Some of you may have noticed that we don’t always write about every story that goes around. This has to do with erring on the side of carefulness.
After so many years blogging about Venezuela you develop a sixth sense for BS. The tales surrounding our country’s collapse are sometimes so ludicrous, you tend to stay away from them until you find further confirmation, or the story dies down.
One of the topics that used to seem too far-fetched to believe is the story of how the Venezuelan government is linked to Hezbollah.
People would say that there were terror camps in Margarita and things like that, and we would typically roll our eyes. I think I speak for Quico in that this was a topic classified under “no way I’m going there.”
Well, I’m still not done with Emili Blasco’s book, but all I can say is that I think there are legs to this story. It simply won’t go away. I buy it.
Blasco uses Rafael Isea extensively in his book. Isea is Chávez’s former comrade-in-arms, his former Minister of Finance, and the former governor of Aragua, a crucially important state if there ever was one. In other words, Isea is no Dubraska Mora. He was uña y curruña. Así de cercanos.
Blasco quotes Isea saying that he witnessed a meeting in Damascus where Nicolás Maduro, following orders from Chávez and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, personally set up a scheme through which 300 Hezbollah operatives would go to Venezuela using Venezuelan passports to trade drugs with the FARC in order to shore up the group’s finances. This is no hearsay – Isea claims he was there.
And you know what? I think it’s all true.
It all fits – the mystery flights from Caracas to Damascus, the stories of weird Arabs showing up in unexpected places, the ever closer links with Iran, the chavista deputy who went to Syria to fight for Assad, and now this, an eyewitness account from a high-ranking chavista saying that it’s all true.
Think about it – how many people would have to be wrong or lying for this story not to be true? Blasco, Isea, and several of the world’s intelligence agencies´and media outlets. Furthermore, we would have to believe that the people saying the truth, and that Venezuela’s government is crystal clear, are folks like Diosdado Cabello or Elías Jaua or Tareck El Aissami. It’s Occam’s Razor, everyone.
I explore the Blasco book some more in my latest Transitions piece. Here is the value added:
“Blasco’s book opens with a scene describing an alleged 2007 meeting between Chávez and the high command of the Colombian Marxist guerrilla group, the FARC, deep in rural Venezuela. According to Salazar, Chávez personally concocted a scheme in which the FARC would give the Venezuelan government drugs in exchange for military weaponry and cash. The drugs were to be delivered hidden inside live cattle. The objective of this plot was to weaken the government of Colombia’s then-president — and Chávez nemesis — Álvaro Uribe.
Opposition leader Maria Corina Machado said recently that Maduro is not leading “a political project but, rather, a criminal organization.” If she is right, and the allegations in Blasco’s book are accurate, then the time for quiet acquiescence on the part of Venezuela’s neighbors may soon come to an end – whether they want it or not.”
Some of our readers might be thinkng “duh!” But personally, the idea that the Venezuelan government is indeed – in its entirety, in its nature – a criminal organization is something I’ve grown into, not something I was ready to accept, say, eighteen months ago. Count me as a Hezboll-iever from now on.
67 thoughts on “How I became a Hezboll-iever”
Kudos for one of the best titles for a blog entry! Hezboll-iever…..too clever.
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I have been living in the States for over 25 year and only have an American passport, my Venezuelan passport is expired. I would like to visit my 92 year old mom who just had surgery but cannot enter Vzla till I renew my Venezuelan passport( which will be torture!!!) A country where criminals from different countries are randomly given Venezuelan passports and cedulas to vote for the regime but an actual Venezuelan born does not get access to a passport is a pretty screwed up country….
Same here. If you have the means, and your mom still can fly, meet her in Aruba or another neighboring islands.
Easiest place would be Trinidad because the Caribbean Airways service from Caracas to Port-of-Spain is generally very good and you can access and pay on line via the Carib Airways website or via Expedia or Kayak
Val. No, you don’t need to renew your Venezuelan passport to travel to Venezuela. My Venezuelan wife travels to Venezuela on her Canadian passport.
Why can’t you just use your american passport ?
The Venezuelan passport is required (if you’re a Venezuelan citizen too) regardless of what other nationality you may have.
To avoid future hassles, perhaps.
#1 Because Val would need to get a visa, and so far in has not been easy to do so.
#2 Because Val will be required to present his/her Venz. passport to enter. Which is OK to do so on an expired passport. Val cannot be denied entry into Venezuela, since Val is a citizen.
Once in Venezuela, renew the passport. Even if you can’t, you can still return to the US on your US passport. Then suffer the renewal process here.
The way I read this is that a venezuelan of dual nationality requires an unexpired venezuelan passport to enter and leave the country
Some of us need a faster way to find out the truth.
I believe it. I have also, always, believed that the only way that US troops would ever be on Venezuelan soil is because of perceived or confirmed terrorist threat.
Well, let us say that if this true, the crime would be so big that the culprits will never be punished.
Big criminals always get away with it.
I also believe that the events documented took place. However, this does not imply an intersection of ideology. There exists large scale coordination and cooperation between several totalitarian (or would be totalitarian) governments, among them are Russia, Iran, Venezuela, Brazil, and Argentina to name the big players. They do not share any common ideology, but they are “fellow travelers” in their fight against the modern liberal democratic world. Within this informal cabal, Hezbollah is a puppet of Iran, and as such, is due the same consideration and cooperation.
The world today is engaged in a global Cold War II.
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Isn’t that sapo the son of mario isea (aka el inspector ardilla, who had some bloody grudge against Rosales), the current “journalist puncher ambassador” in Spain?
Heheheheh, that guy must be pulling the few hairs in his head when every venezuelan on the streets calling him “¡epa, padre de traidor!” xD
I understand he is his younger brother, not his son.
Well, then let’s call him “¡epa, helmano e’ traidol!” xD
Corruptzuela y Hezbollah? De Bolah.. It’s no secret that Iran has been infiltrating Latin America for decades, reported by the FBI, Washington post, etc, since the 80’s.
Hasn’t been easy because of the different ideologies and religions. But since Chavismo came in and allied itself with the FARC, more doors opened up, with the common ground of Oil vs. The US Empire..
Ruthless thugs will be thugs. Some pray to a dude named Mohamed, others to Bolivar, Jesusito and la Virgencita, while they steal, oppress, deal drugs and murder. In today’s more “modern” world, they are finding a way to reconcile historic differences, for profit, of course.
You remember the regime went through an antisemitic phase, breaking in Hebraica and putting their minions to attack synagogues.
That coincided with a pro-Iranian phase (tractors, cars, bicycles, etc, remember that?)
BUT now Iran is negotiating with the US to lift sanctions, fighting along with America against ISIS, counterbalancing Sunni Pakistan, helping in Afghanistan…
I don’t know mate, this may be true, but Iran will become a good country soon and all this Hizbollah nonsense will go away harmlessly.
“Iran will become a good country soon and all this Hizbollah nonsense will go away harmlessly.”
Wow! You are an optimist! Sorry, but the Mullahs of Iran are not going to simply retire, any more than the Chavistas are going to call it a day and retire.
As I see it, in terms of Iranian proxies, Assad is way, way worse than Hezbollah. If they’ll help Assad – hell, if they’ll help Iran – why wouldn’t they help Hezbollah?
Frankly, though, I find it easier to believe that it *did* happen – at one point – than that it’s still happening.
This sounds to me like vintage 2006-2009 era Chávez, in his triumphant, expansionist, let’s-take-over-the-world phase, with rising oil prices and a full kitty. How many grandiose projects got announced/launched in that era that were unviable and were quickly forgotten because they just made no sense?
This sounds to me a bit like the Grand Foreign Policy version of the Artificial Islands in the Caribbean or the Train to Argentina: I don’t have any doubt Chávez at one point intended to do it, I don’t even doubt some of our petro-money got thrown away on it, what I do doubt is that it proved viable enough to keep going over time.
Agree. Masburrismo is way too busy right now trying to keep the putrid boat afloat, some Harina pan on the streets and the lights on, than conspiring with Iranian terrorists or drugs. Too busy begging the Chinese for more loans and stealing the next Parla-paja elections.
But for the right amount of Euros, Cabello would do anything, except perhaps selling one of his daughters to Isis.
But, he would be happy to sell someone else’s daughter…
That makes sense to me. The other reason why I don’t see it as a sustained element of the regime’s overall criminal enterprise, is that I don’t see the money in it. Easy money is where the Bolivarian revolution is getting things done and taking a stand.
It’s tempting to jump straight into the Hitler Goebbels big lie stuff, or the Chalabi Judy Miller self-interested expat stuff, but I’m going to leave those with analepsis and make a real argument. And I preface this all by saying I haven’t read the book! I will read it before I make up my mind. But just based on your posts:
This argument is very convincing for people who need no convincing. But you set this post up as how you, as a nonbeliever, were brought over. For me, each of these piece of evidence is very weak and more easily explained (speaking of Occam) by something other than a Chavez-Hezbollah cooperation plot.
In order: Rafael Isea. You’re all “wow even Isea is saying this!” as though he were still on the inside. He’s been on the outs with the Chavistas since he left the Finance Ministry what, 7? years ago. Maybe you don’t remember that he played huge currency games and let his favored banker front-run the whole thing, so as to make millions (maybe hundreds of millions, we’ll never know) of dollars in profit. Isea now has bigger things to worry about, like protecting himself and his family from the fate of the Khadaffi family. So he’s happy to turn in a bigger fish, and he has little to offer, having been out of real power for so long. Go figure that he repeats a story that has been percolating around for years, offering colorful details but (to my knowledge) no documents or other evidence beyond his dubious word. (Or now we’re supposed to trust this guy?)
You mention the “ghost flights.” You need to break out of your info bubble and talk to people in Venezuela’s large Syrian and other Arab community. Real people took the flight at least to Damascus. If tickets weren’t available, that’s because they were so cheap that they were snapped up a year in advance. Or now we’re supposed to believe that price-controls don’t cause scarcity?
The Chavez-Ahmadinejad links can be more easily explained. These guys were very similar: insecure, charismatic anti-imperialist populists leading oil states. If they had ever built an infrastructure (military, civil, commercial) under their friendship, we would see Iran and Venezuela continuing to cooperate today. Instead, with the two out of power, Iran and Venezuela are going their own ways.
The Chavista fighting for Assad, again, shows little or nothing about Chavez allying with Hezbollah. Again, the guy had his own reasons for going, and Chavez and Assad had their reasons for friendship, but none of this indicates that Chavez “went there.”
You vaguely allude to Arabs in strange places. Given the size of Venezuela’s Arab population, it’s stranger to find places without Arabs (and Italians, and Basques, etc).
Finally, there remains the huge argument against this hypothesis. Chávez liked to nag the US but he knew the red lines — he saw Manuel Noriega go down, he saw the post-9/11 world, he knew about the Taliban and Saddam Hussein. He knew what to avoid. A bit of drugs maybe could be tolerated, so long as Venezuela continued to bust some kingpins. And maybe some rhetorical support for the FARC is ok when he thinks no one is looking. But really? A three-way drugs-insurgents-Iran deal that supports terrorism? Isn’t that way too perfect? Isn’t this EXACTLY what Washington wants to hear? A sort of reverse Iran-Contra deal? Everyone likes to project their shame on their opponents, and there are plenty of people in Washington who remain tarred by their involvement in Iran-Contra. This is just too good for them.
Comparing it to Iran Contra, what sort of evidence remains? You remember the voluminous paper trail that Iran Contra produced? Is there a paper trail? Do these people have any evidence? E-mails? Text messages? Anything? If so, great. I’m not saying that it didn’t happen. But I think these claims need at least normal levels of support, and maybe, given the interests at play (as in, possibly being used to justify military action against a country), these claims require extraordinary support.
You say you were skeptical and now are convinced. I know you’re very smart so I take your opinion seriously. But what you’ve shared so far doesn’t sound like enough to convince me. What was the crucial mind-changer here?
Comparing it to Iran Contra, what sort of evidence remains? You remember the voluminous paper trail that Iran Contra produced? Is there a paper trail?
OK, yes, skepticism is warranted, and yes, what we have is well short of what you’d want to call “evidence”, but I find this argument really friggin’ galling.
Of course Iran-Contra produced a mountain of evidence: IT WAS INVESTIGATED BY AN OPPOSITION (DEMOCRAT) LED CONGRESSIONAL COMMITTEE THAT HAD SUBPOENA POWERS and later BY A GODDAMN INDEPENDENT COUNCIL!
¡No joda, así cualquiera!
The whole point is that if Venezuela had any of the institutions it would take to conduct a rigorous, impartial we wouldn’t be having to guess on the basis of fragmentary evidence. Holding our judgement of the Chavez-Hezbollah link to that standard of evidence is a Venezuelanalysis-move, willfully obtuse and just plain obfuscatory.
I say good day, SIR!
I am not asking for the same level of evidence as Iran-Contra. I’m asking for anything beyond the word of a dude trying to save his skin.
Well, we have to wonder – if somebody has joined the Witness Protection Program, what incentives do they have to lie? And if they have those incentives, wouldn’t US authorities be attuned to that? It seems like most of this stuff has already passed the smell test of numerous institutions…
Would someone joining the Witness Protection Program or something similar have any incentive to lie?
Oh, no, not at all. Absolutely not! Please!
Nomen est Rafid Ahmed Alwan al-Janabi
Even if the US does know separation of powers and there are records on a lot of things (not all, as CIA and other agencies do know how to make some pieces of written evidence vanish for good, “by accident”): don’t you think we should have now more evidence? Some?
Isea was governor of Aragua until very recently, so he wasn’t on the outs. He was very much on the ins.
Wasn’t Isea also one of the “favorite sons of chávez”?
It’s the closeness with the dictator what makes so ironic all of this, it’s very similar to Leamsy Salazar’s case, where that guy got promoted just because he put a flag in chimpanflores in april 13, it’s like the symbol against the so-called coup stabbed chavismo in the back.
Well, Blasco does not provide documents of the Hezbollah piece in particular, although I’m not done with the book. But the level of detail that is provided, and the care that Blasco gives to his research tells me that he’s right. He frequently cross-references and cross-checks sources against each other (is that the right term?) throughout the book. It’s still subjective, though – I don’t think the evidence is there to justify, say, a foreign invasion of Venezuela, and this may have been a one-time thing (in fact, maybe the Hezbollah folks never made it to Venezuela), but I find his story credible.
One interesting angle is that Diosdado Cabello apparently used the list of Hezbollah operatives as a bargaining tool with the US in order to get them off his narco-back. In other words, there probably was a piece of paper with the names of the folks, or something, and the US intelligence community (which Blasco has tapped into) believed this was a real problem. I doubt Blasco would put his reputation on the line if the evidence wasn’t pretty strong about this. In the way he tells the story, he doesn’t hedge his bets. He clearly believes this is what transpired.
As for the Iran Air flight, there was no commercial reason for it, no matter how many Syrians live in Venezuela. Most of the testimony about it out there is that the flight came and went relatively empty. It landed in a special part of the airport, and did not go through the same procedures that other flights go through. Yes, people may have used the flight, but that does not mean that it was like boarding an Iberia plane or something. It was weird all around.
One final word: Blasco does hedge his opinions on another issue, the likely date of Chávez’s death, He talks about what different people have said (publicly, and privately), and he concludes that he doesn’t really know when Chávez died. That shows a modicum of caution on his part that he does not use in the Hezbollah story.
Juan, as an aside: I believe it’s enough to say: “He frequently cross-references and cross-checks sources throughout the book.” Otherwise, it’s redundant to say ‘cross-checks sources against each other’.
I do think Chavez provided support to Las FARC but he didn’t need the money why would he ask for drugs?
You can say whatever about Chavez but I don’t think money was his motivation. I do believe he gave support to Iran, Syria, Cuba, and FARC but mostly for political gain. Maybe he let Las FARC roam free in Venezuela and from them some of the Chavistas got in the Drug Business but I don’t see the need of Chavez to get Drugs in return for arms.
“I do think Chavez provided support to Las FARC but he didn’t need the money why would he ask for drugs?”
communists saw in drug trafficking two purposes, easy, fast funding for their expansionist plans (The reason castro came to Venezuela, petrodólares), and a weapon to attack the rest of the world; they consider drugs as “another weapon to destroy capitalism” by destroying the societies.
agree with you on the motivations that drove Chávez to set up and expand on the drug pipeline through Venezuela. The re-routing of the drug trafficking through Vzla, instead of Colombia, was a window of opportunity, given Colombia’s cooperation agreements with the US, insofar as controlling the drug trafficking in the latter country.
If you wanna stop the Hebollah invasion.. feel free to join Leopoldo’s opposition:
We’ll be at the Coconut Grove City Hall:
There’s an international initiative to support Manual Voting in Venezuela on Sunday, May 3rd, at City Halls everywhere.
As some of you may know, elections in
countries like Brasil, Ecuador or Venezuela are being stolen by fraudulent “Smartmatic” machines, created by the Chavez regime (that were fortunately kicked out of the USA)
Please join this effort:
*should read ” stop the Halabola invasion”
I hope that “international initiative to support manual voting” comes with a check (which is what the opposition really needs to fight this regime).
What’s a few hundred dollars for a well-educated, hardworking Venezuelan American anyways….
Well, you can focus on Hezbollah, and flying mangoes. or greasing an already corrupt, Chavista light Mud crap.
I’d rather spend time on real ways to free Vzla. from this regime.
Leopoldo, MCM and the opposition have finally understood that all the talk and crap we hear is futile, if the elections are gonna be stolen every time, and with a corrupt Military. So they are focusing on that now.(Caprilito is still waiting for the memo on some remote pueblito, trusting the next “elections”)
After they steal the laughable “parliamentary” elections, again, people will start to see that the only way will be to go back to manual voting, or give up. Just watch.
We might as well throw in the towel and start calling this the Caracas Enquirer (“enquiring minds need to know!!”)
I wouldn’t start changing my mind about things because some arab looking guys (or even with arabic sounding names, omg) were spotted running around Venezuela, or because there were meetings where agreements were drafted to cooperate with Iran, or, errr, Cuba, on joint military efforts, or because Venezuelan citizens are known to have joined the ranks of one or the other side in Syria.
First, things have been bad on the foreign diplomacy front for a very long time, these guys have been confirming their support for each other for a loooong time.
Second, for heaven’s sakes, why Margarita, are you crazy? Yes, a terrorist training camp on Margarita or anywhere else on Venezuelan soil sounds bad, but Margarita. Come on (I can hear them planning this “that’s the last place they’ll expect us to put it!!”). You’ve been watching too much James Bond. Finally, it’s quite possible that Hezbolla activists like to take vacations without fear of getting blown up by Israel special forces. Why not Venezuela then?
Third, the Iranians are scary and all, as are the Syrians, and but we don’t need no hez-jalabolas – the pranes and the dismal penitentiary system is calamitous enough to call for foreign intervention and beat any “terrorist training camp” at its game.
So I welcome the call for some foreign intervention. Not to sell out my country but a change of regime would be a good thing right around now.
I think when one of Chávez’s one-time trusted advisors, a former Finance Minister, a former governor no less, says he *witnessed* a meeting where the Hezbollah connection was traced (a meeting held by no less than our current President, one who has sent diesel to Bashar Al-Assad) … wekll, that’s much, much more thn simply “some arab looking guys (or even with arabic sounding names, omg) were spotted running around Venezuela” … But everyone is entitled to their own opinion!
The world is full of crazies and unscrupulous chavistas- what’s in that book and the articles you link probably contains a grain of truth.
Maybe you should play detective, pick up the phone and talk to your neighbors:
Dos de los pupilos argentinos de Rabbani operan actualmente en Chile: Sheik Karim Abdul Paz, que estudio con Rabbani en Qom, actualmente es el Imam de un centro cultural islámico en Santiago y Sheik Suhail Assad es Profesor de la Universidad de Santiago. Ambos simpatizan con la causa de Hezbollah.
Oh, and about comparing me to the Enquirer, ¡la tuya por si acaso! ;P
You can always start a Tabloid and call it “El Indagador”. As long as you can find newsprint, that is.
Have you thought about what it was written in the book El Palestino by the Spanish journalist known as Antonio Salas? He addressed this Hezbollah issue when he was inside the Tupamaro movement undercovered and concluded that actual Hezbollah presence in the country was a lie, although ETA’s presence was actually confirmed. It will be interesting if Juan Cristobal could consider what is written in El Palestino just to get another view of the issue.
I will look this up. I think it’s possible they are both right from their perspective – perhaps the Hezbollah operatives never made it into the country, but the negotiations to bring them were real.
Ultimately, what matters isn’t whether or not Hezbollah actually made it to Venezuela, or what they did when they got there. The real issue is whether or not the meeting and the agreement took place. The political consequences of that are almost independent of the actual effect the meeting may have had.
I don’t see how the political consequences of a deal with Hezbollah are worse than the political consequences of the very public alliance with Iran. The only diff. is that the Hezbollah deal was secret, so there’s a nice little frisson of discovery.
But we should be clear what Hezbollah is: it’s basically a lebanese shiite political party and mutual-aid society that runs day-care centers, life insurance schemes, schools and things like that with a military/terrorist arm grafted on.
The civilian party/mutual-aid bit of it seems to be genuinely Lebanese. But the Military/Terrorist arm is almost entirely an Iranian proxy: it does not and could not make operational decisions independently of Tehran, among other things cuz half its operatives work for Iranian intelligence.
How can an alliance with a puppet be thought worse than an alliance with its puppeteer?
“…with a military/terrorist arm grafted on.”
Not quite. The military/terrorist aspect is completely integral. It is one of the vital organs of the organization. In a theocracy, there is no separation between church and state. The state IS the church and church IS the state. Those of us raised on the concepts of modern western liberal democracy have a difficult time grasping the idea that fealty to the State is equivalent to fealty to God. In an Islamic theocracy, warriors for the State are warriors for God. Even the civilian bureaucracy addressing the needs of the population are doing God’s work. There is a temptation amongst westerners to dismiss the religious aspects of the politics in this region. This is a mistake. Religion and politics are inseparable. In all aspects of life, the route to power and success is through the church.
Also, endorsing the religious aspect in political decisions makes them more digestible for the masses, it happened in the middle ages, where kings were supossedly bestowed with divine powers to rule, so the people had to shut up and suck a lemon if they didn’t like it, because it was God the one making the choices through his messenger.
It’s a lot like the personality cult raised here in Venezuela for the corpse, where some idiots came to worship him like a demigod or Christ MKII.
Exactly! You just explained Islam!
That comment was in reply to Roy’s comment.
PS: I lived 10 years in the Middle East: Dubai, Syria, and Saudi Arabia.
I am glad someone else gets it. I doubt that many here did. You really have to experience it to understand.
Reminds me of a student of european history who referring to the old kingdom of Prussia wrote that it wasnt a country with an army but an army with a country , so important was the army in the life of the country !!
Vini vidi vinci as far as the Hezbollah go in Venezuela with many also making the journey upstream on “La Bestia” thru Mexico and disappearing into the EE.UU. which was also part of the plan. Bringing any operatives into the US after 9/11 had to take on new creative routes-this was one of them.
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Tarek Al Aisami’s father and uncle both belonged to the Baath party of Syria. Tarek’s father was the Baath party rep in Venezuela for a long time. The Syrian version of the Baath party is mostly Shi’a.
Tarek was first Vice Minister for “Citizen Security” from 07 to September 08, when he was named interior minister.
It’s easy to imagine how connections between Syria, Hezbollah and Venezuela could have benefited from Tarek’s post as Interior Minister. That ministry is tasked with, among other things, handling the SAIME operations which include issuing passports and id’s.
Even if Tarek was born Druze, the fact the his father and uncle both were Syrian Baath party members and mid level apparatchiks means this was not a big hurdle for them to overcome.
How does this tie in with Hezbollah in Venezuela is still up for debate. What we have are a lot of conjectures and the word of an informant who may or may not be telling the truth.
Yes, Isea’s “confessions” have likely been substantiated by a few alphabet agencies. But these agencies only need for 2 or 3 “stories” to check out for Isea to be valuable to them, not every single confession needs to check out.
“Tarek Al Aisami’s father and uncle both belonged to the Baath party of Syria. Tarek’s father was the Baath party rep in Venezuela for a long time. The Syrian version of the Baath party is mostly Shi’a.”
It’s a bit more complicated than that. The Ba’ath party was founded as an explicitly secular, pan-Arabist party and came to power both in Syria and Iraq. But there was a bitter split between the two branches in the 1960s. The Aissamis are of Syrian origin but their affiliation latterly was to Saddam Hussein’s Ba’ath party, not the Assads’.
Tareck’s father was the representative in Venezuela of the Iraqi party. His uncle, Shibli, was a high-ranking party official in Baghdad.
Saddam was a Sunni, though his government was secular. The Assad family, who are from the Alawite sect, were always closer to the Shias, though have also ruled in a secular fashion. Aissami’s father is (or at any rate was) a firm admirer of Osama bin Laden, also Sunni. So I think it would be wrong to suggest that Tareck has connections with Hezbollah (if he does) because of any Shiite affiliation.
One other thing I know: the Disip (now Sebin) had a longstanding surveillance operation on Margarita Island targeting Islamic radicals. When Chávez came to power it was fairly quickly disbanded (before the 2002 coup at any rate).
An Egyptian/arab proverb (which muslims take to an extreme) reads: “My Brother and I against My Cousin; My Cousin and I against the Stranger,” could explain al-salami loyalties.
Mixing Religion and politics is a very, very old trick. Every “civilization” has used it to some extent, the Chinese, Egyptians, Romans, and everywhere today, even where they pretend there’s perfect separation between church & state.
It’s quite simple: you fool the masses that “God” is either with you, chose you, or at least talks to you and approves everything you do for “him”. Islamic states are just very blunt about it to this day.. others like Chavistas disguise it better: they always talk about Gods and Virgenes and Saints, just watch any speech.. It’s “Dios mio, Jesus, la Virgen, and the occasional references to semi-gods (a Greek preference) like Simon Bolivar.. or now martyrs like Chabruto, our poplucaes brand new Semi-God.
Just for the record, I do not think that Hezbollah has terrorist training camps in Venezuela. Why would they? Latin America has never been fertile ground for conversion to Islam. Islam just doesn’t get any traction here. Neither would it make sense to train fighters from elsewhere in Venezuela. In addition to the logistics train being too long, they tend to favor remote desert wastelands, far from the temptations of earthly pleasures.
What Hezbollah does here, and surely many other terrorist organizations and rogue governments, is launder money. The regime provides them safe haven and cooperation to engage in moving massive amounts of money through all of the various shell companies.
About Real terrorist camps, forget Halabolah,,,,, we have our own, quality Terror Camps. If terror means instilling fear in people to achieve your obscure political objectives, then the entire country of Corruptzuela has become a giant terror camp: where you can’t express your ideas without being threatened, can’t go out without fears of getting killed, are constantly afraid even of your Chavista sapo neighbors. Where you can’t even vote anymore, without being terrorized and with some privacy.
Connect the dots…
What ever happened to Ghazi Nassredine? Wasn’t he in charge of some network that smuggled money from the Tri-Border Area to Hezbolah via Isla Margarita? I recall about a year ago he took the time to write an offended article in Aporrea where he claimed it was the capitalists trying to discredit him.(Even though he’s been on a State Dept terror financing list since 2008)
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