Reports of a possible Hezbollah terror attack in Latin America seem to have their origin in a news story Thursday in the influential Italian newspaper, Corriere della Sera.
The report comes a few days before Iranian diplomats meet with representatives of six world powers to discuss Tehran’s nuclear aims. The Italian newspaper story said that the likely targets of such an attack would be Brazil, Colombia or Bolivia.
The report is being distributed widely by organizations linked to Israel, which would be the prime target of any Iranian nuclear missile.
The report generated some reaction here when Mauricio Borashi, the Costa Rican national security adviser, confirmed that the report had been noted here that some form of alert had been issued to law enforcement.
Costa Rica’s wide open borders and its limited intelligence capability makes the country a prime location for all sorts of illegal activities.
There are confirmed Hezbollah organizations to the north in Nicaragua, to the south in Venezuela and, of course, in Communist Cuba. There also are reports of the terror group’s infiltration in Mexico.
None of this should be new to Costa Ricans. Hezbollah and Iranian operatives have been blamed for attacks on the Israeli Embassy in Buenos Aires and on a Jewish center in the early 1990s.
The organization seems to have found support in the tri-border area of Argentina, Paraguay, and Brazil with its substantial Middle Eastern population.
More recently, Iranian officials have made inroads with the current Venezuelan administration. They have instituted direct air flights and also made deals on petroleum.
Officials in Venezuela, Iran, Nicaragua and Cuba all have one desire in common, that of causing trouble for the United States.
Testimony before the U.S. Congress has outlined U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration claims that radical Islamic groups like Hezbollah and Hamas are profiting from the cocaine trade to finance terrorist acts. That was reported HERE a year ago. Costa Rica is a well-known transit country for such drugs.
There also has been some interest shown by Iranian diplomats in a Nicaraguan transcontinental canal. Venezuela also has shown interest in the project.
Until now, Nicaraguan activity at the mouth of the Río San Juan has been interpreted as an effort to open up the silted river for tourism purposes. However, an alternate possibility is that the Nicaraguan military invasion and repeated occupations by Nicaraguan Sandinista youth in the Isla Calero vicinity represent efforts to control the river for some subsequent canal project.
Venezuela has contributed at least one dredge for this project.
The illness of Venezuela President Hugo Chávez may have delayed this project, as well as the $25 billion estimated cost.
Costa Rica has carried its complaints against the Nicaraguan activities to the International Court of Justice in The Hague, Netherlands.
U.S. strategists have expressed concern at the possibility that such a canal might actually be constructed.
The La Estrella newspaper in Panamá said six months ago that the land dispute between Nicaragua and Costa Rica was an indication of the ambitious plan by the three countries to build a canal to rival the existing Panamá Canal. The newspaper attributed some of its information to the Israeli newspaper Haaretz, and to El Universal in Caracas, Venezuela.
These projects pale when compared to the current Iranian nuclear threat. The U.S. ambassador to Israel, Dan Shapiro, said in a speech Friday that the United States has plans in place to attack Iran, if necessary, to keep that country from acquiring nuclear weapons.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Sunday that Iran was expected to deceive and delay in the talks scheduled in Baghdad starting Wednesday.
If war does come to the Middle East, Tehran is expected to activate the cells it has installed in Western nations to to carry out internal attacks.
That would include attacks on U.S. and Israeli embassies, perhaps even those in Latin countries.
Hezbollah will not need Costa Rica as a base for such attacks. U.S. Border Patrol agents a year ago found a book celebrating suicide bombers in the Arizona deserts, presumably dropped by one of the thousands of illegal immigrants who cross into the United States from México.