Iran in Latin America

Several months ago I referenced a post that detailed the acceptance and safe basing of Irain covert operators in Nicaragua, and the potential pipeline that this established through our southern border, directly into the United States.

Recently broader facts have been made public, regarding the role the Hezzbolah is playing in Latin America.  The fact the Hezzbolah is a proxy organization for the Iranin theocracy has been well established.  So, this news while not surprising is alarming.

The profits from the sales of drugs went to finance Hezbollah,” said Gladys Sanchez, lead investigator for the special prosecutor’s office in Bogota, in an interview. “This is an example of how narco-trafficking is a theme of interest to all criminal organizations, the FARC, the paramilitaries and terrorists.”

Ms. Sanchez is exactly right. The contours of the pipeline are easy to identify. The regime of Hugo Chavez in Venezuela has allowed Iranian banks to operate, brought in flights whose passengers are not registered, and issued multiple identification cards to Iranian and Syrian individuals.

The FARC, in Colombia, in turn, exporting some 250 tons of cocaine through Venezuela, who allows the rebels to pay off generals in charge of specific ports. Chavez has to do this, in part, to buy peace in the military, who have grown tired of his antics and his inability to fulfill his promises.

So, Iran sponsors Hezbollah and allies with Chavez. Chavez sponsors the FARC and allies with Iran. The FARC has the dope, Hezbollah has the international distribution network, having been involved in heroin traffic and organized criminal activities for years.

What is alarming to me is that, despite Hezbollah’s stated intention to attack the United States and Iran’s evident interest in having the ability to strike at the United States, this alliance (and the Chavez-Iran alliance) attract very little attention at senior policy levels.

The potential for the establishment of long term cels with in the US, or the evolution of the drug trade to the use of tactics and strategies common to the actions that we see in the middle east should be a major focus of the United States.  Whether that focus is through a continued struggle to support friendly Latin American governments, or an escalation of the “War on Drugs” or some covert middle ground is a decision for the next POTUS and his administration.

In the interim do not be surprised if nasty things start to pop out of the wood work in Central and Southern America, beyond what we already see in Mexico.

A more in depth analysis of this issue is presented by Douglas Farrah here.  The basis for the article is found in the LA TImes, here

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