To the Editor:
The July 27 editorial, "A lingering malignancy" lists many factors contributing to the blatant human rights and other abuses taking place in Venezuela under Hugo Chavez, including his government's maneuvers to consolidate power and stifle freedom of speech. Adding to your catalog of troubling indicators of a decayed political system is blatant, government-promoted anti-Semitism.
Conspiratorial anti-Semitism has flourished in Venezuela under Chavez in the official media and in remarks from various government officials. Most recently, the opposition candidate Henrique Capriles Radonski, a devout Catholic with Jewish ancestry, has been demonized in the government-controlled media as being part of an "international Zionist cabal" looking to exploit Venezuela's resources and take control of its government and people.
Moreover, President Chavez openly expresses support for the Iranian regime and its president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, hosting official delegations from Iran and ignoring international agreements to sanction Iran for its nuclear program.
The Chavez government's promotion of anti-Semitism and close connections to an extremist anti-American and anti-Israel regime are all the more reason for the United States to take a more proactive role in trying to encourage democracy in Venezuela.
The Anti-Defamation League