Uruguay‘s Minister of Economy and Finance Danilo Astori shared his political perspectives with nearly 300 B’nai B’rith International (BBI) members and supporters on August 7, 2007 at the latest installment of B’nai B’rith District 28’s prestigious luncheon series.
Due to a scheduled visit in Montevideo that same day, much of the luncheon’s content focused on Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez and his relationship with the Jewish community throughout Latin America. The members of BBI District 28 hail from Uruguay and Paraguay, and are concerned with Chavez’s growing influence.
Following the luncheon, the two largest television stations in Uruguay interviewed BBI Director of Latin American Affairs Eduardo Kohn about the regional Jewish perspective on Chavez’s politics.
He said, “Iran says that Israel must be wiped off the map; denies the Holocaust; hosts a conference on Holocaust denial; sponsored and perpetrated the two monstrous bombings against the Israeli Embassy and AMIA in Argentina. Venezuela says that Iran is its ally and brother. Such alliances must be a matter of concern for the entire region.”
In the wake of President Hugo Chavez’s August 6, 2007 visit to Argentina, B’nai B’rith Argentina issued a press release asking the Venezuelan leader to join Argentina in seeking justice for the 1994 AMIA (Argentine Israelite Mutual Association) bombings.
Though the AMIA case has yet to be fully resolved, Iran has been identified by the Argentine government as the most likely perpetrator of the attacks. During his recent visit, B’nai B’rith Argentina called on Chavez to use his ties to the Iranian regime to bring a resolution to the investigation by eliminating judicial barriers associated with the investigation. The statement went on to say that Chavez should reassert Israel’s right to exist and urge Iran to cease its engagement in Holocaust denial.