Foreign Affairs Minister Avigdor Lieberman accused Venezuela’s President Hugo Chavez of cooperating with Islamic extremists and anti-Semites. “Israel had a bad experience when attacks occurred in Buenos Aires. Today we see the closeness between Chavez and the Iranians, and of course we want to prevent further attacks against Israelis. I will not talk about intelligence information, but we have enough to worry about the collaboration between the branches of radical Islam and Hugo Chavez,” Lieberman stated in an interview published in Friday's Bogota-based newspaper, El Tiempo. Responding to Chavez’s statement that the U.S. has turned Columbia into a Latin American version of Israel, Lieberman commented that Chavez’s comments were xenophobic, anti-Semitic, and anti-Israeli. “It is not a new phenomenon. I regret that in the 21st century after the Holocaust, terrorism against the people of Israel and the continued use of this anti-Semitic language still exists,” Lieberman said.
The interview summed-up the Foreign Affairs Minister’s ten-day visit to Argentina, Brazil, Peru, and Columbia. Venezuela’s Foreign Ministry severely criticized Lieberman’s statements.