Bolivarian Anti-Semitism

President Hugo Chavez has expelled Israel’s Ambassador to Venezuela, Shlomo Cohen, in retaliation for Israel’s attacks against Hamas terrorists in the Gaza strip. A statement issued by Venezuela’s Foreign Ministry says the “People of Venezuela manifests its unrestricted solidarity with the heroir Palestinian People.” Following the example of Chavez, Venezuela’s National assembly observed a minute of silence in support of Hamas. Foreign Minister Nicolas Maduro visited the Sheik Ibrahim Mosque (whose construction was financed by the governments of Saudi Arabia and Iran) in downtown Caracas, to reaffirm the Chavez government’s support for Hamas and the Palestinian people. National Assembly Deputy Iris Valera (aka Fosforito) says Israel is an “engendro” (i.e. deformed fetus).
Venezuela historically is a Catholic nation. Over 90% of Venezuelans are Catholic. But during the decade Chavez has been in power, a disproportionately large number of Venezuelan Muslims – mainly of Iranian, Syrian and Lebanese ancestry – have served the Bolivarian revolution at very high levels including Cabinet posts and state governorships. Chavez also has forged strong political alliances with Iran, Syria and Lybia, as well as Hamas, the PLO, Hezbollah and other Islamist groups which sponsor, support or engage directly in acts of international terrorism.
Italian newspaper La Stampa reported recently that Venezuela’s state-owned airline Conviasa is illegally transporting Iranian-made missile parts to Damascus in violation of UN Security Council resolutions meant to prevent the spread of missile and nuclear technologies to rogue states. Last week, Turkish customs officials seized 22 containers labeled “tractor parts” that were imported from Iran and en route to Venezuela, after an inspection confirmed the containers were transporting laboratory equipment and chemicals used to manufacture explosives. It’s unclear as yet whether the 22 containers were intended for Venezuela, or trans-shipment to a third country via Venezuela.
There is no doubt whatsoever that the Chavez government supports international narco-terrorist and Islamist terror groups politically, financially and materially. More on that in future posts.
However, this post is about Bolivarian anti-semitism. Is it a malevolent aspect of the Bolivarian revolution, as some opposition figures suggest? Or is it a very public expression of a deepseated anti-semitism whose origins in Venezuelan culture date from centuries past?
Chavez claims he is not anti-semitic, but his rhetoric and actions over the past decade confirm he despises Jews. The origins of his anti-semitism are varied: Spanish Catholic culture, class hatred, envy of his betters, his fascist and neo-Nazi beliefs, geopolitical pragmatism dictated by his strategic alliances with radical Islamist regimes like Iran and Syria, etc.
Adolf Hitler’s anti-semitism certainly stoked Chavez. While he was jailed at Yare prison in 1992-94, Chavez avidly studied Adolf Hitler’s Mein Kampf (Fidel Castro also studied Hitler’s book while he was jailed on the Isle of Pines after his failed attack on the Moncada Barracks on July 26, 1953). Former colleagues of Chavez who also were imprisoned at Yare recall that he highlighted and underlined extensive passages of Mein Kampf, as if he were studying a school text.
President Chavez clearly hates Israel and Jews in general. Hamas can fire barrages of rockets at Israel for weeks on end, but Chavez says nothing. However, now that Israel is legitimately defending its interests, Chavez is leading the braying pack of Marxist anti-semites in the region whocondemning Israel and blaming the United States as the “real” intellectual author of the latest round of Palestinian-Israeli conflict triggered by Palestinian terrorist rocket attacks.
But the anti-semitism of Chavez is not unique in Venezuelan culture. One of the great lies of Venezuelan culture, particularly among the elite families descended from Spanish immigrants who first arrived in Venezuela as far back as the 17th Century, is that Venezuela is a tolerant society open to all ethnicities, religions and cultures.
In fact, the cream of Venezuelan society – specifically families who trace their bloodlines directly to Spanish Catholic immigrants who first settled this country – has always been viscerally anti-semitic, although they do a good job of keeping their anti-semitism in a closet, especially if there is a profit to be had by doing business with Venezuelan Jews – who generally are better at business than Catholic Venezuelans. However, before Chavez was first elected president in December 1998, the anti-semitism of Venezuela’s economic and political elites rarely saw daylight.
But it was obvious to anyone who dug deeply enough. For example, in 1989 the Sivensa steel and autoparts group, which was majority owned at the time by the Machado, Zuloaga and Cervini families, commissioned a book about the group’s history to celebrate its 40th anniversary. Sivensa was created by Miles Sherover, a Jew born in Krakow, Poland in 1896 and raised in Brooklyn, New York. Sherover was a very successful businessman and industrialist who, besides founding Sivensa in Caracas in the late 1940’s, also built General Tire’s factories in Mexico and Chile. There never would have been a Sivensa without Sherover. The company’s original Catholic Venezuelan founders ran it into the ground less than a year after it was incorporated. Then Sherover bought into Sivensa, hired many Jewish immigrants from post-WW2 Central and Eastern Europe, and turned Sivensa into a viable and profitable company.
However, when the draft of the book on Sivensa’s history was delivered to the project’s editor, Maria Corina Machado, Sherover’s seminal and critically important contributions to Sivensa’s history were erased almost completely from the published book. When pressed to explain why Sherover’s contributions had been virtually erased from Sivensa’s official 40-year history, Maria Corina had no ready or convincing answers.
(A small footnote to this historical anecdote: Angel Cervini, whose son Reinaldo Cervini was involved in the conspiratorial shenanigans which preceded the political violence of April 11-14, 2002, was Sivensa’s president during the 1960’s. At the time, a portrait of Sherover still hung in a hallway outside the president’s offices, and whenever Cervini passed Sherover’s portrait he would launch a gob of spit at it. Over the years, the portrait became encrusted with dry sputum, until Cervini retired and the portrait was taken down.)
The point is that Chavez did not introduce anti-semitism to Venezuela. Hatred of Jews was already well-entrenched among Venezuelan political and economic elites of Spanish (and, yes, German) descent before Chavez came to power at the end of 1998. Chavez simply opened the closet door and freed the anti-semitism kept secret by the elites he replaced in power, although even Venezuelan Jews are reluctant to publicly admit the historical anti-semitism of Venezuelan culture.


About Caracas Gringo

Representing less than 0.00000000001515152% of the world population as of 31 December 2011.
This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s