CARACAS (Feb. 18)
The President of Venezuela has appointed Paulina Gamus as the nation’s Minister of Culture, the first time in the country’s history a Jew has achieved a Cabinet-level post, the World Jewish Congress reported Tuesday.
The appointment of Gamus is engendering particular enthusiasm within the Jewish community, not only because it represents a further example of the growing participation of Jews in Latin American public life, but also because of her widely-known identification with the country’s Jewish communal activities.
Gamus was formerly executive director of the Confederacion de Asociaciones Israelitas de Venezuela, the central representative body of Venezuelan Jewry and the WJC affiliate here. She is presently a member of the Committee for the Rights of Soviet Jews.
Within Latin American the Venezuelan Jewish community is recognized for its institutional solidarity and for being the only Jewish community on the continent which has grown in the last several decades. Current estimates place the Jewish population at 25,000.
Gamus has had a spectacular political career serving as a member of Parliament and Vice Minister before being appointed Minister by President Jaime Lusinchi, of whose party, Accion Democratica, she is an active member.