The Hezbollah Drug Connection in South America

Lawndale News Chicago's Bilingual Newspaper - Commentary

by Daniel Nardini

Here is something truly frightening to think about—a well known and powerful Shiite organization with links to Iran, Hezbollah, reaching its tentacles into South America’s drug trade to make money for weaponry and provide funding for its activities around the world. According to experts at National Defense University in Washington, D.C., this has become a reality. While the U.S. new media has focused on ISIS and the Sunni Arab Muslim organizations in the Middle East, the Shiite organization Hezbollah has largely escaped notice. Not surprising since the U.S. government considers Hezbollah as somehow now being an “ally” in the war against ISIS (even though it is still listed as a terrorist organization by the U.S. State Department). Obviously Hezbollah is very much against ISIS, but for its own reasons. At any rate, this does not change its strategy of trying to find networks in securing funding for its activities.

According to the National Defense University, Hezbollah has long operated illicit networks in Argentina, Brazil and Paraguay. Now it is expanding into the drug trade. Through this Hezbollah intends to fund its activities in the Middle East. But sadly this also means that they are becoming involved in the same drug trade that is poisoning so many people in Latin America and in the United States as the majority of the illicit drugs flow into this country. Hezbollah has long drawn support for its purposes from some of those Lebanese immigrants who had made parts of Latin America their home. But now it has gone beyond that as it tries to secure a larger base of support in South America for securing funding.

What does this mean for the United States? It means that indirectly (and maybe not indirectly) Iran is becoming a player in Latin America. It means that Iran may back governments and movements in South America that are detrimental to not only the national security of the United States but also so many governments in South America. Even with the establishment of diplomatic ties between the United States and Iran, and the lifting of economic sanctions against Iran by the United States, this does not guarantee a smooth and allied relationship between the United States and Iran, and does not change the overall nature of Hezbollah’s networking in Latin America.

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