Terror Close to Home
In oil-rich Venezuela, a volatile leader befriends bad actors from the Mideast, Colombia, and Cuba
Given all that is happening in Chavez's Venezuela, some American officials regret that terrorism is seen chiefly as a Middle East problem and that the United States is not looking to protect its southern flank. "I'm concerned that counterterrorism issues are not being aggressively pursued in this hemisphere," one U.S. intelligence official said. "We don't even have flyovers" of Venezuela. Another intelligence official complains that terror suspects being held at Guantanamo Bay, the U.S. base in Cuba, are not being interrogated about connections to Latin American. The bottom line, when it comes to terrorism so close to U.S. shores, says the official: "We don't even know what we don't know."
Aiding and abetting
The Venezuelan government is allowing armed Colombian insurgents--considered terrorist organizations by the United States--to operate inside its borders. And Islamic radical groups have gained a foothold within Venezuela's Arab community; local "cells" provide support to groups based in the Middle East.
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Area of detail: Venezuela
Hundreds of Colombian guerrillas train at smaller camps located in Venezuelan territory.
Colombian rebels operate a clandestine radio station along the Venezuelan border.
Latitude: N 10 29' 56''
Longitude: W 72 44' 56''
Venezuela has denied aiding Colombian rebel groups like the FARC. But exclusive information pinpoints the location of a remote camp inside Venezuela used to train Colombian guerrillas.
In Venezuela's capital, the government of Hugo Chavez cultivates close ties to Fidel Castro's Cuba.
Islamic terrorist groups, including Hamas and Hezbollah, obtain millions of dollars from money-laundering and drug-trafficking operations here, say American officials.
Gulf of Venezuela
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