Urge Latin America to Counter Hezbollah & Other Terror Groups

Sign the petition calling on the OAS and its member states to take action.

Image of the aftermath of the AMIA attack

Nearly a quarter-century after Hezbollah and Iran murdered 100 Latin Americans in attacks against the Argentina Jewish community center AMIA, and a Panamanian passenger jet, the threat of Islamist terrorism is once again growing in Latin America.

The lack of a coordinated strategy to counter Hezbollah and other terrorist groups that operate freely in the region endangers all citizens of the Americas, especially its vulnerable Jewish communities.

Sign AJC’s petition urging the Organization of American States (OAS) and its member states to strengthen their fight against terrorism.

H.E. Luis Almagro
Secretary General
Organization of American States (OAS)
Washington, D.C.

Dear Secretary Almagro

We are writing to urge the OAS and its member states to adopt more effective measures to counter terrorism.

We just commemorated the twenty-fourth anniversary of the terrorist attack against the Argentine Jewish Community Center AMIA on July 18, 1994, and the bombing of a passenger jet in Panama the following day. More than 100 Latin Americans were murdered and several hundred more injured in those attacks, both perpetrated by Hezbollah with the support of Iran. Two years earlier, Hezbollah operatives also blew up the Israeli embassy in Buenos Aires, killing 29 civilians.

These atrocities relayed a clear message that remains eerily timely today: Latin America is not immune to Islamist terrorism. Yet despite the conclusive evidence pointing to the responsibility of Hezbollah and Iran, not a single suspect has been brought to justice, no country in the region has designated Hezbollah a terrorist organization, and some nations even continue to maintain close ties with Tehran.

According to reports shared by Interpol and security forces throughout the Western Hemisphere, Hezbollah has established cells and built extensive operational networks in the Americas. These engage in money laundering that finances terrorist activities and builds ties with drug cartels and organized crime syndicates. In addition, Venezuelan embassies in the Middle East have been accused of issuing passports to agents of Hezbollah and Iran, making it easier for them to move freely in South America.

There have been some commendable collective efforts to prevent new attacks, but they are glaringly insufficient. The Tri-border shared by Paraguay, Brazil, and Argentina; the city of Iquique in Chile; Maicao in Colombia; Isla Margarita in Venezuela; and Trinidad and Tobago are examples of areas that are difficult to monitor and where terrorist groups have established strongholds.

We urge the OAS and its member States to:

1) approve and implement updated legislation that identifies global terrorism, including Islamist terrorism, as a specific threat;

2) issue a list of terrorist groups that includes Hezbollah and other similar organizations, in order to make the fight against their criminal actions more effective;

3) optimize coordination between regional and international security and intelligence agencies and allocate more resources to prevent and combat these terrorist groups and their support networks.

These objectives are in line with the numerous declarations and resolutions approved by OAS member states that focus on the coordinated fight against terrorism in the Americas.