Radical Islam makes inroads among Latin America's Native peoples

religion | Feb 21, 2010 | By Martin Barillas

In 2009, Colombian authorities dismantled a network of narcotraffickers linked to Islamist terrorists. Funds derived from the narcotrafficking are believed to have been diverted to Hezbollah – an Islamist terror organization supported by Iran holding sway in areas ostensibly controlled by the Palestinian Authority. It is feared that this consortium of Latin American narcotraffickers and Islamic terror has ties to Mexico as well. While Venezuela and Iran are known to have close diplomatic, strategic, and commercial relations, it is now believed that Iranian agents are working from their nation’s embassy in Colombia where there are believed to be members of the Muslim community that support Hezbollah. Other such activities have also been detected in other Latin countries.

The growth of Hezbollah is due to the strategic alliance reached by enemies of the United States. These are President Ahmadinejad of Iran and President Chavez of Venezuela. The latter has expressed support for the Shiite Muslims in Iran and Syria and allows them free sway in Venezuela – an important source of petroleum to the U.S. The Venezuelan government owns CITGO, a network of gasoline stations and refineries in the U.S.

Islam has shown growth in Latin America, once a monolith of the Catholic faith. For example, the Wayuu Guajira people of Venezuela and Colombians– native Americans who live in the tropical forests – have provided numerous converts to Islam over the last decade and some of them are declared jihadis – warriors for Islam. Efforts to convert native peoples to Islam have been fostered by Iran with investments of money and other resources. Wayuu Guajira Indians are the largest indigenous group in Venezuela and Colombia (about 135,000 in Colombia and 170,000 in Venezuela). On October 23, 2006, the police in the Venezuelan capital found two explosive devices near the American Embassy. One of the bombs was in a box which also contained propaganda brochures for Hezbollah. Hezbollah Latin America claimed responsibility for the attack. Hezbollah Latin America is an organization based in the Wayuu Indian population and also calls itself Autonomia Islamica Wayuu (Wayuu Islamic Autonomy). Its website http:/groups.msn/AutonomiaIslamicaWayuu is written in Spanish and Chapateka (a combination of the Wayuu language and Spanish) and claims activity in Argentina, Chile, Colombia, El Salvador and Mexico.

However, the root of the organization is Venezuela. Their website states, “The brief enjoyment of life on earth is selfish. The other life is better for those who follow Allah.” The members of this group are locals and not Muslim in origin and claim to be Shiites, supporters of Hezbollah and Iran.

Here below is a translation, in part, of a declaration currently being distributed to native peoples in Venezuela:

"Proposed Politico-Military Integration of Fundamentalist Islam and Latin America

As salamu aleikum.

In the name of Allah the Merciful:

The Devil of the North (the United States), Israel and their allies are all enemies of Islam and Allah which have proposed the extermination of Islam, of Muslims, of our sacred places, and the disappearance of our faith. The struggle on the part of this spawn of Satan is against Allah. We Latin American Muslims must take up arms to defend Islam and Muslims. The time for neutrality, passivity and indifference to the conflict in which Islam and Muslims in the world is now over. Latin Muslims today are taking up a leading role in a Latin America Jihad (Holy War) against the West, the enemy of Islam. We Latin Muslims are on the front lines of battle, together with our Arab brethren. If we join them in prayer, with even more reason we should join them in battle in the cause of Allah."

Mexico could figure in as part of Iran’s strategic plans against the U.S. Islamist groups are growing in Mexico, especially in Chiapas – the Mexican state bordering Guatemala. In 1993, a guerrilla movement broke out in Chiapas that was led by the mysterious and still unidentified leader who calls himself “Sub-comandante Marcos.” Native Americans have long been mistreated in Mexico and Guatemala, Peru, and elsewhere and renewed ethnic solidarity has brought to power leaders such as Bolivian President Evo Morales – a native Aymara. Charistmatic leaders such as Morales have vented the many grievances and demands of native Americans who have largely been ignored by political and economic elites in Latin America.

Leftists have long flocked to the Chiapas since then where, following initial bloody conflict between the Mexican army and native peoples, the so-called Zapatista insurrectionists have since been surrounded. There is evidence that the Zapatistas are linked to Mexican narcotraffickers. The southern border of the U.S. has long been derisively called the “Tortilla Curtain" for the ease of penetration of drugs, arms, and illegal aliens introduced by Mexican narcotraffickers such as the so-called “Zetas” and Central America’s “Mara Salvatrucha.”

According to Professor Abdallah Nafisi of Kuwait in a February 2009 conference, the U.S.-Mexico border is uniquely weak and could be penetrated by terrorists wielding biological weapons such as anthrax. He predicted that by ferrying 4 pounds of anthrax laden-powder into the U.S., through one of the many tunnels utilized by narcotraffickers to enter the country, would kill 330,000 Americans within hours. In the same conference, Professor Nafisi added that Allah has established eternal enmity, for example, between Muslims and Jews. Anyone who disagrees is therefore an infidel and must be struck down. Nafisi also mused on the effects of detonating explosives at a nuclear power plant on Lake Michigan.

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Martin Barillas is a former US diplomat and the editor of Spero News.

The views and opinions expressed herein are those of the author only, not of Spero News.

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