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Identifier
Created
Classification
Origin
04CARACAS3704
2004-12-01 12:41:00
CONFIDENTIAL
Embassy Caracas
Cable title:  

VENEZUELAN POLICE RAID HEBREW CULTURAL CENTER

Tags:  PHUM KJUS KIRF VE 
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This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
						C O N F I D E N T I A L  CARACAS 003704 

SIPDIS


NSC FOR CBARTON
USCINCSO ALSO FOR POLAD

E.O. 12958: DECL: 05/25/2014
TAGS: PHUM KJUS KIRF VE
SUBJECT: VENEZUELAN POLICE RAID HEBREW CULTURAL CENTER

Classified By: POLITICAL COUNSELOR ABELARDO A. ARIAS FOR REASONS 1.4 (d
)

-------
Summary
-------



1. (U) Venezuelan police investigating the killing of
prosecutor Danilo Anderson searched the Hebrew Club in
Caracas November 29 for three hours. The search, which began
at 6:30 a.m. and disrupted the arrival of 1,500 students to
the school on the premises, turned up no evidence or weapons.
Leaders of the Jewish community in Venezuela expressed
outrage at the timing of the search, and questioned whether
further actions could be expected. GOV officials said they
searched the Caracas Jewish community's principal cultural
facility because they had reports of weapons on the grounds.
Newspaper reports suggested that rumors of Israeli
involvement in the Anderson assassination might be behind the
search. End Summary



--------------------------


Unsuccessful Search


--------------------------





2. (U) Members of Venezuela's Investigative Police (CICPC)
carried out a search order issued by Control Judge Maikel
Moreno for the installations of the Hebrew Club in Caracas
November 29. The Hebrew Club contains a school, cultural
center, and sports facilities. Judge Moreno is responsible
for the investigation of the car bomb assassination of Danilo
Anderson, Venezuela's most visible and controversial
prosecutor, on November 18. The officers arrived at 6:30 am
and left at 9:30 am. According to a statement released by
the Confederation of Israeli Associations of Venezuela
(CAIV), the official report the officers filled out after the
search stated that no evidence or weapons were found.
Minister of Interior and Justice Jesse Chacon told reporters
he did not know the exact reason for the search, but that it
could be related to reports of weapons being hidden at
various installations around Caracas. Police have searched
various businesses and homes linked to the case.



--------------------------


Reactions


--------------------------





3. (C) David Slimak, President of the CAIV, told PolOff
November 30 that the search had been conducted at the worst
possible time, just as 1,500 students were arriving at the
school housed within the Club. He said he did not know if
this was a mistake, or intentional. Slimak said members of
the Jewish community were extremely upset to find the school
closed and a police operation underway as they brought their
children to school. He said the parents feared there was a
omb threat or an attack had taken place. He claime that it
was more upsetting to him that the searh implied that the
Jewish community was somehow implicated in the Anderson
attack, than if there hd been a bomb threat. Slimak observed
that the oficers were polite, and behaved professionally
troughout the search.



4. (U) The head Rabbi ofthe Jewish community in Venezuela,
Pinchas Brener, released a press statement in which he
expresse his "consternation" and "horror" at the search,
pointing out that itwas unheard of throughout theworld to
search a school. He asked how anyone cold think that the
Jewish community was involved i the assassination of
Anderson, and defended theapolitical nature of the Jewish
community, thoug individuals might be politically active. He
endd the statement by saying, "We hope that this is nt the
beginning of a greater action; if this is tday, we do not
know what tomorrow will bring."



--------------------------


Israeli Angle?


--------------------------





5. (U) The daily newspaper El Nacional November 30
suggested that the raid traced back to the comments of
Venezuelan satirist Orlando Urdaneta in an interview on Miami
television on November 23. According to the newspaper he
suggested that an Israeli commando would be the best way to
kill President Chavez. (Note: In fact, Urdaneta's comments
were more elliptical, and in response to a question about
dictators such as Fidel Castro.) Tupamaro leader Jose Pinto

then reportedly warned that Mossad agents were active in the
group that killed Anderson. On November 24 the Israeli
Embassy in Caracas released a statement categorically denying
any Israeli role in the assassination, and warning that such
statements could confuse people.



--------------------------


Comment


--------------------------





6. (C) Venezuelan police have conducted various raids since
the death of Anderson. We do not know if there was any
genuine investigative reason for this or other searches.
There may be some fear among Chavistas of Israeli involvement
in Anderson's murder, which led them "logically" to the
Hebrew Club. Rumors quickly circulated, for example, linking
the incident to President Hugo Chavez's visit to Iran, and
the "possibility" that the Iranians warned the President of
Mossad's alleged capabilities and links to the U.S. The
timing of the raid could also be a product of police
incompetence and indifference to public convenience. Post
will continue to monitor the situation, alert to any
indications of anti-Semitism.


Brownfield


NNNN
2004CARACA03704 - CONFIDENTIAL