“The core of this effort is fueled primarily by Venezuelan dictator Hugo Chavez and Communist Cuba. This Lernaean Hydra also breathes its ideological poison with fellow travelers in Ecuador, Bolivia, Nicaragua, and political parties and business interests throughout Latin America and the Caribbean…”
The incoming Obama-Biden Administration has been making the perfunctory statement that it will pay closer attention to Latin America and the Caribbean. Although the U.S. already has the resources to operate effectively in the region, the Obama team has said it will, as did Bill Clinton, appoint a special envoy. Whatever strategy they decide to implement, Iran’s growing presence in our immediate sphere of influence should be at the top of its list of regional priorities.
Last month Gabriel Calebrese penned an interesting op-ed on Iran’s growing presence in the Western Hemisphere, “Iran’s Strategic Gamble.” It provides a good summary of Iranian antics in the Americas. Calebrese also argues that the “Latin American Left has consistently complained about North American interference in Venezuela’s domestic affairs, it has completely ignored the dangerous infiltration of Iran’s radical regime.” True. But what if this dance with Iranian regime was by design?
When you break it down, country by country, Latin America’s Left has invited the Iranians to operate with impunity in the Western Hemisphere. The U.S. has been somewhat powerless to stop the penetration because Latin American Leftists do not want close relations with the U.S. The core of this effort is fueled primarily by Venezuelan dictator Hugo Chavez and Communist Cuba. This Lernaean Hydra also breathes its ideological poison with fellow travelers in Ecuador, Bolivia, Nicaragua, and political parties and business interests throughout Latin America and the Caribbean.
Of most things done by this group of countries, the self-proclaimed Bolivarian Axis, inviting Iran would have to be the most reckless. Iran’s growing presence in the Western Hemisphere can only mean one thing, it is here to plan and prepare for global terrorism. Iranians will use regional financial interests to launder money. Iranian and Iranian-sponsored terror cells can hide, train, and recruit supporters with relative ease throughout the region. It views our border with Mexico, and the Southeastern U.S. such as South Florida, as a soft underbelly to enter the U.S. And, most importantly, it has support from governments and political parties in the region.
The Iranians have supported attacks in South America including the bombings of the Jewish Community Center in Buenos Aires, Argentina in 1994 that killed close to 100 people. Two years earlier, a blast killed 29 people during a bombing of the Israeli Embassy. Argentine authorities have linked Iran to both blasts, including Iran-supported groups such as Islamic Jihad and Hezbollah. Push comes to shove they will do so again and Latin America’s Left has faciliated the process during the past few years.
The Bush Administration has long acknowledged the Iran problem in the Americas, and it has sought to address it in various ways. However, the Bolivarian, or Anti-American Axis of Latin American powers has ignored repeated requests to stem the flow of Iranian influence in the Americas because it foolishly and recklessly views the Iranian presence as a check on American power. Little do they know that they cannot control these Iranian interests once allowed to enter the region.
The Western Hemisphere is no longer just a region that is important for immigration, trade, or the stregthening of democracies. Thanks in large measure to Latin America’s Left, the region has become a breeding ground and base of operations for radical Islamic terrorism supported by the Iranian regime. The incoming Obama-Biden Latin America team needs to add Iranian activities in the Americas as a top priority issue.