Venezuela 'spying' on Jewish community

By Ray Filar, February 5, 2013

The Venezuelan intelligence agency SEBIN is spying on the country's Jewish community, according to 50 leaked papers published last week.

Marked "Secreto", the documents hold information on local Jewish organisations, notable Venezuelan Jews and groups with links to Israel.

Reports suggest that the papers contain the personal details of those under surveillance, including office photos, home addresses, passport numbers and travel itineraries.

Espacio Anna Frank, a group which describes itself as "a meeting place for the arts, culture and education", is attacked by the secret service papers as an Israeli front for "far-right wing Zionists".

The New York-based Anti-Defamation League said that the papers also contained "the official passport information" of a Holocaust remembrance organisation, "including all entry and exits from the country and where the members travelled."

Right-wing Argentinian website Analisis24, which published the papers, has attributed them to the Venezuelan secret service.

Abraham Foxman, executive director of the Anti-Defamation League, said that Venezuela, under the rule of Hugo Chavez, had a history of harassing its Jewish community.

Mr Foxman described the "incendiary atmosphere" in a country where Jews have been publicly "accused of disloyalty" and where "the community's institutions and houses of worship have been attacked.

"Reports of this kind of surveillance add fuel to an already incendiary atmosphere inciting prejudice and hate," he added.

Last updated: 11:36am, February 5 2013