We knew that Hugo Chavez's Venezuela hosted numerous terrorist groups like Hezb'allah, FARC, and even al-Qaeda.
Now those groups have opened satellite camps in Brazil, according to a leading news magazine:
Veja magazine, in its online edition, reported that at least 20 people affiliated with al Qaeda as well as the Lebanese Shi'ite Muslim group Hezbollah, the Palestinian group Hamas and two other organizations have been hiding out in the South American country.
The magazine said these operatives have been raising money and working to incite attacks abroad. The magazine cited Brazilian police and U.S. government reports, but did not give details on specific targets or operations.
The United States has said Islamic militants have been operating in the border region between Brazil, Paraguay and Argentina. Brazil has denied this, while saying it is aware that some members of Brazil's Lebanese community legally transferred funds to the Middle East.
It doesn't take many terrorists to plot a devastating attack as 9/11 proved. What is disturbing is that the Brazilian government appears not to be taking the threat seriously:
Veja reported that a Lebanese man named Khaled Hussein Ali, who has lived in Brazil since 1998, is an important member of al Qaeda's propaganda operation and has coordinated extremists in 17 countries.
He was briefly arrested in Brazil in March 2009 after a police investigation that found videos and texts directed at al Qaeda followers. One email found on his computer and sent as spam to email addresses in the United States incites hatred against Jews and blacks, Veja said.
He spent 21 days in prison on charges of racism, inciting crime and gang formation, but was set free because prosecutors did not pursue the charges in court, Veja said.
The fact that he spent only 21 days in prison despite his known terrorist connections should give us pause when helping Brazil's economy.