There were instances of anti-Semitism in government-owned and government‑affiliated media, and Jewish community leaders publicly expressed concern. On January 27, the government-affiliated newspaper Diario Vea reported that “Zionist representatives say they have been in ‘solidarity’ with President Chavez, but the day of the ‘holy innocents’ is over. Is it a political coincidence that the Zionist lobby visited Miraflores [the presidential palace] at this political moment marked by the illness of President Chavez? What are the aims of the Zionist lobby?” On March 22, an article that appeared on the government-affiliated website, Aporrea, entitled, “The CIA and the Mossad killed Chavez,” alleging that Zionists had infected Chavez with a cancer-causing agent.
Prior to the April 14 presidential election, there were reports of anti-Semitic expressions with regard to opposition presidential candidate Henrique Capriles Radonski, a Catholic of Jewish ancestry. An article on Aporrea accused Israel of working to destabilize Venezuela and accused Capriles of supporting Israel’s efforts. The article asked if Capriles was a “Jew disguised as a Catholic.”
During a May 5 program on a government-owned television station, Venezolana de Television (VTV), National Assembly Deputy Jesus Cepeda commented on the “great Jewish tentacles that drive international economics.” Cepeda characterized Zionism as a political vision for “world domination and control of world commerce.” On May 20, VTV host Mario Silva blamed Zionists for the public release of an audio recording on which Silva was heard criticizing ruling party officials.
Several non-Catholic religious groups expressed concern over government inquiries into the use of their property. They stated they perceived this government interest as a potential precursor to expropriation of their lands or facilities.
Persons displaced by 2011 flooding continued to occupy Mormon chapels in Ocumare del Tuy and La Grita with government support. They continued to use the chapel in Ocumare del Tuy as a school after their relocation, and church members did not have access to the property. In October the displaced persons vacated the property in La Grita, giving church members access to their chapel.
All registered religious groups were eligible for funding to support religious social services, but most funding went to Catholic groups. The government continued to provide annual subsidies to Catholic schools and social programs that helped the poor. The government approved funding for the Catholic Church’s governing organization, the Venezuelan Episcopal Conference, at levels reduced from previous years, but did not disburse funds during the year. Other religious groups were free to establish their own schools but did not receive government subsidies.