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Dimitri Lascaris (L) says that U of O communications professor Isaac Nahon-Serfaty (R) interrupted his speaking event on March 23. Photo: via Twitter.

Nahon-Serfaty accused of disruptive behaviour at anti-intervention event

A dispute emerged late March between a University of Ottawa communications professor and an activist, journalist and former lawyer over the political crisis in Venezuela.

On March 23, Dimitri Lascaris, a Green Party candidate and journalist, was giving a public talk in Ottawa on a recent trip he had taken to Venezuela. At the event, Lascaris spoke against Western intervention in Venezuela, and claimed the international critiques of Venezuelan leader Nicolas Maduro, and the media coverage of the Venezuelan crisis, were “imbalanced.”

Isaac Nahon-Serfaty, a U of O communications professor who does not support the Maduro government, was present at the talk and has been disputing Lascaris’ portrayal of the Venezuelan crisis. After the event, Nahon-Serfaty published a blog post in which he alleged that Lascaris’ presentation was biased, and claimed that Lascaris is “an agent of Maduro’s propaganda.”

Nahon-Serfaty is originally Venezuelan, and says he has spent most of his life in the capital of Caracas.

Lascaris subsequently published a blog post of his own in which he accused Nahon-Serfaty of interrupting his event, and said the latter “had to be restrained” from rushing against an audience member during a question and answer period.

The two men have continued their disagreement over Twitter in the subsequent days.

Venezuela has been in a socioeconomic crisis for years, but recently plunged into political dilemma after two men from opposing parties have made separate claims to the presidency. Maduro, the incumbent and successor of Hugo Chàvez, is recognized as president by Bolivia, Russia, China, and several other countries.

Almost virtually all western nations, including Brazil, Canada, the United States, and the United Kingdom, support Juan Guaidó, who was declared president by the Venezuelan National Assembly after that body found Maduro’s 2018 election victory invalid.