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Hezbollah Arrests in Brazil Highlight Decades-Long Iranian Terror Presence in Latin America

Recent arrest The killing of two people suspected of having ties to Hezbollah in Sao Paulo, Brazil, has put a spotlight on the growing influence of Iranian and Islamic regime-funded terrorist organizations such as Hezbollah in Latin America. There is.

The two arrested, now serving more than 15 years in prison, were planning a terrorist attack on a Jewish community center in Brazil, according to the Brazilian Federal Police. The Israeli government acknowledged that the country’s intelligence agency, Mossad, supported Brazil’s efforts to thwart the alleged plot.

Over the past four decades, Iran has sought influence in Latin America, with great success in socialist-led countries such as Argentina, Bolivia, and Brazil, as well as in the region’s three dictatorships, Cuba, Venezuela, and Nicaragua.

Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi implemented a Latin American policy trip In June, he visited Cuba, Venezuela, and Nicaragua, Iran’s closest allies in the region.During a meeting with Venezuela’s socialist dictator Nicolás Maduro, Raisi claimed The relationship between Iran and Venezuela is of a “strategic” nature, with “common interests, views” and “enemies”, a clear allusion to the United States.

Cooperation between left-wing governments in the region and Iran has enabled Iranian-funded Hezbollah and Hamas groups to not only operate in the region but also form alliances with local terrorist groups.

It’s mainly believed it Hezbollah, through Iranian funding, claimed involvement in the July 18, 1994 bombing of the Argentine-Israel Mutual Association (AMIA) headquarters in Buenos Aires. The attack, which killed 85 people, was the deadliest terrorist attack in the Western Hemisphere. Before the September 11, 2001 attacks.

A Jewish man (right) looks on as rescue workers scour the rubble at the scene of a car bombing at the Association Mutual Israel-Argentina (AMIA) Jewish Community Center in Buenos Aires, Argentina, on July 18, 1994. This was the biggest attack. About the Jewish community outside of Israel after World War II. The bombing killed 85 people and injured 300. (Diego Levy/Bloomberg via Getty)

Argentine authorities have documented evidence linking the AMIA bombing to Iran and Hezbollah, but no one has yet been convicted.

In 2015, Argentine prosecutor Alberto Nisman was discovered died He is scheduled to testify before Congress as part of a case accusing then-leftist President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner of helping cover up Iran’s involvement in the AMIA bombing in exchange for favorable trade deals. Hours earlier, he revealed signs of a gunshot wound at his official residence. It deals with Islamic regimes. Argentina fostered friendly relations with Iran during the consecutive terms of president, Fernández de Kirchner (2007-2015) and her late husband Néstor Kirchner (2003-2007).

Alberto Nisman, the prosecutor investigating the 1994 AMIA Jewish Community Center bombing, speaks with journalists in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Wednesday, May 29, 2013. Nisman on Wednesday accused Iran of infiltrating South American countries and setting up criminal networks. Eliminate terrorist attacks in the region. (Natasha Pisarenko/Associated Press)

Nisman’s death was ruled a suicide and the case against Fernández de Kirchner was controversial was fired Fernández de Kirchner currently serves as Argentina’s vice president until December 10, when outgoing socialist president Alberto Fernández (no relation) ends his term.

Two years before the AMIA bombing, the Israeli embassy in Argentina was targeted by a suicide bomber. attack 29 people were killed and 242 injured. The attack is also believed to have been orchestrated by Iran using Hezbollah as a proxy.

A man stands guard in front of the AMIA (Argentine-Israeli Mutual Association) headquarters in Buenos Aires on January 21, 2015. Protesting the death of Argentine prosecutor Alberto Nisman, who was shot and killed just days after he was charged.  President Christina Kirchner obstructed the investigation into the 1994 Jewish center bombing. Nisman, 51, was found dead overnight in his apartment in the capital's trendy Puerto Madero district, just hours away from testifying at a parliamentary hearing.

A man stands guard in front of the AMIA (Argentine-Israeli Mutual Association) headquarters in Buenos Aires on January 21, 2015. Protesting the death of Argentine prosecutor Alberto Nisman, who was shot and killed just days after he was charged. President Christina Kirchner obstructed the investigation into the 1994 Jewish center bombing. (Alejandro Pani/AFP/Getty Images)

Last week, Joseph Umire, executive director of the Center for Safe and Free Societies (SFS), said: explained Iranian influence in Bolivia as the Islamic regime’s “most successful project” in Latin America.

Humire stressed that Iran is not perceived as a relevant actor but “as a distant actor, and that is a fatal mistake.”

“Iran has been working on this project for 40 years and has already penetrated deeply into the region,” Humire told Argentine news agency Infobae last week. “This year they sent warships and the president and now they’re showing diplomatic muscle.”

He continued:

Iran has been very clear about its objectives since the Ayatollah took power, and it knows that the United States will be an obstacle to its progress in the Middle East and the world in general. In this region it is Israel, but globally it is the United States. And to thwart the United States, it will need to strengthen its capabilities in Latin America.

Bolivia’s socialist government, led by President Luis Arce, signed During Bolivian Defense Minister Edmundo Novillo’s official visit to Tehran, which concluded an agreement with Iran to buy Iranian drones in July, Novillo said the visit “paves the way for broader cooperation”. I was expecting that.

The Bolivian-Iranian drone deal is a major threat to both the Argentine socialist government and the opposition, given Iran’s past involvement in terrorist acts against Argentina’s Jewish community, and the potential implications of increased Iranian influence. raised concerns as well.

Arce government cut In late October, it completely severed ties with Israel, alleging that Israel was carrying out “disproportionate” ongoing operations against Israel. The reason is Hamas, a jihadist terrorist organization funded by Iran.

Brazil’s radical socialist President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva began his campaign for a third term in January and has sought to improve relations with Iran throughout the year. In February, Lula allowed two Iranian warships to sail. dock In Brazil, it ignored calls from US President Joe Biden not to allow ships to enter Brazilian ports.

The Brazilian flag flies on the Iranian warship Iris Makran as it sails off the coast of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on February 27, 2023. (Photo by CARL DE SOUZA/AFP) (Photo by CARL DE SOUZA/AFP via Getty Images)

The Brazilian flag flies on the Iranian warship Iris Makran as it sails off the coast of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on February 27, 2023. (CARL DE SOUZA/AFP via Getty)

The Iranian regime is not only a historical ally of Venezuela’s socialist regime, but has also been an important element in Maduro’s continued rule since the collapse of socialism in that country.

Throughout 2023, Iran will I was saved Venezuela has repaired its refineries after more than two decades of socialist mismanagement nearly destroyed Venezuela’s oil industry infrastructure.Iran started doing this Refine Venezuela has its own oil in a renovated refinery; supply When the socialist regime determined it could not meet its domestic fuel needs, Venezuela shipped oil.

System signed A 20-year cooperation agreement will be signed in 2022.Iranian officials said Shortly after, it was announced that the Maduro regime had transferred 1 million hectares of Venezuelan farmland to the Islamic regime for food cultivation.

The Maduro government is widely accused By providing Hezbollah members with Venezuelan passports, Hezbollah can benefit from Venezuelan visa exemptions agreement You can get in touch with countries all over the world and travel more easily compared to other countries. Lebanese and/or iranian passport.

Tarek El Aissami, Venezuela’s former oil minister and wanted drug lord, believed it Not only does it have direct ties to Hezbollah, but it is also the terrorist organization’s biggest supporter in Venezuela.El Aissami is stripped away He was stripped of his power within the socialist government in March amid an “anti-corruption” purge that began after $3 billion in oil revenue “disappeared” from the country’s coffers. Since then, El Aissami has not been seen in public, nor has Maduro’s government. issued Information about his whereabouts and the progress made in the anti-corruption investigation.

Cuba’s communist Castro regime has maintained friendly relations with Iran since the 1979 Islamic Revolution, and as in the case of Venezuela, Iran has It has provided continued support to the Castro regime.

US in 2003 accused Cuba intercepts US satellite communications and provides information to Iran, regime claims was denied.Iran and Cuba are both American territories. list A state sponsor of terrorism.

Similarly, Iran also maintains strong cooperation tie As a result of their mutual anti-American stance with the Sandinista Ortega regime in Nicaragua.

Through Hezbollah, Iran was able to increase its influence in Latin America at the government level, but also through local drug trafficking. gang International narco-terrorist organizations in Mexico and elsewhere Los Zetas and sinaloa state Cartels and the Marxist Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) terrorist organization.

Christian K. Caruso is a Venezuelan writer who chronicles life under socialism. You can follow him on Twitter here.

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