Caracas (Venezuela): Muammar Gaddafi’s allies in Latin America should follow Peru's example and suspend diplomatic relations with the North African nation's regime, the representative of a leading Jewish organisation said.

Sergio Widder, the Latin American representative of the Simon Wiesenthal Centre, strongly criticised the governments of Nicaragua, Cuba and Venezuela for failing to condemn Gaddafi's violent crackdown on a popular uprising.

"Solidarity with a dictator who has been in power for more than four decades and is massacring his own people is shameful and criminal," Widder said in a statement.

Peru's government announced this week that it was suspending diplomatic relations with Libya to protest the violence unleashed by Gaddafi. It would also ask the UN Security Council to establish an exclusion zone in Libyan airspace to prevent the use of that country's warplanes against (its) population.

Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega offered support for Gaddafi. Former Cuban leader Fidel Castro said the unrest may be a pretext for an invasion of Libya by members of North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, a step that NATO has ruled out.

Venezuela's Hugo Chavez has neither condemned nor defended Gaddafi's crackdown, but his failure to take a stand has prompted strong criticism from his political opponents at home.