Since Hugo Chavez took power, antisemitic expression has grown exponentially: in government media; in the dissemination of the Protocols of Zion; in the accusation that "Semitic banks" are sabotaging the economy; in the fact that the Caracas Jewish school was raided twice by armed forces "searching for Mossad-supplied arms caches"; in the desecration of two synagogues; and in the closing of the Israeli Embassy. The Venezuelan ambassador to Moscow even alleged that Jewish citizens implicated in a 2002 anti-Chavez coup were "Mossad agents".
The origins of Mr Chavez's attitude can be traced to the influence wielded over him by his Argentine, pro-Nazi, Holocaust-denying school companion, the late Norberto Ceresole, who - in his 1998 book on Mr Chavez's election victory - warned of the Venezuelan "Jewish mafia".
Mr Chavez is undoubtedly obsessed with a world Jewish conspiracy represented by the less than 12,000 Jews remaining in Venezuela. They are becoming the scapegoat for his dysfunctional administration and the economic crisis that is engulfing a country blessed with oil, coffee and sugar.
One third of the Jewish community has fled, fearing Soviet-style state antisemitism. Indeed, such a policy has all the appearances of having already begun.
A pro-Chavez television show named Venezuelan Jewish leaders as anti-Venezuelan conspirators, and called on other Jews "not involved in the conspiracy" to publicly denounce their coreligionists. A Chavista newspaper editorial questioned whether "we will have to expel them from our country… as other nations have done."
I've previously blogged on emergent anti-Semitism in Venezuela here, here, and here. The world is beginning to take notice.