Chávez met with Jewish leaders in Caracas
Churuguara, Falcon State, Venezuela, 16 August, 2008. After a successful mediation by President of Argentina, Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez met with a group of leaders of the world Jewish Community (WJC) at the Miraflores government Palace on Wednesday, August 13, 2008. This was the first time WJC met President Chavez officially. However, it is not the first time Chavez has met with representatives of the local Jewish community. The old and very much included Jewish community in Venezuela participates in its political life actively. Thus, it is common to find it represented in both the government and the opposition. The Ashkenazim community is led by US educated Rabin Pynchas Brener who opposes President Chavez. In recent times, some young members of the local Jewish community from Club Hebraica have been trained in Colombia and served security policies for the Alvaro Uribe administration. Such activities and the fact that a notorious Jewish business man and arm dealer Isaac Perez Recado acted in the US sponsored coup against Chavez in 2002, led to a police raid of Club Hebraica. In addition, the Los Angeles-based Simon Wiesenthal Center has echoed the acrimonious views of the Bush administration on Chavez. Such anti Semitic statements and different stands on Israeli policies towards Palestine, Lebanon and Iran has distributed a misleading image on the relations of current Chavez administration and the Jewish community. The Chavez administration has made a clear distinction between the State of Israel and the world Jewish community. The original Sephardi Jewish community settled in Venezuela during colonial times. It has been rather active in commercial, cultural, social and political spheres. The oldest Jewish cemetery of the whole American continent is at Coro, Falcon State, and the first capital city of Venezuela.
Chávez met with leaders of the world Jewish community
Venezuela's President Hugo Chávez met on Wednesday, August 13 with a group of leaders of the world Jewish community to talk about several topics, in an unprecedented fact in the nearly ten years since he took power, reported Venezuelan state-run TV channel Venezolana de Televisión (VTV). The event took place at the Miraflores Palace, the seat of the government in Venezuela, following mediation between Jewish leaders and national authorities, conducted some weeks ago by the President of Argentina, Cristina Fernández de Kirchner.
The visiting delegation was headed by Ronald Lauder, president of the World Jewish Congress (WJC). He was joined by Jack Terpins, who is the President of the Latin American Jewish Congress, and leaders of the Jewish community in Venezuela, as reported by AFP. According to a report from the Jewish News Agency the meeting is intended to improve relationships between the local and international Jewish community and Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez, after several misunderstandings since Chávez took office in February 1999.
Jewish community voices concerns about anti-Semitism
After ten years waiting for a meeting with Venezuela's Hugo Chávez, the Jewish community finally met with the ruler and voiced concerns about anti-Semitism in the country.The reunion took place following Argentinean President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner's mediation between Jewish leaders and Venezuelan authorities. The visiting delegation was headed by Ronald Lauder, president of the World Jewish Congress (WJC); Jack Terpins, president of the Latin American Jewish Congress, and Abraham Levy, president of the Confederation of Israelite Associations of Venezuela (CAIV). "It was a very positive meeting. People voiced a strong stand against anti-Semitism, which President Chávez supported," a source from CAIV said. After the meeting with Chávez, the Jewish community hopes that relations with the Venezuelan government will improve considerably and pressures on the Jewish communist to diminish.
Chávez expected to honor commitment with the Jewish community
Los Angeles-based Simon Wiesenthal Center said on Thursday, August 14 that it would monitor with "caution and interest" the pledge made by the Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez to the Jewish community leaders to support them in their fight against anti-Semitism. The Simon Wiesenthal Center is an international Jewish human rights NGO based in the US."We believe that we must go beyond rhetoric. We urge Venezuela to investigate serious anti-Semitic actions that have occurred in that country," Sergio Widder, the center's representative for Latin America, said to the Jewish News Agency.The NGO referred to recent anti-Semitic incidents that have occurred in Venezuela under Chávez government, including two police raids to a Jewish community center in Caracas with the excuse of searching for weapons and explosives.