Earlier this week, the International Herald Tribune reported that Bolivian President Evo Morales met with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in Tehran to reaffirm their strategic relationship. Iran urged Bolivia to up its anti-American and anti-Western positions in exchange for promises to invest “$1 billion in Bolivian oil and gas industry.”
Iran has shown great interest in Latin America. As Dina Siegel Vann noted in the inaugural issue of inFOCUS, “Iranian embassies operate in Cuba, Venezuela, Mexico, Brazil, and Argentina.” Iran seeks to expand diplomatic ties with Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Nicaragua, and Uruguay to exploit the divide between leftist socialist states and the capitalist west.
Jonathan Schanzer also noted in National Review Online last year that Latin America is becoming increasingly susceptible to terrorist groups. Hezbollah operates in the Tri-Border Area. Other Islamist groups inspired by Hezbollah may be surfacing in Trinidad and Suriname.