Latin American Summit - Grading Obama on his trip

Our newly-elected President Obama just returned from a trip to Trinidad to meet with leaders of Latin American nations to fortify our relationships with them. He met with Hugo Chavez and other controversial leaders and came back feeling that he made progress in opening the door to a new chapter in Latin-American/U.S. relations. Everyone feels optimistic that his charm and intelligence will signal a new era in global policy to elevate the U.S.'s image abroad.

But what does it mean to extend a friendly hand to someone like Hugo Chavez who has repeatedly criticized the U.S. and even President Obama throughout his reign in Venezuela?

Does it boost our image or not?

Chavez has railed against the U.S. and Israel. He has allowed anti-Semitic acts to occur in Venezuela without consequences, almost encouraging them.

In 2006, the Anti Defamation League wrote: The
Chavez regime's frequent anti-Israel statements, open support for
terrorist groups such as Hamas and Hezbollah and collusion with radical
Islamic leaders like President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad
of Iran are having a "spillover effect" in Venezuelan society, with
anti-Israel demonstrations, anti-Jewish graffiti and other displays of
anti-Semitism becoming dangerously commonplace, according to ADL.  The
Jewish population of Venezuela is reportedly about 25,000 people.

"President Hugo Chavez
and his government institutions have elevated their anti-Israel
rhetoric to dangerous levels, and it often crosses the line into
anti-Semitism," said Abraham H. Foxman.  "It is troubling that the
leadership of a Latin American country, that once served as a
safe-haven for Holocaust survivors and that still boasts a sizeable
Jewish community, has taken a wrong turn into fostering hatred,
prejudice and bigotry while supporting countries and groups who call
for Israel's total destruction."

Rehashing Stereotypes and Demonizing Israel

Chavez and his government
have resorted to implicit and explicit anti-Semitic displays, including
rehashing the ancient canard of Jewish control, blaming Israel and the
Jews for the world's problems, and adopting anti-Semitic stereotypes
about Jewish financial influence.  Recently, in a series of public
statements on Israel's war with Hezbollah, Chavez repeatedly compared
Israel to the Nazis and Hitler, and in speaking to his own people he
has on at least one occasion dabbled in classical anti-Semitic canards."

It's only gotten worse since then.

The ADL just issued this report:


In the weeks since Israel launched its operation against Hamas in Gaza, Venezuela's
Jewish community of approximately 15,000 has been the repeated target
of hateful rhetoric, intimidation, vandalism of property and threats of
organized boycotts, according to the ADL report,
Chavez's Venezuela: The Jewish Community Under Threat.

 

"The anti-Semites in Venezuela
feel emboldened and empowered by the rhetoric and actions of President
Hugo Chavez and his government," said Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National
Director.  "The most recent synagogue attack in Caracas did not happen in a vacuum.  It
took place in an atmosphere of intimidation and threats against the
Jewish community that has been building for weeks, stoked by the vile
comparisons of Israel's actions to the Nazis coming from President Chavez and his regime."

 

Why would someone like Obama want to "make nice" with this anti-Semitic, anti-American dictator?

Messages are appearing on mainstream and government-related websites of Venezuela with inflammatory language i.e." that Hitler didn't finish the job." 

I would like to know what is the Obama administration's stand on this.

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