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"A threat is ignored in Latin America"

Structures such as IS or Al-Qaeda have no boundaries
Packages of confiscated drugs - Photo: Carlos Jasso/REUTERS
27/08/2017
03:20
San José
José Meléndez
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Terrorism is an unknown threat in Latin America. The cartels of Mexico, the maras of Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras, the criminal networks of Brazil and the remnants of the Colombian, Peruvian and Paraguayan guerrillas mutated several years ago from acts of common delinquency to terrorist acts.

There is evidence of the nexus of terrorist clusters in the Middle East with mafias from Mexico and Colombia to smuggle drugs from America to Africa and Europe.

However, Latin America is not an area of prior activism for Islamic terrorism. Their priority is the Middle East and now Europe, but there have been major terrorist attacks, against the Israeli embassy in Argentina in 1992, and the Argentine Israeli Mutual Association in Buenos Aires in 1994. Terrorist groups such as the Islamic State (IS) are betting on being global players, yet they are limited in Latin America.

In Latin America, there is not enough attention to terrorism, but structures such as IS or Al-Qaeda have no boundaries.

"There is known presence of IS in Chile, Muslims from Trinidad and Tobago joined them, and a small group of individuals was discovered in Brazil threatening 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro” pointed Ortiz.

“There is sufficient evidence that Hezbollah (a Lebanese political and military Lebanese Shiite Islamic organization) has profited from trafficking in cocaine from Latin America,” connections of drug trafficking structures in Colombia linked to Hezbollah have been discovered as well.

There is a drug route that profits North African terrorists. The route leaves Venezuela or the Colombian (Caribbean) coast, crosses the Atlantic, reaches West Africa and crosses the Mediterranean to enter Europe, through Spain or Italy and they are terrorist networks of the Middle East that have sought the collaboration of the Mexican cartels for approximately three or four years.

This analysis was offered in an interview with EL UNIVERSAL by Román Ortiz, director of Decisive Point, a consulting firm specializing in security, defense and political risk, and former counter terrorism adviser, anti-narcotics strategy and citizen security for government institutions in Colombia.

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