“The Iranian-backed terrorist organization Hezbollah is expanding its influence in Latin America with the aid of Hugo Chavezâ€™s Venezuela, according to testimony before the Committee on Homeland Security.
At a July 7 committee meeting, Roger Noriega â€” former American ambassador to the Organization of American States â€” said Hezbollah has been establishing alliances with Mexican and other drug cartels.
Noriega told the committee that the Venezuelan government is encouraging Hezbollah activities in several Latin American nations. A key operative in the Hezbollah network, he pointed out, is the second highest ranked diplomat in the Venezuelan embassy in Syria, Ghazi Nassereddine.
Also appearing before the committee was Douglas Farah, senior fellow at the International Assessment and Strategy Center. He said Hezbollah is helping to build tunnels used by drug smugglers along the U.S.-Mexican border.
These tunnels could be used to smuggle terrorists and weapons of mass destruction into the United States, he warned.
Ilan Berman, vice president of the American Foreign Policy Council, told the committee that Hezbollah has established terrorist training camps in Venezuela and is setting up a camp in Mexico to illegally infiltrate operatives into the U.S.
According to Berman, Hezbollah already has a presence in 15 American cities.”