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Chavez Campaign Takes On Anti-Semitic Undertones

EL MUNDO, EL UNIVERSAL (Venezuala) LA NACION ( Argentina)


CARACAS - Hugo Chavez is not known for mincing words.

But recently, the Venezuelan President has unleashed highly personal attacks against Henrique Capriles Radonski, his opponent in Chavez's reelection campaign, including some with anti-Semitic undertones.

Last week, he called Capriles Radonski ‘jalabola’ and ‘majunche,’ rude terms for someone who is a mediocre flatterer without personality, El Mundo reported. But in recent weeks, he has also called Capriles Radonski “stateless,” “an imperialist” and “bourgeois”, while referring to himself as the candidate of the Fatherland.

That would all be just more of the same Chavez bluster, but his latest vitriol is drawing particular attention because it seems to be at least partly motivated by anti-Semitism - Capriles Radonski is a practicing and devout Catholic, but has Jewish ancestry.

His charge that Capriles is “stateless,” and “imperialist,” both accusations that have been used against Jews in the past. Right after Capriles Radonski’s nomination, a column was published on the website of the state-controlled radio station, titled “The Enemy is Zionism,” which argued that Capriles Radonski should be disqualified from running for president because of his Jewish ancestry, El Universal reported.

The column immediately provoked requests from Latin America Jewish organizations to avoid anti-Semitic tones in the campaign.

Chavez has a long history of anti-Semitism. He has made speeches saying that some minority groups had amassed more than their share of the world’s wealth, and that one such group was “Christ’s killers,” La Nacion reported. The state-controlled media has also been frequently used to make anti-Semitic and anti-Zionist arguments.

Capriles Radonski’s grandparents on his mother’s side were Jews who fled Europe during World War II. His father is Catholic, but descended from Sephardic Jews who arrived in Venezuela in the 1850s. “My grandmother was in the Warsaw Ghetto for 20 months, in a basement to avoid being killed by the Nazis. And there are government officials who call me a Nazi,” Capriles Radonski told El Universal shortly after his nomination, in response to attacks from the state media.

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A Naturalist's Defense Of The Modern Zoo

Zoos are often associated with animal cruelty, or at the very least a general animal unhappiness. But on everything from research to education to biodiversity, there is a case to be made for the modern zoo.

Photograph of a brown monkey holding onto a wired fence

A brown monkey hangs off of mesh wire

Marina Chocobar/Pexels
Fran Sánchez Becerril


MADRID — Zoos — or at least something resembling the traditional idea of a zoo — date back to ancient Mesopotamia. It was around 3,500 BC when Babylonian kings housed wild animals such as lions and birds of prey in beautiful structures known as the Hanging Gardens of Babylon.

Ancient China also played a significant role in the history of zoos when the Tang Dynasty (618-907 AD) created several parks which hosted an assortment of animals.

In Europe, it wouldn't be until 1664 when Louis XIV inaugurated the royal menagerie at Versailles. All these spaces shared the mission of showcasing the wealth and power of the ruler, or simply served as decorations. Furthermore, none of them were open to the general public; only a few fortunate individuals, usually the upper classes, had access.

The first modern zoo, conceived for educational purposes in Vienna, opened in 1765. Over time, the educational mission has become more prominent, as the exhibition of exotic animals has been complemented with scientific studies, conservation and the protection of threatened species.

For decades, zoos have been places of leisure, wonder, and discovery for both the young and the old. Despite their past success, in recent years, society's view of zoos has been changing due to increased awareness of animal welfare, shifting sensibilities and the possibility of learning about wild animals through screens. So, many people wonder: What is the purpose of a zoo in the 21st century?

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