Venezuelan envoy visits Holocaust museum

Venezuela’s ambassador to Argentina visited a Holocaust museum in Buenos Aires.

Arevalo Mendez Romero was accompanied Monday by officials of the Latin American Jewish Congress.

"The Jewish community in South America, especially the one in Buenos Aires, appreciates it as an encouraging sign that the Venezuelan Government sees fit to acknowledge the tragedy of the Holocaust," Jack Terpins, president of the Latin American Jewish Congress, said in a statement.

The meeting continues efforts by the World Jewish Congress to promote closer ties with the Venezuelan regime. In August, officials met with President Hugo Chavez, a left-wing foe of the United States who has developed a close relationship with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Chavez also was accused of making an anti-Semitic remark in 2006.

Under his rule, Venezuela’s Jewish population has declined by about a quarter, according to the WJC.

At the meeting, which the WJC called reassuring, Chavez promised to convene a meeting with other Latin American leaders to condemn anti-Semitism.

“Following our visit to Caracas in August," WJC Secretary-General Michael Schneider said this week, "it is gratifying to see this sign of recognition by the Venezuelan government of the dark tragedy that befell the Jewish people, something that President Hugo Chavez himself acknowledged during our meeting with him. We are hoping that this will be followed by a joint statement together with Presidents Kirchner of Argentina and Lula da Silva of Brazil condemning all forms of racism and anti-Semitism.”

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