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Concern Overplo Presence in Costa Rica and Venezuela

Costa Rica may be on the verge of abandoning its close friendship with Israel for the sake of Arab votes in the United Nations, the Anti-Defamation League of B’nai B’rith warned. According to two officials who have just returned from a fact-finding trip to Central America, high ranking Costa Rican officials received an Arab delegation last month. The delegation included representatives of the Palestine Liberation Organization.

A new PLO threat in Venezuela was also reported by the two ADL officials — Abraham Foxman, associate national director and head of ADL’s international affairs division, and Rabbi Morton Rosenthal, director of the agency’s Latin American affairs department.

They noted that the visit to Costa Rica by the Arab delegation came on the heels of a Mideast tour by Rodrigo Alberto Carazo, son of the president of the country, who was accompanied by a presidential adviser. He reportedly was promised Arab support in getting the United Nations to finance a UN-sponsored University for Peace in Costa Rico a project in which President Rodrigo Carazo Odio has a personal interest.

Foxman said that according to stories circulating in Costa Rica, the quid pro quo for Arab support of the university project is a pledge by the government of Costa Rica to more actively support the Arab cause and, specifically, the PLO. “A PLO presence in Costa Rica, “he said, “would threaten the stability of this politically volatile region, in view of PLO contacts with the revolutionary Left in Guatemala and El Salvador.”

A SETBACK FOR ISRAEL

Foxman added that “it would also be a great setback for Israel, because Israel has not bad a more constant friend and ally than Costa Rico. Costa Rica has consistently supported Israel at the UN and at other international forums. He noted that Costa Rica has already veered slightly away from Israel. Since the 1978 election of President Carazo Odio, Costa Rica has altered its traditional voting pattern in support of Israel and on issues important to Israel.

Declaring that ADL is worried about the situation in Venezuela, Rosenthal quoted informed sources as saying that the country’s Ministry of Mines has forwarded to the Foreign Ministry a recommendation that Venezuela authorize the opening of a PLO office in Caracas.

The Venezuelan Jewish community, he said, has expressed its concern in meetings with government officials and in full page newspaper advertisements. in a June 19 ad, the Jewish community warned that opening of a PLO office would have “lamentable results” for Venezuelan society and for the “very basis of our democratic system.”

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