Author Topic: Hezbollah in South America  (Read 2359 times)

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Offline mayya

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Hezbollah in South America
« on: August 08, 2013, 11:15:03 AM »
Hezbollah in South America

June 25, 2013

According to several reports from intelligence services as well as testimonies of arrested businessmen and security experts, Hezbollah has an important fundraising network in the Latin American countries. This network is based on Iran's increasing diplomatic, economic, and military cooperation with the socialist Bolivarian countries (Venezuela, Bolivia, and Ecuador). But the party also has its network of donors in the large Lebanese diaspora in Colombia, Brazil, and Paraguay.

In the last decade, Iran has increased its diplomatic and economic presence in Latin America even though Tehran had no historic, cultural, or trade ties with the region. Nonetheless, it's friendship with Venezuela is based on the same "anti-imperialist" and anti-American stance, in addition to a similar military strategy adopted by both countries – Venezuela supported the socialist Revolutionary Armed Forces in Colombia (FARC) in Colombia the way Iran supported Hezbollah.

The developing economies of Latin American countries attracted many immigrants from Lebanon. South America became popular as an emigration destination around two decades ago because the process of emigration to Australia and the United States had become very difficult.
South America's Tri-Border Area (TBA) – the relatively lawless region
near the Atlantic coast where the borders of Paraguay, Argentina, and Brazil meet – has for years drawn attention as a center of contraband smuggling, drug trafficking, and large-scale money laundering, in part because all of the countries whose borders are involved profit from the illicit trade. Coincidentally, this area also has a large Lebanese Shiite business community. A 2003 study by the Federal Research Division of the Library of Congress and the Central Intelligence Agency's Crime and Narcotics Center concluded that "Hezbollah has reaped hundreds of millions of dollars from narcotics and arms trafficking, product piracy, and other illicit activities in the TBA." Several businessmen of Lebanese origin have been arrested over the years for narcotics smuggling and money laundering. Hezbollah does not hide its presence in South America. Nor do supporters of the paramilitary group hide their political views – they openly admit to donating money to Hezbollah's welfare system and military arsenal in Lebanon. But to what extent these supporters are involved in organized crime with or without the knowledge of Hezbollah's leadership in Lebanon is yet to be proven. The question, however, still remains.

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« Last Edit: August 08, 2013, 15:08:44 PM by isis »