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Anti-semitism in Uruguay

Uruguayan police have uncovered an anti-Semitic group in Montevideo that allegedly had firebombed a synagogue on Duranzo Street, had stoned the headquarters building of Uruguay’s Jewish representative political organization, and had painted swastikas on many sites in Uruguay’s capital.

This information was reported today by Jacob Kovadloff, director of the South American Office of the American Jewish Committee, who welcomed the action of the Uruguayan police and added the hope that it might be “the first of other such crackdowns in South American countries where Jewish institutions have been the victims of attacks in recent months.”

According to the information received here, Yamandu Lopez Sejas, a 49-year-old businessman, and two 19-year-old accomplices were arrested and are being tried under the provisions of a 1942 law against the promotion and incitement of racial hatred and violence. The three could be sentenced to a maximum of five years in jail.

According to newspaper reports in “El Pais” and “La Manana”, an anonymous tip led police to the meeting place of the group, where they found, among other things, armbands emblazoned with swastikas and anti-Semitic literature. Lopez Sejas has a previous police record and was a candidate of the Socialist Movement Party in the 1968 elections, a splinter group not to be confused with the Socialist Party.

Uruguay, a country of fewer than two million inhabitants, has a 45,000-member Jewish community, the highest concentration of Jews living in a Latin American country today.

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