The Bolivian Jewish community has expressed concern over the coming visit this Tuesday of Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadineyad who is scheduled to meet with his Bolivian peer Evo Morales, as part of a several days visit to South America and Africa.
Ricardo Udler, president of the Israelite Circle of Bolivia said that the announcement of Ahmadinevad’s second visit to Bolivia was received with “a very high feeling of concern and anxiety” given the Iranian leader’s latest statements before the United Nations denying the Holocaust.
Udler also recalled that the Iranian president has promised “to make disappear Israel from the world map and have its citizens returned to Europe or to the sea”.
“Knowing as it is public that he comes from a country that is determined to the enrichment of uranium and an arms race, of course we are very much concerned, who wouldn’t be? And this not only involves the state of Israel, but all nations of the world should be concerned”, added Udler.
Ahmadineyad is scheduled to arrive in La Paz, from Brazil, 08.00 in the morning and will then head for Government House to meet with President Evo Morales.
Following the signing of several bilateral agreements, much of which has not been informed, the two leaders will head for El Alto for the official inauguration of an infrastructure project financed by Teheran.
In the evening the Iranian delegation will be leaving for Caracas, Venezuela, the final leg of his South American tour.
Udler said that in spite of concerns over the visit of the Iranian president, the Jewish community recognizes Bolivia’s right to make business with all countries and hold bilateral relations with all those that imply a benefit for the country (Bolivia). Therefore “we will not organize public demonstrations on Tuesday during the visit”.
According to the Israelite Circle census the Jewish community in Bolivia has an estimated 800 members who live mostly in La Paz, Cochabamba and Santa Cruz.
Most of the community is fourth generation descendent from emigrants that arrived in Bolivia before the beginning of the Second World War in the 1930ties.
Last January Bolivia broke diplomatic relations with Israel because of the Gaza conflict and the Israeli offensive at the end of 2008 when over a thousand civilians were killed.
Meanwhile relations between Iran and Bolivia began consolidating during Ahmedinayev’s first visit to Bolivia in September 2007, under the auspices of Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez.
That year the two presidents, united in their condemnation of the US, signed a 1.1 billion US dollars five-year cooperation agreement.
Almost a year later Morales visited Teheran when both leaders sealed their commitment to fight “against any form of imperialism”.