"There is no anti-Semitism in Venezuela, we don't know what that is," declared Bernardo Alvarez, the Venezuelan ambassador to the United States, in his recent two-day trip to Los Angeles to discuss his country's Bolivarian Revolution and the changing political landscape of Latin America.
None of the 1,500 children at a Jewish day school in Caracas will forget drop-off on the morning of Nov. 29. On that morning last week, 25 government investigators, some of them armed and hooded, intercepted busloads of kids and turned them away.
The spectacular growth of the Latino population in the United States has brought about a boom in Spanish-language media.
These are sad days for the Jewish community in Venezuela as many begin to question whether this country, once so hospitable to Jewish life, can still be called home.
As the country faces nearly its sixth week of a devastating strike calling for early elections or the resignation of President Hugo Chávez, Venzuela's economy, already set to shrink by 6 percent this year, has been hurled into utter chaos. Poverty levels are estimated at 80 percent -- a tragedy for one of the wealthiest and most stable countries in Latin America.