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AJC: Press Venezuela to End Repressive Response to Protests

NEW YORK, Feb. 20, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- AJC called on member states of the OAS to bring maximum pressure on the Venezuelan government to end its crackdown and respond positively to the demands of its own citizens.

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"Venezuela's denial of the right of assembly, of freedom of speech and dissent, are intolerable human rights violations," said Dina Siegel Vann, Director of AJC's Latino and Latin American Institute (LLAI).

"Repression of Venezuelans, scapegoating of Jews, and other harsh practices of the late Hugo Chavez regime are, tragically for this troubled country, continuing under the present government."

Clashes between peaceful opponents of the government and police, as well as government-backed armed gangs, on the streets of Venezuela's capital city have escalated in recent days.

"The Venezuelan government's deliberate use of violence to disrupt peaceful protests is alarming and, predictably, has led to more attacks on protesters," said Siegel Vann. "We call for the release of opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez and the scores of other detained Venezuelans."

Disturbingly, in recent days, the Chavez practice of targeting the Jewish community has resurfaced. The deputy of the National Assembly, Yul Jabour, said that "international Zionism is involved in the wave of Nazi-fascist violence in Caracas." His statement was reproduced in a government newspaper and distributed by the Ministry of Communications.

AJC, an NGO member of the OAS, supports the regional group's calls for the full respect of human rights and the right to dissent.

CAIV, the umbrella organization for Venezuelan Jewry, is an AJC international partner.

SOURCE American Jewish Committee

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