This nice Jewish guy? Shame on you!
The president of Venezuela, Nicolás Maduro Moros, rebuffed the accusations of the Latin American Jewish Congress’s director, Claudio Epelman, who called him antisemitic because of the relationship Venezuela maintains with the people of Iran.
During the plenary assembly on Monday of the World Jewish Congress, in Budapest, Hungary, Epelman stated that the growing ties between Iran and several Latin American countries, especially Venezuela, “are causing an increase in antisemitism in the region.”
“A strong presence and strengthening of the relations between various Latin American countries and Iran is a promoting factor of antisemitism on the continent,” Epelman said.
“I greatly lament the declarations of Claudio Epelman, director of the Latin American Jewish Congress, whom I know and whom we have received in Venezuela so many times, saying that there is antisemitism in Venezuela and accusing Chávez and me…let him accuse me if he will, but be quiet about Chávez,” said Maduro in response to Epelman’s remarks.
“We reject that campaign. We are a humanistic people, we are not antisemites,” said the president during a Street Government meeting in Baruta, Miranda. “In Venezuela we have never had antisemitism. All the religions and peoples of the world are welcome here. We are an open-hearted people.”
The president explained: “One thing is that we have differences with the state of Israel…We reject the attack by Israel on Damascus, the people of Syria, and the attacks against the Gaza Strip and the people of Palestine. We are at the forefront of the struggle against those who have hijacked, by way of a repressive state like Israel, a noble people like the Jewish people.
“If there is a people who have a socialist tradition, it is the Jewish people, for thousands of years. And we respect their history,” Maduro added. “My grandparents were Jews, the Maduros as well as the Moros. They converted to Catholicism in Venezuela…The mother of [communications and information minister] Ernesto Villegas also comes from that tradition.”
“Historically speaking, antisemites are linked to the currents of Opus Dei, who direct the Venezuelan right wing. The Catholicism of the right has always maintained that the Jews were the ones who killed Christ. And over top of that, they constructed a myth of persecution. The Catholicism of the right fed Mussolini and Hitler, not Lenin, who was a fighter for the rights of the Jewish people. Marx was a Jew.”
“Here, the Liberator had Jews among his troops, and people who supported the Jewish people, among them Samuel Maduro, one of the first Maduros to arrive here in 1812. And if we come to Hugo Chávez, he was the one who inaugurated the ecumenical era of religion in Venezuela,” Maduro added.
“The Jewish Holocaust was created by the ultra-right and international capital financing. As Luis Britto García says, What is fascism? Rancid financial capital, the aristocracy holding the power of the state. When the aristocracy takes power in capitalism, that’s fascism.
“Who liberated the concentration camps all over the battle front, in Poland and Germany? The Red Army, led by Marshal Zhukov! They were liberated camp by camp. That’s what the revolutionaries of the Soviet Union did. We are their heirs. Of the good, at least, of the anti-fascist struggle, we are the heirs of the Soviet Union,” Maduro said.
Also, Maduro explained that “Holocaust” means extermination, and for that reason he considers it pertinent to use that term in reference to the colonization of the Americas in 1492, where an estimated 100 million indigenous people died, and more than 30 million Africans were kidnapped, enslaved and killed. “How can you describe how 30 million people were taken from their lands, and half of them died at sea, and the other half were enslaved? Holocaust means extermination,” Maduro added.
“Here, they exterminated our indigenous. They killed our ancestors. It was an Indigenous Holocaust,” the president concluded.
The accusations of antisemitism contrast with the openness and cordiality of Chávez as well as Maduro toward representatives of the Jewish community. Last January, Maduro, then vice-president, met in Caracas with members of the World Jewish Congress.
In 2009, Maduro also met with the secretary-general of the World Jewish Congress, Michel Schnaider, and the president of the Latin American Congress, Jack Tenpins, among others representatives of both institutions, who called the meeting “cordial and fruitful.”
The cordial relations during the government of the late president Hugo Chávez and that of Maduro contradict the accusations of antisemitism against the Venezuelan government.
Activists and political personalities who support the cause of Palestine and who are critics of the government of Israel, including Jews such as Noam Chomsky, Norm Finkelstein, or the US activist Medea Benjamin, founder of Global Exchange and Code Pink, are frequent targets of accusations of “antisemitism” or “judeophobia” on the part of pro-Israel organizations such as AIPAC and the Anti-Defamation League (ADL).
Incidents such as the attack on a synagogue in Caracas in 2009, were energetically condemned by said pro-Israel organizations as examples of the supposed antisemitism of the Chávez administration, which was accused of promoting the attacks. The condemnations received much media coverage around the world, in contrast with silence over the energetic condemnation of Chávez against said crime, the investigation which revealed that the government had no relation to the incident, and the special protection offered by Chávez to provide security to the synagogue afterward.
Yeah, that’s right, you bitches…Venezuela has a Jewish president. Maybe not a religious one, but one with Jewish ancestry on both sides, regardless.
By contrast, his former opponent, Henrique Capriles Radonski, another practising Roman Catholic, brags of his Jewish ancestors too, but he only has them on his mother’s side. (Plus he’s a Majunche, which cancels out anything else anyway.)
And like Chavecito before him, Nicolás Maduro knows his history, knows his onions, has good relations on the ground with Venezuelan Jews (funny how few of THEM have turned out to accuse him otherwise), and in short, he’s good for the Jews. Something I greatly doubt the Majunche would be, as he’s only out for himself, and not the common good.