Thor Halvorssen writes about Hurricaine Hugo in the Weekly Standard: Venezuela’s Hugo Chávez is a threat to more than just his own people and starts with last year’s November 29, 2004 police commando attack on the Colegio Hebraica (emphasis mine)
As parents and school buses delivered children to Colegio Hebraica, a Jewish grade school in Caracas, 25 secret police commandos in combat gear and face masks burst into the main building. Scores of preschoolers were locked in the school as panicked parents tried to retrieve them. The children were eventually freed, but the raid went on.
The government-appointed judge who ordered the raid said the commandos were looking for weapons linked to a bombing that killed Danilo Anderson, a crooked local prosecutor who had made a fortune shaking down the government’s political opponents. The raid followed speculation aired on a state-run television station that Anderson’s killing was the work of Mossad, the Israeli foreign intelligence agency; presumably this guesswork justified the storming of a Jewish elementary school.
The Hebraica raid was not an isolated or random act of state-sponsored anti-Jewish violence. Hostility to Jews has become one of the hallmarks of the Venezuelan government under Hugo Chávez, the radical populist who became president in 1999, and of Chavismo, the neo-fascist ideology named for him. In January, the State Department’s Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor released a “Report on Global Anti-Semitism.” The report documents how openly anti-Semitic the Venezuelan government now is. Besides the raid on the Jewish school, it noted that “President Chávez cautioned citizens against following the lead of Jewish citizens in the effort to overturn his referendum victory. Anti-Semitic leaflets also were available to the public in an Interior and Justice Ministry office waiting room.”
Chávez first ran for president on a reform platform, winning in a landslide. What few understood then was that Chávez planned to revolutionize the country following a plan masterminded by his longtime friend Norberto Ceresole, an Argentinian writer infamous for his books denying the Holocaust and his conspiracy theories about Jewish plans to control the planet.
The title of Ceresole’s 1999 book on Chávez and Venezuela, Caudillo, Ejército, Pueblo (“Leader, Army, People”), eerily recalls the German national socialist maxim, “One People, One Country, One Leader.” (The first chapter is titled “The Jewish Question and the state of Israel.”) After denying the Holocaust, he explains that the greatest threat to Chavismo comes from the Jews of Venezuela.
. . .
And, as it happened, on the same day Hebraica was raided, Chávez was on a state visit to Iran. Just that morning, the Tehran Times had quoted his praise of President Khatami and the Iranian theocracy. Analysts in Venezuela suspect the true purpose of the raid originated in Chávez’s eagerness to display solidarity with the Iranian mullahs. Chávez had traveled to Iran by way of Tripoli, where he described himself as “bathed in honor” after receiving the fantastically named Muammar Qaddafi Prize for Human Rights. In his acceptance speech Chávez was unequivocal: The “time is right to unite and face the imperialist challenge. Like Yasser Arafat, I now have only the revolutionary’s gun since the olive branch has fallen.”
Days afterward, Chávez accused Washington of unleashing “real terrorism” in Iraq and called for a “jihad” on American imperialism. Appearing on Al Jazeera, he described President Bush’s foreign policy as vigilante violence: “It is not a war on terrorism, it is terrorism itself.” From Iran, Chávez traveled to China, where he announced that China would replace the United States as the principal beneficiary of Venezuelan oil. By the end of his trip, Chávez had signed agreements with President Hu Jintao granting the China National Petroleum Corporation control of 15 Venezuelan oil fields, thereby securing for China a billion barrels of Venezuelan crude. Shortly after, Chávez declared himself a Marxist-Leninist in a speech in Calcutta. He then signed petroleum agreements with the Indian government while again indicating his desire to cut off Venezuelan oil exports to the United States.
The article, a must-read, also explores Chávez’s path to totalitarianism.
Other Venezuela posts from:
The Miami Herald asks, When does democracy building and voter education land you in legal trouble? The answer: “When you are a civic group trying to check government abuses in Venezuela.”
President launches Return to Countryside Plan for people in high risk areas. I shudder to think of another relocation program, in Zimbabwe, where allegedly the government wants people to go to rural areas, where they can be controlled more easily.