Wednesday, April 20, 2011

There is no Doubt: There is Terrorism all over Latin America

 Sadly, for Latin America rumors have become truths. Terrorism exists in Latin America. Reports from different sources validate, the fact, that various suspicions are no longer speculations but reality. Terrorism is in countries like Nicaragua, Honduras, Brazil, Argentina, Paraguay, Bolivia, Ecuador and Venezuela.  

 Jaime Daremblum, of the Hudson Institute, Washington, D.C., and Costa Rica’s former ambassador to the United States, confirms that terrorist cells are working in Brazil, Argentina, and Paraguay. Daremblum says that terrorism has been present in Argentina since the attacks perpetrated by Hezbollah in the 1990’s. The former diplomat also explains that Iran’s influence in Latin America is so powerful that Iranians are not required a Visa to enter Venezuela. In his article that appears in the Hudson Institute website titled “Al Qaeda in Brazil?” Daremblum says:

“Terrorists have long found haven in South America's so-called Triple Frontier, which encompasses the intersection of Brazil, Argentina, and Paraguay. This area is known for being a Wild West of lawlessness, drug trafficking, and organized crime. Argentina is especially sensitive to increased terrorist activity in the region. During the 1990s, it suffered two deadly bombings orchestrated by Hezbollah and Iran. The first (in 1992) destroyed the Israeli embassy in Buenos Aires; the second (in 1994) demolished a Jewish community center in the same city.

 Furthermore, the Ecuadorian newspaper El Comercio reports the existence of terrorist cells in Quito and other cities in the country. Ecuadorian police captured a few people from the Middle East due to their participation in drug trafficking. Six of the detainees were extradited to the United States because their red profiles under the FBI database. The article titled “Celulas del Terrorismo Circulan por el Ecuador,” says:

“El nombre de Ahmed A., uno de los aprehendidos por los agentes, coincide con otro que aparece en los archivos del FBI por vínculos con Osama bin Laden, líder de la organización Al Qaeda.
(The name A. Ahmed, one of those arrested by the agents, similar and matches to another, which is on file with the FBI for ties to Osama bin Laden, leader of Al Qaeda.)    

 Wilson Toainga, a former public prosecutor, who investigated the case of a terrorist cell in Ecuador in 2005, has explicitly acknowledged the presence of cells in Ecuador. Toainga expresses concern not only about terrorism but also organized crime.

 Additionally, Honduras has reinforced security around various foreign embassies. According to a report, Oscar Alvarez, Honduras’ Security Minister, expresses his concern about possible terrorist attacks. Alvarez says that these acts of terrorism would be plotted by Al Qaeda and carried out by Hondurans. Here an excerpt from the article that appears on CBS’ website:

We are facing a state of preventative national alert, because our intelligence services report that al Qaeda foreigners have made offers for Hondurans to carry out sabotage both here and abroad”

 These three reports from various sources show that terrorism is present in Latin America. There is no doubt about it now. Moreover, it is not terrorism a danger to Latin America but also drug trafficking and organized crime. The question should be: When are these cells going to be operational?  And, whether any action can be taken in order to prevent attacks from extremists and fanatics or just wait and deal with the pain of terrorist acts.

More Info: Updates 7/21/11
Is Ecuador Becoming the 'UN of Crime'?

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Get the Hell Out!

The Ecuadorian government has declared “Persona non grata” to the United States Ambassador, Heather Dodges. Ricardo Patiño, Ecuador’s Foreign Minister, asked Hodges to leave Ecuador as soon as possible due to a WIKILEAKS cable where the Ambassador alleged police corruption, which was known by Ecuador’s government (FOXNEWS)

Patiño requested Hodges to leave after she did not provide the explanation Patiño looked for. Ecuador’s Foreign Minister was unsatisfied with Hodges’ explanation. Hodges said that the information was stolen from the United States Government. Therefore, she had nothing to explain to Ecuadorian authorities. The cable leak first appeared in the Spanish newspaper El País.

Whether Heather Hodges sent a cable or not. Ecuador’s government has no support to base diplomatic decisions of expelling a foreign diplomat on those grounds. Ecuador’s government is not only battling domestic disagreement with Rafael Correa’s administration but also foreign. What is next?

Monday, April 4, 2011

Is Hugo Chavez a Terrorist?

Hugo Chavez, Venezuela’s President, has established an anti-American agenda since he became president. It is not a surprise to some people to read articles like the ones posted on America’s Forum web site. However, the implications for Latin America exposed in the articles linked bellow are real and dangerous.

According to the articles, Hugo Chavez hosted a terrorist summit in Venezuela’s Military Intelligence Fort Tiuna in Caracas back in August 2010. The meeting had representatives from Hamas, Hezbollah, and Palestinian Islamic Jihad. Chavez has become the perfect seed that terrorism needs to spread its radical ideas.

Chavez’ influence in countries like Bolivia, Nicaragua, Ecuador, etc., is an asset to terrorists’ cells. In Ecuador, terrorists have a different incentive to promote their fight against the western hemisphere. Ecuador uses the United States Dollar as currency. Money laundering in dollars is an advantageous tool for terrorism to finance its operations. The Financial Action Task Force’s (FATF) 2010 report shows that in Ecuador money laundering takes place at an alarming rate. 

As America’s Forum article, “Chavez Hosts Terrorist Summit in Venezuela” reads the following:

"We assume that they are virtually present in all Latin American countries, and these people have the determination to attack America… We believe this is the kind of things that would be discussed at the summit, their ability to take their fight to the Western Hemisphere.''

Two questions come to mind:

1)How far will Chavez go to execute his anti-American agenda?

2)Which countries in Latin America are following Venezuela’s lead and opening up their borders to terrorists?