Archive for the ‘Hizballah’ Category

Colombia: Maicao, Hezbollah money-laundering center

Friday, December 20th, 2013

In the Colombia-Venezuela border town of Maicao, which is also near the Caribbean and has a free-trade zone and the third-largest mosque in the Americas, Hezbollah financing evolves beyond Colombia’s Muslim communities

Today, Hezbollah is the most powerful political movement in Lebanon — and its influence stretches all the way to Maicao. Each year, millions of dollars of drug money are laundered in Maicao, where some community members openly proclaim their support for Hezbollah. Recent U.S. Treasury Department actions have slowed the flow of cash to terrorist groups, but financiers have fled and new networks have reconstituted that are harder to identify.

This mirrors, as Spain’s ABC has reported, chavismo’s alliance with the FARC Colombian guerrilla becoming an essential factor of the illegal trade,

The way it works is a money launderer today may work for 5-10 different drug trafficking groups. Those groups in turn pay taxes or fees to terrorist groups to operate in their territories, proliferating terrorism and violence in Colombia and the Middle East. Likewise, sympathizing launderers may make sizable voluntary donations to Hezbollah.

The article states,

The launderers may not even realize they are ultimately funding terrorism organizations.

And yet, “the conversation switches to Arabic when it involves transferring drug money to terrorist groups abroad.”

It makes perfect sense for Maicao to be a location for this:

  • a commercial center because of its free-trade zone,
  • large Muslim population where Hezbollah operatives may go unnoticed
  • geographic location near both the Caribbean and Venezuela, the departing point for much of the drugs.

I wonder how this fits in with the FARC negotiations in Havana, considering the links to Colombia’s FARC, El Salvador’s FMNL, and their connection to Hezbollah.


The Carnival of Latin America and the Caribbean

Monday, November 11th, 2013

LatinAmerThe week’s must-read? This: Documents show depth of U.S. concern over Mexico violence. As I’ve been saying for nearly a decade, border security is national security.

ARGENTINA
Argentina’s Fading Diva

Junk bond news: Specialist in Long Shots Bets on Argentina
David Martinez, head of a hedge fund that specializes in distressed debt, has made an unusual call: Invest in Argentina.

“You can see light at the end of the tunnel,” Mr. Mariscal said, “but you don’t know if it’s the train coming towards you.”

BOLIVIA
Skulls said to have miraculous qualities at the center of annual festival in Bolivia

BRAZIL
Before Global Games, Rio Is Fighting to Dim Red Light. Good luck with that.

Brazil’s oil industry
Bustista
Eike Batista’s oil firm files for bankruptcy protection

CHILE
Chile’s presidential election
Cruising back to La Moneda
A more left-wing Michelle Bachelet is set to win on a tide of social discontent

COLOMBIA
In pictures: Beyond El Dorado at the British Museum

Filling the FARC-Shaped Void

No pause in FARC peace talks for elections

CUBA
Michael Totten is Home From Cuba,

That is one truly strange place. It’s right there alongside Libya under Moammar Qaddafi in the bizarro department. I’m glad I went, but I’m even more glad to be out of there.

US hijacker William Potts returns from Cuba
An American man who hijacked a plane in 1984 and forced it to fly to Cuba has returned to the US.

ECUADOR
Indigenous peoples
Death in the Amazon

Attempt to Rehabilitate Chevron Judge Gets Very Weird

Chevron’s lead lawyer, Randy Mastro, had some success this week showing that [Ecuadorian judge Nicolas] Zambrano doesn’t seem to know very much about the record-breaking decision he supposedly rendered. When asked, the former Ecuadorian judge couldn’t name key elements of the ruling, such as the most powerful carcinogenic substance it cited or a crucial scientific study purporting to link oil contamination to human illnesses. He also struggled to explain how he was able to deploy French, American, and Australian case law in the ruling, since, as he conceded, he does not speak or read French or English.

The Chevron RICO trial grinds on

Phila. lawyer tells how Ecuador case against Chevron unraveled

GRENADA
An Army Ranger Gives an on Ground Account of the War in Grenada

GUYANA
The US Treasury as the Birthright of All Mankind

JAMAICA
BBC criticised over Jamaica Inn filming in Kirkby Lonsdale

LATIN AMERICA
From Brookings: The Upcoming Electoral Cycle in Latin America in the Midst of Social Unrest: What Lies Ahead?

MEXICO
Tunnel for Smuggling Found Under U.S.-Mexico Border; Tons of Drugs Seized
The sophisticated underground passageway featured electricity, ventilation and an electronic rail system and took about a year to build, officials said.

Documents show depth of U.S. concern over Mexico violence

NICARAGUA
Sandinista Constitutional reforms will institutionalize first lady’s precepts of ‘Christian, socialist and solidarity’ via Boz

  • Increases government control over radio, television, telephone and internet services, including requirements for local control and data storage.
  • Institutionalizes various FSLN organizations into the government and constitution, further merging the government and party (which would have serious repercussions if the FSLN did lose an election some day in the future, in that the party would still retain control over aspects of government).

PANAMA
Panama Canal’s LNG Surprise to Redefine Trade in Fuel: Freight

LNG carriers will cross the 48-mile waterway 350 times a year, and voyages to Asia from the U.S. will cost 24 percent less than longer routes, according to calculations from the canal authority. The expected 12 million tons, assuming half the transits are hauling cargoes, would be equal to about 5 percent of the world’s trade in 2012, Fearnley Consultants AS estimates.

The U.S., now the world’s largest producer of natural gas because of the extraction of fuel from shale rocks, will account for much of that traffic as it becomes the third-largest exporter of LNG by 2020, Morgan Stanley estimates. With American energy independence now at a 27-year high of 86 percent, the route will boost exports to Japan, offsetting nuclear-power generation lost after the earthquake and tsunami in March 2011.

PARAGUAY
Paraguay says can be launch pad for Israeli technology in Latin America
With a favorable tax system, stable business environment, Paraguay could be key to providing Israeli innovators with access to broader Latin markets, says Paraguayan minister.

PERU
Peru’s central bank sees gloomier economic growth

PUERTO RICO
De Blasio, in Puerto Rico, Finds Relaxation and Fellow Red Sox Fans

On Vacation, With Politics
Mayor-elect de Blasio Attends Somos El Futuro Conference in Puerto Rico

Is Puerto Rico the next Greece? Nest eggs could suffer

La Mallorquina, open since 1848, closed:

My grandparents used to take the family (of 12!) to eat there in the 1920s and ’30s.

SURINAME
Suriname leader’s son on terror charges
The son of Suriname’s president is charged by the United States with attempting to provide material support to the Shia militant group Hezbollah.

VENEZUELA
Desperation News and Views

Miami Herald reporter held for second night in Venezuela while covering economic crisis; he was released on Saturday and is back in the USA.

Real life: Venezuela’s Maduro orders military occupation… of electronics stores

John Hinderaker watches the pageants and posts lots of pictures: MISS UNIVERSE: A FINAL PREVIEW [UPDATED WITH RESULTS]

The week’s posts and podcast:
Chile: Left turn coming up

Venezuela burns down Mexican plane

Obama makes campaign stop, meets Coco & Berta

Venezuela: Entire medical system collapsing

Chile: Neruda wasn’t poisoned

Venezuela: ADS in the slums

Latin America: Mexico and the Expanding Hemispheric Crime and Terror Crises

Colombia: Things are about to get worse

Mexico: Templars, Inc.

Cuba: The FARC rides the yacht

Podcast:
With Jerry Brewer on Silvio Canto’s podcast


Roundup: More on Iran in Latin America

Saturday, June 1st, 2013

Following up on yesterday’s post on Iran’s infiltration in Latin America,


Demonstrators holding photos of the 85 people who died in the 1994 AMIA bombing

BBC: Iran ‘in Latin America terror plot’ – Argentina prosecutor
An Argentine prosecutor has accused Iran of trying to infiltrate countries in Latin America to sponsor and carry out “terrorist activities”.

AP: Argentine Prosecutor: Iran Infiltrating Continent

NYT: Prosecutor in Argentina Sees Iranian Plot in Latin America

In his report, Mr. Nisman contended that the 1994 bombing was not an isolated event. “It has to be investigated as a segment in a larger sequence,” he said in a report summary, pointing to parallels with the case of two Guyanese men convicted in 2010 of conspiring to attack Kennedy International Airport in New York.

In that case, a former Guyanese government official, Abdul Kadir, opened himself to a claim by prosecutors in New York that he secretly worked for years as a spy for Iran when he said during cross-examination that he had drafted regular reports to Iran’s ambassador in Venezuela on plans to infiltrate Guyana’s military and police. The plot to attack the airport did not advance beyond the conceptual stage.

Mr. Nisman, who has investigated the bombing since 2005, suggested that “criminal plans” by Iran could be under development in Latin America, including Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Guyana, Paraguay, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago and Uruguay.

And let’s not forget the direct flights fron Tehran to Caracas.

WSJ: Iran in America’s Backyard
Remember that botched attempt to blow up John F. Kennedy airport in 2007?

Connecting the dots, Mr. Nisman found that one of the Iranian agents in the plan to incinerate JFK—Guyanese citizen Abdul Kadir—had a “close relationship and hierarchical subordination” to Rabbini. But Kadir’s activities were supported from other countries as well. He “was very important to the plot, not only because he was a successful leader, but also due to his deeply rooted connections with Iran and its embassy in Venezuela.” And he was active in countries throughout the Caribbean, including Trinidad and Tobago; Dominica; Barbados; Antigua and Barbuda; Surinam; and Grenada. “His activity as an Iranian leader allowed him to establish and strengthen relations with other regional Islamic leaders and by 1998 he was the representative of the Secretariat of the Caribbean Islamic Movement.”

It is unlikely that either Kadir or Rabbani would have gotten as far as they did without the use of a seemingly benign activity to shield them. “The dual use of institutions controlled by the Iranian Regime, the cultural, religious and propagation activities conducted by its agents abroad and the radical indoctrination of its supporters” become operational with “the construction of intelligence stations,” the summary explains. These have “the capability to provide logistic, economic and operative support to terrorist attacks decided by the Islamic regime.”

Telegraph (h/t Gates of Vienna): Argentine prosecutor accuses Iran of establishing Latin America terrorist networks
An Argentine prosecutor accused Iran on Wednesday of establishing terrorist networks in Latin America dating back to the 1980s and said he would send his findings to courts in the affected countries.

The Economist, back in January: Argentine-Iranian relations
A pact with the devil?

US State Department: Country Reports on Terrorism 2012


Hezbollah agent issued Venezuelan diplomatic passport

Tuesday, March 26th, 2013

El Nuevo Herald reports (link in Spanish) that Ghazi Nasr al Din, in charge of all Hezbollah operations in Venezuela, served as business attache in the Venezuelan embassy in Syria. Nicolas Maduro, now president of Venezuela, was his contact, and allegedly provided Nasr al Din’s cover.

A 2008 US Treasury report stated that Nasr al Din was a Hezbollah agent who used his post as a Venezuelan diplomat to carry out essential fundraising efforts for Hezbollah.

The Herald’s sources indicated that Nasr al Din reported directly to then-Vice-president Maduro, bypassing the minister for Middle East affairs, and arranged travel to Iran for training.

In related news, Roger Noriega, a former United States ambassador and assistant secretary of state for western hemisphere affairs, has alleged that

Iran has illegally laundered billions of dollars through the Venezuelan financial sector and is currently stashing “hundreds of millions” of dollars in “virtually every Venezuelan bank today,”

Long-term readers of this blog may recall that in 2008 Italian newspaper La Stampa exposed how Iran was using Venezuela to bypass UN sanctions.

Mexico: No Iran or Hezbollah here

Tuesday, November 20th, 2012

Last week the US House of Representatives Homeland Security Subcommittee on Oversight, Investigations, and Management issued a report updating its 2006 A Line in the Sand findings.

The new report (pdf file), A LINE IN THE SAND: COUNTERING CRIME,
VIOLENCE AND TERROR AT THE SOUTHWEST BORDER
found (emphasis added):

 Although the United States tightened security at airports and land ports of entry in thewake of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, the U.S.-Mexico border remains an obvious weak link in the chain.

 Despite the near doubling of Border Patrol personnel, the Government Accountability Office found that only 44 percent of the Southwest border was under operational control.

 In 2012, National Guard presence on the Southwest border was reduced to 300 soldiers.

 Since October 2008, 138 Customs and Border Protection officers or agents have been arrested or indicted on corruption related charges.

 The Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) reports that there have been 58 incidents of shots fired at Texas lawmen by Mexican cartel operatives since 2009.

 Experts believe the Southwest border has become the great threat of terrorist infiltration into the United States.

 Iran and Hezbollah have a growing presence in Latin America.

 Hezbollah has a significant presence in the United States that could be utilized in terror attacks intended to deter U.S. efforts to curtail Iran’s nuclear program.

 Latin America has become a money laundering and major fundraising center for Hezbollah.

Hezbollah’s relationship with Mexican drug cartels, which control secured smuggling routes into the United States, is documented as early as 2005.

If Iran’s assassination plot against the Saudi Arabian ambassador in Washington, D.C. had been successful, Iran’s Qods Force intended to use the Los Zetas drug cartel for other attacks in the future.

Long-term readers of my blog are certainly not surprised by this information, as I have been blogging on the subject for years. Neither would the readers of Jon Perdue’s excellent book, The War of All the People: The Nexus of Latin American Radicalism and Middle Eastern Terrorism.

The Mexican government, however, strongly denies the report’s findings: Mexico disputes House GOP report alleging Iran, Hezbollah are using Mexican drug cartels

A spokesman for Mexico’s ambassador to the United States, Arturo Sarukhán, told The Daily Caller his country’s government disputes a recent House GOP report alleging that Iranian and Hezbollah terror operatives are using Mexican drug cartels as a conduit to infiltrate the United States.

As Matthew Boyle points out, on October 11 last year, two men were arrested in New York and charged with taking part in an Iranian plot to assassinate the Saudi ambassador to the US. You can read the full details of the plot in the Department of Justice’s report.

While its government denies these findings, Mexico is the deadliest country on earth for journalists.

Also last week, the head of Mexico’s organized crime unit stepped down on Thursday, just weeks after announcing that members of his team had been charged with having links to the Sinaloa drug cartel.

Cross-posted at Liberty Unyielding.


Mexico Extradites to USA San Jose Mosque Imam connected to Hezbollah

Thursday, September 13th, 2012

Mexico Extradites San Jose Mosque Imam (Rap Video)
The news of the arrest was a major story in Mexico, but had little coverage on American or Israeli media sites. It should have
. (h/t GoV)

Rafic Labboun is a naturalized American citizen, born in Lebanon, who immigrated to the United States in 1986. He graduated from the University of California at Berkeley with a degree in mathematics. Although born a Sunni Muslim, he converted to the Shia faith and became an energetic and charismatic promoter of Islam. Labboun served as an imam for the Shiite Association Bay Area (SABA) Mosque in San Jose, California. The SABA Mosque is considered by some experts in the counter-terrorism world to be strong supporters of both the Khomeinist regime and of the Hezbollah terrorist organization. Labboun was the spiritual leader at SABA until he “suddenly” returned to live in a southern neighborhood of Beirut, Lebanon, in 2002. Until that time it is believed that Labboun was the highest ranking Hezbollah member in the San Francisco Bay area.

Labboun returned several times to the SABA mosque, ostensibly to preach, for short periods, but was arrested at the San Francisco International Airport on his way back to Lebanon on January 12, 2009. Labboun was convicted by a jury on July 19, 2010, on seven counts of bank fraud. The fraud involved the creation of false lines of credit between several US banks. Credit cards and checks from those lines were then used to obtain more than $100,000 in gold from Saudi Arabia. The money is believed to have ended up in Lebanon, and was allegedly used to finance terrorist activities by Hezbollah. The money was never recovered.

After the verdicts were entered, Labboun was sentenced by Judge Ronald M. Whyte of the United States District Court of the Northern District Court of California, to 27 months in custody, followed by three years supervised release. In addition to his prison sentence, Labboun was ordered to repay the stolen funds to the defrauded banks.

Labboun was scheduled for release from prison on June 29, 2012. On June 21, however, he was ordered to reside at the Geo Care Residential Reentry Center for an additional three months, as directed by his probation officer, Jennifer Hutchings. Instead, he flew to Mexico on a false passport from Belize, the country of which the two men with whom he was arrested are citizens. The name on Labboun’s false passport was Wilhelm Dick.

According to reports, eyewitnesses to the arrest operation over the weekend said that INM and Mexican state police appeared in full force, parked in front of a building and several heavily armed officers exited their cars. These officers then entered the building and quickly arrested the three men. The suspects were reportedly first taken to a security complex located on the loop highway, escorted by a high security convoy.

It is believed that the three were arrested because they were involved in financing activities in an attempt to bail out Hezbollah members jailed in the United States. Labboun was in violation of his parole, and while that alone may have triggered the focus by authorities, the extensive show of force by the Mexican arresting agencies contributed to speculation that much more was at stake.

Hezbollah’s presence in Latin America has been documented for decades. This case, however, involves a naturalized American citizen working for them.

The College for Defense of the Bolivarian Alternative of the America: Latin America’s school for dictators

Friday, May 18th, 2012

Martin Arostegui, reporting for the Miami Herald, writes on Latin America’s school for dictators in Bolivia where the Iranians, Cuban, Russians, and Hezbollah meet the leftist governments of Venezuela, Bolivia, Ecuador, Nicaragua and now, possibly, Argentina (emphasis added)

A year ago this month, Bolivian President Evo Morales inaugurated the College for Defense of the Bolivarian Alternative of the Americas (ALBA) with a speech in which he called for the expulsion of U.S. intelligence agencies, a new military doctrine based on “asymmetrical war” against “imperialism” and the “abolition” of the U.N. Security Council. He also attacked the press, calling CNN a “tool of capitalism”,
Morales spoke in the presence of Iran’s defense minister, Gen Ahmed Vahidi, who had to be rushed from the ceremony when it was learned that Argentine prosecutors were issuing an international arrest warrant over his alleged role in the 1994 Hezbollah bombing of a Jewish community center in Buenos Aires that killed 85 people.

ALBA is a Venezuelan-led association of anti-U.S. governments which also includes Cuba, Ecuador, Nicaragua and some Caribbean island states dependent on Venezuelan oil subsidies. The fledgling alliance has been given little importance by U.S. intelligence analysts, who tend to dismiss it as a purely ideological entity.

Its 5,000-square-meter military facility outside the city of Santa Cruz, built at the cost of $2 million, remains empty, according to Bolivian defense spokesmen who say that they are awaiting “input” from other member states. One Bolivian army officer ventures to say that it is on “standby,” pending the elections in Venezuela.

Despite ALBA’s vacant real estate, it is becoming increasingly clear that member governments are in the process of forming a military and intelligence network aided and influenced by Iran that could leverage events in the hemisphere, in the absence of effective U.S. leadership.

Thousands of Cuban security advisors have played a critical role in consolidating the regime of Hugo Chávez in Venezuela and have similarly assisted leftist governments in Bolivia, Ecuador, Nicaragua and now, possibly, Argentina.

A Pentagon report released in 2010 also warned about the growing presence of Iranian elite Revolutionary Guard Al Qods officers in Latin America. Small Iranian advisory teams are operating with the security services of Venezuela and other ALBA nations, according to U.S. State Department officials speaking off the record.

Bolivia’s ex-defense minister, Maria Chacón, has said that the ALBA school seeks to form leadership cadres for civilian militias. The strategy of “people in arms” has long been promoted by Fidel Castro and Chávez for the ostensible purpose of resisting a U.S. invasion.

But a more immediate role for politically directed paramilitary organizations like Venezuela’s growing Bolivarian Militia may be keeping hard-line factions in power should internal struggles result from an opposition election victory or Chávez’s much anticipated death from cancer.

A Venezuelan official blacklisted by the U.S. government as a member of Hezbollah, Ghazi Nasr Al Din, directed Circulos Bolivarianos teams that disrupted opposition rallies, in many cases shooting government opponents, prior to assuming diplomatic postings in Lebanon and Syria.

The interface between ALBA and its Middle Eastern allies is such that Cuba has used its Russian-built electronic listening station to jam satellite broadcasts by U.S.-based Iranian opposition radio stations.

Go read the whole thing.

ALBA: it’s not just for petty tyrants anymore.

UPDATE:
Hezbollah terror threat on U.S.-Mexico border is real, via American Digest.


Hezbollah in the tri-border area, Hezbollah in the tri-state area

Tuesday, February 14th, 2012

For years I have been blogging on Iran’s presence in Latin America, which includes Hezbollah’s influence in the tri-border area of Paraguay-Brazil-Argentina.

Most readers probably consider this an abstraction of sorts, things happening far away that have no bearing in their lives.

In fact, this is a matter of national security important to the USA. Mitchell Silber, director of intelligence analysis for the New York City Police Department, explains why in today’s Wall Street Journal,
The Iranian Threat to New York City
As the West’s conflict with Iran over its nuclear program heats up, New York City—with its large Jewish population—becomes an increasingly attractive target.

Iran has a proven record of using its official presence in a foreign city to coordinate attacks, which are then carried out by Hezbollah agents from abroad, often leveraging the local community—whether wittingly or not—as facilitators. Most notable are the 1992 and 1994 bombings of Israeli and Jewish targets in Argentina, which killed 29 and 85 people, respectively. The New York City Police Department, where I work as director of Intelligence Analysis, sent a team to Argentina to study the modus operandi of those attacks and to meet with Argentine security officials who worked the investigations. Coupled with open source information, this is what the NYPD learned:

Iranian agents were sent to Argentina years before the attacks, where they integrated into society and became Argentine nationals. Mohsen Rabbani is believed to have been in charge of coordinating the 1994 attack and is subject to an Interpol arrest warrant for his involvement. He first came to Argentina in 1983, where he subsequently became the main imam at At-Tauhid, an Iranian-funded mosque in Buenos Aires.

After traveling to Iran in August 1993 to participate in a meeting that allegedly gave the planned attack the green light, Mr. Rabbani returned to Argentina as a cultural attaché to the Iranian Embassy, conveniently providing him diplomatic immunity. Then, Hezbollah agents from abroad received logistical support from members of the local Lebanese-Shiite community and the Iranian Embassy to carry out the attack.

The Argentine attacks were by no means isolated incidents. Hezbollah has been tied to failed attacks in 2009 against Israeli and Jewish interests in Azerbaijan, Egypt and Turkey. Last month, Thai officials arrested a suspected Hezbollah militant for possibly planning attacks there or perhaps facilitating the movement of weapons through Bangkok.

In the New York-New Jersey-Pennsylvania area,

Hezbollah and its supporters have a presence in New York and the surrounding area as well. In 2008, two Staten Island men pleaded guilty to providing material support to Hezbollah. Just down the road in Philadelphia, 26 people—including a former Brooklyn resident—were indicted in federal court in 2009 for conspiring to provide material support to the terrorist group.

Lebanese-linked businesses in the tri-state area and elsewhere have been implicated in a massive money-laundering scheme benefiting Hezbollah. This scheme was revealed in a civil suit filed against several Lebanese financial institutions last December by the Drug Enforcement Administration and the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York. Meanwhile, at least 18 other Hezbollah-related cases have been brought in federal courts across the United States since 2000.

Among them, Moussa Ali Hamdan, a naturalized US citizen who lived in Brooklyn, worked in New Jersey, and is wanted in Philadelphia for exporting stolen cars to Lebanon to finance terror organizations there.

And, for what it’s worth, Iranian Defense Minister Ahmad Vahidi is wanted by Interpol for being behind the 1994 AMIA bombing in Buenos Aires.

Cross-posted in the Green Room.

UPDATE
Linked by The Other McCain. Thanks!


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Where the coke comes from

Sunday, January 15th, 2012

This weekend’s Wall Street Journal has a must-read on drug production in Latin America
Cocaine: The New Front Lines
Colombia’s success in curbing the drug trade has created more opportunities for countries hostile to the United States. What happens when coca farmers and their allies are in charge?

What happens is that now Peru, Venezuela, Ecuador and Bolivia are producing the drugs:

Since 2000, cultivation of coca leaves—cocaine’s raw material—plunged 65% in Colombia, to 141,000 acres in 2010, according to United Nations figures. In the same period, cultivation surged more than 40% in Peru, to 151,000 acres, and more than doubled in Bolivia, to 77,000 acres.

More important, Bolivia and Peru are now making street-ready cocaine, whereas they once mostly supplied raw ingredients for processing in Colombia. In 2010, Peru may have passed Colombia as the world’s biggest producer, according to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration. Between 2009 and 2010, Peru’s potential to produce cocaine grew 44%, to 325 metric tons. In 2010, Colombia’s potential production was 270 metric tons.

Meanwhile, Venezuela and Ecuador are rising as smuggling hubs.

Those of you who think this cocaine is only produced for consumption outside Latin America, do take note that Brazilian police say 80% of that country’s cocaine supply comes from Bolivia.

Additionally, crime, terrorism and drugs go hand-in-hand. Hezbolla’s deepening involvement in the drug trade was the subject of a New York Times report last month.

Noteworthy was a comment by Lebanon’s drug enforcement chief, Colonel Adel Mashmoushi, who stated that one path used by Hezbollah’s drug trafficking friends into Lebanon was “aboard a weekly Iranian-operated flight from Venezuela to Damascus and then over the border [from Syria].” The air bridge between Caracas and Tehran has long been a significant security concern.

Is it a coincidence that Bolivia has the largest Iranian embassy in the hemisphere, and that Ahmadinejad has visited the region five times – last week stopping in Ecuador and Venezuela?

UPDATE,
Linked by Maggie’s Farm. Thanks!


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The first 2012 Carnival of Latin America and the Caribbean

Monday, January 2nd, 2012

LatinAmerARGENTINA
Argentina Gets Loyal No. 2

A rumor: Argentina Bans Import of Blackberry and iPhone?

BRAZIL
Bad-Debt Collection Proves to Be Good Business in Brazil

CHILE
Scientists Test Tech for Mission to Saturn Moon Titan, via GoV

COLOMBIA
Colombia Urabenos ‘drug gang leader’ shot by police
Juan de Dios Usuga was killed in Choco, the north-western province which was his power base
Officials in Colombia say the alleged leader of a powerful criminal gang has been killed in a police operation.

CUBA
Cuba’s “NSA” Suspected of Aiding North Korea

DOMINICAN REPUBLIC
Stateless
When is a Dominican not one?

ECUADOR
Correa’s courts: Ecuador president targets police in judicial persecution

JAMAICA
Parties in dead heat on eve of Jamaica elections Daraine Luton The Miami Herald Jamaicans head to the polls on Thursday to decide between the ruling party of Prime Minister Andrew Holness and opposition leader Portia Simpson Miller’s People’s National Party. Polls indicate the race is too close to call.

LATIN AMERICA
Hizballah Fundraising and Operations in the US and Latin America

MEXICO
Homicides in Mexico 2010, via Gancho.

PUERTO RICO
Puerto Rico governor approves status referendum amid sharp criticism

VENEZUELA
Chavez Falls Off The Edge of the World

Chavez Entertains and Distracts Even at Christmas Time

Red page special: when populism sends people up in flames

The week’s posts:
What do you mean “seen”, kimo sabe?
National security: Why the Embraer contract?
Argentina: Cristina has thyroid cancer UPDATED
Back to the escalator
The amazing Medellin escalator


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