In his most recent congressional testimony the State Department’s Assistant Secretary for Western Hemisphere Affairs Arturo Valenzuela successfully managed to outline Obama Administration policy for Latin America without once mentioning Hugo Chavez or Iran. Such a glaring omission speaks volumes about the Obama readiness to “speak no evil” and bury its concerns about Iran’s cooperation with Venezuela in classified intelligence briefs safely removed from public scrutiny.
Fortunately, independent researchers, undaunted by the silence of the intelligence community and unfazed by upbeat diplomatic rhetoric, continue to expose the growing ties between Iran and Venezuela via drug, terror, nuclear, and anti-American connections.
In a recent policy paper by former National Security Council official Dr. Norman Bailey concluded: “Iranian participation in drug trafficking through Venezuela to Central America, Mexico, the United States, the Caribbean and to Europe through West Africa is extensive.” Bailey warned that “Iranian penetration into the Western Hemisphere is indeed a security threat to the United States and the rest of the Hemisphere.”
Investigative reporter Douglas Farah, who has devoted more than a decade to exposing global international criminal and terrorist regularly describes the drug-terror-nuclear pipeline that runs between Caracas and Tehran. He focuses on Iranian-Venezuelan preparations for asymmetrical warfare and their mutual “hatred of the United States and desire to see it disappear from the face of the earth.” Farah warns it would be “imprudent to dismiss this alignment [between Iran and Venezuela] as an annoyance. It is, instead, a direct and growing threat to the United States and Latin America.”
Former Ambassador to the OAS and Assistant Secretary for the Western Hemisphere Roger Noriega has highlighted the budding nuclear relationship between Iran and Venezuela as did Manhattan district attorney Roger M. Morgenthau.
Heritage Foundation research has also highlighted Chavez terrorist links and readiness to make Caracas a Mecca for would-be and actual terrorists.
Warns senior scholar Dr. Jaime Suchlicki of the University of Miami, “the lessons of the Cuban missile crisis of 1962 should increase our uneasiness about Chavez’s adventurism and Iranian motivations in Latin America.
Unfortunately, just as the Obama Administration gears up for a showdown with Iran over its nuclear weapons program, it steadfastly refuses to acknowledge the emerging Iran-Venezuela threat in Latin America.