by Ben Cohen
Like one of those telenovelas that are so popular on Latin American television stations, the slow yet inexorable deterioration of Venezuela’s President, Hugo Chavez, has been soaked in drama and cloying sentimentality.
For almost two years, Chavez has been fighting cancer. And for most of that time, he has been claiming—falsely—to have been cured. But less than two months after winning a fourth term in last October’s election, Chavez was spirited back to Cuba, where Fidel Castro’s doctors have been treating him...
Moreover, even after he is buried, Chavez’s figure will loom large in the political life of Venezuela. Should Henrique Capriles challenge Chavez’s successor, it is probable, according to Sammy Eppel, director of the Human Rights Commission of B’nai B’rith Venezuela, that the “shocking anti-Semitic” caricatures used against him last year will emerge again.
As for Chavez himself, Eppel does not hold back. “Chavez will probably be remembered as the one who made Venezuelan Jews feel that for the first time they were not welcome in their own country, a chilling reminder of past tragedies,” he told me in an email...more.
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