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Latin America: Terrorism Issues
Mark P. Sullivan (au)
Since the Sept. 2001 terrorist attacks on New York and Washington, U.S. attention to terrorism in Latin America has intensified, with an increase in bilateral and regional cooperation. In its April 2009 Country Reports on Terrorism, the State Dept. maintained that terrorism in the region was primarily perpetrated by terrorist organizations in Colombia and by the remnants of radical leftist Andean groups. Overall, however, the report maintained that the threat of a transnational terrorist attack remained low for most countries in the hemisphere. Cuba has remained on the State Dept.’s list of state sponsors of terrorism since 1982pursuant to Section 6(j) of the Export Administration Act, which triggers a number of economic sanctions. Both Cuba and Venezuela are on the State Dept.’s annual list of countries determined to be not cooperating fully with U.S. antiterrorism efforts pursuant to Section 40A of the Arms Export Control Act. U.S. officials have expressed concerns over the past several years about Venezuela’s lack ofcooperation on antiterrorism efforts, its relations with Iran, and President Hugo Chávez’s sympathetic statements for Colombian terrorist groups. The State Dept. terrorism report noted, however, that President Chávez publicly changed course in June 2008 and called on the FARC to unconditionally release all hostages, declaring that armed struggle is “out of place” in modern Latin America. In recent years, U.S. concerns have increased over activities of the radical Lebanon-based Islamic group Hezbollah and the Sunni Muslim Palestinian group Hamas in the tri-border area of Argentina, Brazil, and Paraguay. Concerns about Iran’s increasing activities in Latin America center on the country’s ties to Hezbollah and the terrorist attacks in Argentina. In the 111th Congress, the following initiatives have been considered or introduced related to Latin American terrorism issues. This report discusses U.S. concerns over terrorism in Latin America and U.S. policy including increased regional cooperation since 9/11.
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