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- Hezbollah’s presence in Latin America isgrowing with the support of the Chávez regime in #Venezuela
- Rabbani wanted by Argentina & is the object of an Interpol “red notice,” though he travels periodically to the region
- If our government & responsible partners in Latin America fail to act, I believe there will be an attack on the Americas
Mr. Chairman, members of the subcommittee, I very much appreciate this opportunity to testify before you today. I would also like to thank you and the Committee for your leadership on this very important issue that, quite frankly, does not get the attention it deserves among the many competing foreign threats and policy priorities.
It is well known that Hezbollah acts as a proxy for Iran--specifically, of the Qods Force of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps. These determined and deadly enemies of the United States have made substantial progress in the last six years to expand their influence and operations in Latin America. Their expanding activities are the result of a conscious, offensive strategy to carry their fight to our doorstep, which receives indispensable support from the regime of Venezuelan leader Hugo Chávez.
Our research--from open sources, subject-matter experts, and sensitive sources within various governments--has identified at least two parallel terrorist networks growing at an alarming rate in Latin America. One is operated by Hezbollah, aided by its collaborators, and another is managed by a cadre of notorious Qods operatives. These networks cooperate to carry out fundraising, money-laundering schemes, narcotics smuggling, proselytization, recruitment, and training. We can identify more than 80 operatives in at least 12 countries throughout the region (with the greatest areas of concern being Brazil, Venezuela, and the Southern Cone).
Roger Noriega is a visiting scholar at AEI.