultural produce, machinery and electronics, and imports, consisting mainly of meat, grain, corn, sugar, cocoa, coffee, and metals, are both on the increase, and Israeli banks, construction firms and agricultural planning and development companies are active in the countries of Central and South America and the Caribbean. In 2005, Israel signed a framework agreement with MERCOSUR.
Many Israelis visit Central and South America, particularly young Israelis for whom a visit to these regions is part of a post-army right of passage.