Ynet is reporting that Venezuelean President Hugo Chávez's request to pay an official visit to a Chabad synagogue in Caracas was rejected by Chabad's Rabbi Moshe Perman, the chief Chabad representative in the country. Perman argued that was aimed at garnering political gains for Chávez in light of the West's revulsion for Chávez and his actions which, Ynet reports, include:
…Chávez who has been in office since 1999, allied with Saddam Hussein at the time, befriended Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Syrian President Bashar Assad, and has even paid them personal visits.
The Simon Wiesenthal Center has accused him of anti-Semitism after in one of his speeches he accused the Jews of crucifying Jesus and of holding the entire world's capital.
Since 2002, when he accused the Israeli Mossad of an attempted coup in his country, the Jewish community is fearful of his conduct.…
Ynet adds there are 25,300 Jews in Venezuela, 60% of whom are Ashkenazim and 40% Sefardim.
Rabbi Perman should be applauded for his courage.