Venezuela’s Juan Guaido appoints Jewish envoy to Buenos Aires

BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (JTA) — A one-time diplomat to the Latin American Jewish Congress has been appointed Venezuela’s diplomatic representative to Argentina by Juan Guaido, the self-declared interim president of Venezuela.

Israel’s ambassador in Buenos Aires, Ilan Sztulman, referred to Elisa Trotta Gamus as “ambassador” during a meeting at the embassy this week. Both expressed their desire to resume diplomatic relations between Venezuela and Israel. Those ties were interrupted in 2009 under the government of Hugo Chávez.

Trotta Gamus, 36, who is Jewish, is a lawyer, diplomat and human rights activist.

Sztulman said at the meeting that “we want to in a short period of time resume our diplomatic relations with your new and legitimate government.” Trotta Gamus agreed, saying “Hopefully we will continue working together in mutual efforts between both countries.”

Trotta Gamus is a Venezuela native who has been living in Argentina, her father’s birthplace, since 2011. She earned her law degree from the Central University of Venezuela, and has two master’s degrees from Brandeis University in suburban Boston, where she was a Fulbright scholar.

Guaido, the president of the National Assembly of Venezuela, declared himself interim president on Jan. 23 and called on President Nicolas Maduro to order new elections, saying last year’s national elections were fraudulent. Israel along with the United States and others have recognized Guaido as president. The country’s military remains loyal to Maduro, however.

Maduro last week called Guaido “a CIA agent who serves the interests of the United States and the Zionists.”