News of the WeekVenezuela

Dismissal of Senior Scientist for ‘Nonattendance’ Shakes Community

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Science  04 Sep 2009:
Vol. 325, Issue 5945, pp. 1190-1191
DOI: 10.1126/science.325_1190a

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The dismissal of a top Venezuelan scientist from a government research institute and threats to dismantle one of its most successful programs have revived accusations that the government of President Hugo Chávez is engaging in political persecution. Reinaldo Di Polo, a physiologist with more than 40 years' experience and over 4000 bibliographic citations, learned at the end of July that he was to be removed from his post at the Venezuelan Institute for Scientific Research (IVIC), the country's premier science agency, on the grounds of "nonattendance" on unspecified dates between January and June of this year. In statements to the press, IVIC Director Ángel Viloria described the matter as "purely administrative" and accused the press of politicizing it.