The fifth penetration tactic is through drug trafficking and diverse criminal actions. No Latin American country has cataloged Hezbollah as a “terrorist organization”, so they can operate with relative impunity. Furthermore, as Venezuela has become a spring-board for the documented arrival of hundreds of Shiites, their movement throughout the continent has become quite easy. In April of 2017, an officer of Hezbollah, Mohammed Hamdar, was absolved in Peru on accusations of terrorism The court considered that his role in Hezbollah was not considered as terrorism. This legal void on Hezbollah can also explain why the links between Islamic terrorism, drug traffic and organized crime throughout the region are underestimated. “In some countries of the region, such as Venezuela, the advances of Iran and Hezbollah have been promoted by the political elites. The Venezuelan vice-president, Tarek El-Aissami, a descendant of Syrians and Lebanese, with links to Hezbollah and to cocaine traffic, supervised the illegal sale and distribution of at least 10,000 passports and other Venezuelan documents to individuals arriving from Syria, Iraq and other countries of the Middle East. Among them, there are terrorists from Hezbollah and members of the Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps. Over a decade ago, a report of the US Congress warned that “Venezuela is providing support – including supplying documents – to radical Islamist groups” affirmed Judith Bergman (Gatestone). In 2008, the US started the secret plan, “Cassandra”, to stop the activities of Hezbollah in Latin America. According to a report by Politico, the Obama administration obstructed the action, in order to maintain the good climate after the nuclear agreement with Iran. Iran has found in Latin America (thanks to countries like Venezuela and Bolivia) a way around the sanctions imposed against them.
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