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Chavez visit upsets Argentine Jews

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Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez’s visit to Argentina upset local Jews.

Chavez visited the country Monday and Tuesday to sign agreements to increase Argentina’s energy supplies and help refinance the country’s debts.

Chavez has close ties with Iran, which is considered responsible for the 1994 bombing of the AMIA Jewish community center in Buenos Aires. Eighty-five people were killed in the attack, and its perpetrators have never been brought to justice. Iran, whose president has called for Israel’s destruction, hosted Chavez earlier this summer.

The Venezuelan president was officially welcomed by Argentine President Nestor Kirchner and his wife, the senator and presidential candidate Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner. “This is your home; enjoy it,” Nestor Kirchner told Chavez.

Angel Schindel, vice president of Argentina’s Jewish political umbrella group, DAIA, said the “ideological penetration of fundamentalist terrorism” is a matter of deep concern.

“The question is, will the economic agreements also generate some type of political commitment?” said Sergio Widder, the Latin American representative of the Simon Wiesenthal Center.

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