After several years of observing Western Hemisphere security issues, an interest tit for tat has finally seems to have developed in the think tank community.
There is a great deal of disagreement throughout the government, and the think tank world, on the question of whether radical Islamist terrorism poses a regional threat in the Americas. If we remove Canada, Mexico, and the United States from that analysis, even I do not think it is that cut and dry.
For two great views on the subject, read the following: Are Criminals, Terrorists, and Bolivarians Teaming Up Against the United States? (Stewart J. Patrick, Council of Foreign Relations) and Transnational Organized Crime, Terrorism, and Criminalized States in Latin America: An Emerging Tier-One National Security Priority (Douglas Farah, International Assessment and Strategy Center).
I recall reading about decade ago “A Strategic Warning: Brazil” by renowned CIA analyst Constantine Menges. Menges warned about the growing influence of a more sophisticated class of leftist leaders who would be taking the fight to the enemy, the United States, in non-traditional ways for that group of people. Menges, who passed away in July 2004, had been warning folks of this for some time, even before 09.11.01.
No longer working in the government, I have no idea what is really happening in these countries except to conclude that they are breeding grounds for bad actors who wish ill on the United States. The matter needs to be studied closely. New tools must be developed to counter, what Secretary Donald Rumsfeld calls the unknown unknowns. Just because it is not there now, does not mean it will not be there in the future.
In the case of certain countries, Middle Eastern terror links have existed since before 09.11.01. That alone should be cause for concern.