[Ed. – Worth the read. One note: Bensman emphasizes that the State Department report affirms no presence of international terrorist bases in Mexico in 2017. But he also seems to be thinking in terms of — mainly — groups like Hezbollah, and probably Hamas and Al Qaeda. An ISIS camp right on the U.S. border, literally yards from New Mexico and close to El Paso, Texas, was reported by Mexican authorities and known to U.S. authorities in 2014, but Bensman doesn’t mention it at all. Apparently, neither does the State Department report. That is extremely interesting.]
The U.S. State Department released its annual “Country Reports on Terrorism” last month, looking back on the year 2017. The information about Hezbollah in Latin America had to be stitched together from tidbits here and there in its 340 pages (the entirety of which can be read here). What gives this information more gravitas than other sources about Hezbollah in Latin America is that State Department analysts put it in, and it survived internal review processes. Decent intelligence probably backs it up.
For starters, Hezbollah has indeed “maintained an interest in the region” through 2017, primarily “in financial and fundraising activities.” The report also hints at darker Hezbollah pursuits in the region. Countries where Hezbollah has been active in recent years include Brazil, Paraguay, Peru, Panama, Bolivia, and Argentina. …
It’s long been reported that Hezbollah operatives once ran thriving money-laundering and contraband-smuggling enterprises in the largely ungoverned Tri-Border Area where Argentina, Brazil, and Paraguay meet. Well, the State Department at least confirms that’s still happening. “Suspected terrorism financing networks” operated in the zone through 2017, the report said.