Wiesenthal Center slams 'solidarity' with Gaddafi

Center's Latin American rep. slams Nicaragua, Cuba, Venezuela for failing to condemn Libya's violent crackdown on popular uprising.

Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega with Muammar Gaddafi 311  (photo credit: AP)
Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega with Muammar Gaddafi 311
(photo credit: AP)
CARACAS, Venezuela — Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi's allies in Latin America should follow Peru's example and suspend diplomatic relations with the North African nation's regime, the representative of a leading Jewish organization said Friday.
Sergio Widder, the Latin American representative of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, strongly criticized the governments of Nicaragua, Cuba and Venezuela for failing to condemn Gaddafi's violent crackdown on a popular uprising.
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"Solidarity with a dictator who has been in power for more than four decades and is massacring his own people is shameful and criminal," Widder said in a statement. "We welcome the decision by Peru's president, Alan Garcia, to break off relations with the Libyan regime."
"It's an offense for the victims of Latin American dictatorships," Widder added.
Peru's government announced this week that it was suspending diplomatic relations with Libya to protest the violence unleashed by Gaddafi.
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Peru's government announced in a statement that it would also ask the UN Security Council to establish an exclusion zone in Libyan airspace "to prevent the use of that country's warplanes against (its) population."
Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega offered support for Gaddafi, saying he had telephoned to express solidarity. Former Cuban leader Fidel Castro said the unrest may be a pretext for an invasion of Libya by members of North Atlantic Treaty Organization — a step that NATO has ruled out.
Venezuela's Hugo Chavez has neither condemned nor defended Gaddafi's crackdown, but his failure to take a stand has prompted strong criticism from his political opponents at home.
In a Twitter message Thursday, Chavez said: "Viva Libya and its independence! Gaddafi is facing a civil war."
It was the first time that Chavez has publicly referred to the violence in Libya.