Sunday, October 22, 2006

Venezuela: Hub of Terrorism?

My student Alejandro sent me an interesting story from El Tiempo, which discussed a new report from the Committee on Homeland Security in the U.S. House of Representatives to the effect that Venezuela is a terrorist threat because it is funneling terrorists up through the U.S.-Mexico border.

No matter what you think of Venezuela, I think we can all agree that if you make an allegation of that magnitude, then you need to provide some serious evidence. Or, well, maybe not. The burden of proof these days seems pretty minimal.

Here is the full text of the report, which argues, “[A]ccording to senior U.S. military and intelligence officials, Venezuela is emerging as a potential hub of terrorism in the Western Hemisphere, providing assistance to Islamic radicals from the Middle East and other terrorists.” Venezuela has reportedly provided government IDs “to people who should not be getting them.”

What are the sources for these particular accusations, and the general idea that Venezuela is becoming a terrorist state?

--a 2003 article in U.S. News and World Report
--a 2003 article in the Financial Times
--a 2006 article in the Washington Times
--one anonymous interview

And that’s it.

In July, the State Department announced that Venezuela was “not cooperating fully” in the “war on terror,” and coined the “terrorist hub” phrase. It is based mostly on Chávez’s relationship with Iran, and that he questioned the validity of the UN resolutions on counterterrorism.

Cozying up to Iran, blundering around the UN, talking about pursuing a relationship with North Korea, are all examples of how Chávez seems inept and politically tone deaf (both domestically and internationally) with regard to foreign policy. But it is a very big leap to take that to the level of terrorist state.


Anonymous,  8:20 AM  

Well, here in Honduras, Venezuelan aircraft which land every week bring drugs and money to Zelaya supporters so they can bomb buildings, destroy governmet electrical installations,do violent marches, assasinate opposition relatives and set fire to businesses as a way to pressure the reinstatementof Mr. Zelaya. Seems to me that Venezuela promotes terrorism.....

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