By Stephen E. Lipken
Liat Altman, Director of Latin American Affairs for the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) in New York City, appeared at the Jewish Community Center (JCC) Mid-Westchester on Thursday, April 4th, discussing “Latina and Jewish—A Personal Perspective.” A Westchester resident, Altman is in charge of combatting anti-Semitism in Latin America for ADL.
Altman, former Mid-Westchester JCC Director of Arts and Talks, disseminated two topics: 1) Anti-Semitism in Latin America and how it affects Jews in the United States and worldwide; 2) What is going on in Venezuela?
“There was a two-party system in Venezuela, pretty much Republicans and Democrats before Hugo Chavez was elected in 1999,” Altman began. “There, 10% of the population holds 90% of the riches. The population is largely uneducated, in poverty with few resources. There was a middle-class immigrant population from all over, attracted by the oil riches.
“Chavez came to power with an agenda of socialism. His brand of socialism was manipulative.
“One of the first things he did was to change their Constitution from requiring a new government every four years, now creating automatic elections and no term limits. He admired Fidel Castro and was very anti-American and Israel, charging that America put Israel in the Middle East, blaming the U.S. and Zionists for everything. Many Venezuelan Jews left the country.
“Opposition candidates were either disqualified, jailed or exiled. Voting is controlled by Smart Chip ID’s, exchanging votes for food. Chavez died of cancer on March 5, 2013, succeeded by Nicolas Maduro, who opposes humanitarian aid, even though children are dying of diseases eradicated elsewhere; 10% percent of the population have left the country. There is little electricity due to lack of power plant workers.”
Altman then showed a video by Venezuelan comedian Joanna Hausmann, decrying the American Left’s stand against intervention (“Hands Off Venezuela”).
“U.S. and 50 world leaders recognized National Assembly President Juan Guaido as Acting President of Venezuela since January 2019. The Venezuelan people want to live with electricity, food, schools, jobs, medicine and a vote that actually counts,” Hausmann stressed.
And it was noted that Jair Bolsonaro, the new Far-Right President of Brazil is pro-Israel.