Former Pink Floyd bassist Roger Waters announced in a June 15 Facebook post that he received a gift from Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro and he was “deeply moved” by it.
The gift was a Venezuelan cuatro, which is a guitar with four nylon strings. Maduro’s signature was on the back of the instrument, where he wrote that his gift was out of “affection” for Waters.
“Thank you President Maduro for your kind gift and message,” Waters wrote. “I shall continue to support the people of Venezuela, and continue to oppose U.S. interference in your country, particularly the illegal and inhumane monetary sanctions that seek to make life intolerable for your people.”
Maduro is currently embattled with claims that his presidency is illegitimate. He has claimed that the opposition to him is the result of a “Zionist” conspiracy; Maduro’s supporters have similarly said that the Venezuelan opposition is doing Israel’s bidding, according to the Anti-Defamation League (ADL).
“Many government statements have crossed the line into anti-Semitism,” the ADL wrote on the matter. “In addition, Hezbollah’s documented presence in the region is deeply concerning, especially since their terrorist activities twice struck Argentina in the 1990s.”
The ADL also noted that the Jewish population in Venezuela “has declined markedly in the past two decades. The Chavez/Maduro governments have been overtly anti-Israel, pro-Iran and Syria, and used the Palestinian cause as a propaganda tool to advance their foreign policy agenda.”
Human Rights Watch has documented the Maduro regime’s efforts to detain political opponents and journalists while cracking down those protesting his regime.
“In two crackdowns in 2014 and 2017, Venezuelan security forces and armed pro-government groups called ‘colectivos’ attacked demonstrations—some attended by tens of thousands of protesters,” Human Rights Watch notes. “Security force personnel shot demonstrators at point-blank range with riot-control munitions, brutally beat people who offered no resistance, and staged violent raids on apartment buildings.”
Waters is an avowed supporter of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel; Disturbed lead singer David Draiman called out Waters’ anti-Israel activism, pointing out that Waters’ ilk single out Israel while ignoring the “oppressive” regimes in countries like Russia and China.
“It’s just Israel that gets this treatment, and I think we all know the reason behind that,” Draiman said in a May 30 Facebook video. “There’s a special hatred that exists for the Jewish people in this world and it unfortunately can’t be explained. It’s something that has lasted and has been deep-seated for centuries and that’s part of our burden as a people, unfortunately.”