Ayatollahs Cast Growing Shadow in Latin America

[Atlanta Journal Constitution] Roman D. Ortiz - Tehran employs a combination of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and the Lebanese terrorist group Hizbullah in its covert operations. The presence of both organizations in Latin America has substantially increased in recent years. For example, the IRGC is cooperating closely with Venezuelan intelligence agencies. Hizbullah has built a network of relations with Venezuelan citizens, making Caracas Hizbullah's gateway into Latin America. The U.S. Treasury Department says a Venezuelan diplomat accredited in Beirut, Ghazi Nasr al Din, provided support to Hizbullah, including help with setting up its fund-raising apparatus in Latin America. Hizbullah's presence has been detected behind the proliferation of Shiite mosques in Ecuador. Hizbullah has been involved in contraband drugs in Colombia and in illegal immigrant traffic in Mexico. It is also expanding its presence in the region via proxies such as "Hizbullah Argentina" and "Hizbullah Venezuela." The writer is a professor at the School of Economy at Los Andes University in Bogota, Columbia.

2009-09-10 08:00:00

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