ALBA professes commitment to regional economic integration. It promises easy money to beleaguered nations, and is viewed as an easy alternative to the bureaucracy encumbering the World Bank.
A closer look, however, reveals it to be a bloc devoted above all to anti-Americanism, and comprised of members who have rigged elections to avoid losing power.
Moreover, membership in alba brings countries into common cause with the world’s most destabilizing nations and most malicious terrorist groups. The organization has forged ties with Middle Eastern terrorists that could pose a serious threat not only to Latin American countries, but also to the U.S. and Canada.
The man most responsible for alba’s spread is Hugo Chávez. His checkbook has wide ideological and cultural appeal in Latin America and the Caribbean. Chávez gave nearly $200 million to Manuel Zelaya’s government in Honduras to help his illegal attempt at re-election. Every year, he gives Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega around $500 million in “free” money to prop up his dictatorship.
Under alba’s umbrella, leading politicians have become the Caribbean’s and Latin America’s new breeders of crime. And since politicians at the highest levels are in on the action, reporting on alba-Hezbollah ties is rare. But some reports fight their way through the conspiratorial haze.
In August of 2008, for example, the Los Angeles Times reported that an unnamed Western official had said Venezuela was providing Iran-backed Hezbollah with a base of operations. The official warned that Hezbollah is able to move “people and things” into Latin America thanks to the warm Iran-Venezuela relationship. He said this link “preserves the capability of Hezbollah and the [Islamic] Revolutionary Guard [Corps] to mount attacks inside Latin America,” and added “It’s becoming a strategic partnership.”
“There is a Chávez terror network on America’s doorstep,” says Rebecca Theodore, senior editor of Caribbean News Now.
Theodore said the danger of terrorists entering the U.S. via Latin America and the Caribbean is imminent. “It won’t be long before Iranian terrorists with Venezuelan and Dominican passports stand in line and show their documents to U.S. border agents as well,” she said.
The thickening alliance between anti-U.S. alba nations and West-hating terrorist groups like Hezbollah casts dark shadows across both Americas. It reveals that the Middle Eastern extremists who oppose the U.S. are becoming better connected, more powerful, and closer to America’s borders. It also reveals that U.S. influence is rapidly waning in a region it relies on heavily for industrial cooperation.