Venezuelean President Hugo Chávez
A recent request by socialist Venezuelean President Hugo Chávez to pay an official visit to a Chabad synagogue in Caracas was rejected.
The Chabad official news site posted an article saying that Rabbi Moshe Ferman, the chief Chabad envoy to Venezuela, had rejected the president's request arguing that it was aimed at garnering political gains in light of the West's revulsion of him.
Chavez who has been in office since 1999, allied with Saddam Hussein at the time, befriended Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Syrian President Bashar Assad, and has even paid them personal visits.
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The Simon Wiesenthal Center has accused him of anti-Semitism after in one of his speeches he accused the Jews of crucifying Jesus and of holding the entire world's capital.
Since 2002, when he accused the Israeli Mossad of an attempted coup in his country, the Jewish community is fearful of his conduct.
The Jewish community in Venezuela, one of the oldest in Latin America, comprises a population of 25,300 (some 60 percent are from Ashkenazi descent, and the remainder is Sephardic.) The large Jewish communities reside in the cities of Caracas, Maracaibo, Valencia and Maracay.