Iran continues to expand its presence in Central and South American taking advantage of its already close relationship with Venezuela’s despot Presidente Hugo Chavez, a top U.S. general said Friday as he described developments within the U.S. Southern Command to U.S. Senators.
Air Force General Douglas Fraser, commanding officer of the U.S. Southern Command, said Iran has significantly increased the number of Iranian embassies in the region while building “cultural centers” and mosques in more than 15 Latin American countries.
Gen. Fraser reported to the Senate Armed Services Committee that military intelligence confirmed that Iran hosted heads of state from three countries: Bolivia, Guyana and Venezuela.
This was not the first time U.S. Senators from both parties were warned about Latin America’s vulnerability to radical Islam. In 2007, the Bush Administration’s chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Marine General Peter Pace, warned members of the Senate Armed Services Committee that elements of radical Islamic groups were active in South America recruiting and training terrorists.