B’nai B’rith raps Chavez over free speech limits


NEW YORK (JTA) — B’nai B’rith International lashed out at Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez for imposing restrictions on free speech in his country.

Officials of the Jewish rights organization said the leftist politician’s recent order to close dozens of independent radio and television stations and reassign their frequencies to his supporters was an "outrage."

"This is an unacceptable assault on free speech,” said B’nai B’rith President Moishe Smith. “We are greatly disappointed that more international watchdogs, such as the Organization of American States, have not condemned Venezuela’s latest attack on Democracy. The international community should hold the Caracas government accountable for shredding the last line of defense against a dictatorship.”

Since being elected in 2000, Chavez has become the unofficial leader of a leftist resurgence throughout Latin America, leading a fervently anti-U.S. agenda. Last year Chavez cut diplomatic ties with Israel following its operation against Hamas in Gaza.

B’nai B’rith has a long-standing, strong presence throughout Latin America.

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