Latins, Israel, and Hezb'allah

A conservative website, TruNews, had a commentator ridicule Mike Pompeo for claiming the Hezeb’allah was in Venezuela.

So Mike Pompeo, the other day -- I don’t know if you guys caught this. I had heard it, but it registered today -- that He said that Hezb’allah is making inroads into Venezuela -- TruNews on YouTube  (4:18 -- set to right time)

Though Christian and Conservative, TruNews is critical of Zionism; and it seemed absurd to the speaker that Arab terrorists could be infiltrating South America. For those unaware, it might indeed seem crazy that Hezb’allah would be moving into South America. The culture, the religion, and the history are seemingly quite foreign to Islamic interests.

However, as I have shown on my website, LatinArabia.com, Arab influence is quite enormous in Latin America, and has been around for roughly a century. As early as 1947, the Palestinians in Chile were politically powerful enough to dissuade a pro-Zionist Chilean government from voting for a partition of the British mandate, allowing for a Jewish state.

Instead, Chile abstained.

Today, Honduras, El Salvador, and Chile all have sizable and powerful Palestinian populations.  In Chile’s case, their influence has distorted the politics of the country.

The Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement (BDS), an initiative that seeks to eliminate Israel as a Jewish state, is more solidly anchored in Chile than anywhere else in Latin America. The fact that there are 400,000 Chilean citizens of Palestinian descent whose numbers and economic, political, and media power are growing only begins to explain the ongoing problem. --- AJC, Global Jewish Advocay

Of course, we must also remember that Brazil is about 7% Arabic, while 9% of Argentines have some Arab ancestry. Venezuela may be 5% Arab by blood. (Click Here).  In fact, the numbers given by AJC, in the quote above, are probably low. I estimate 500,000 Chileans have some measure of Palestinian descent, while 300,000 more Chileans have other Arab ancestries. Other countries have similar numbers.

For those still unaware of how far this had gone:

In 2016, Hezb’allah registered as a political party in Peru.

During the Obama Administration, Saudi Arabia (at that time) and Iran (by means of HispanTV) were spreading their influence all over Latin America.  HispanTV was launched with a welcome from Hugo Chavez.

[Iran's] primary goal is to form a united ideological and political front with Venezuela against what the two countries perceive to be American unilateralism." Milani, who testified before Congress in 2009 about Iran-Venezuela relations, adds that "Iran wants to have a visible presence in America's own backyard." --  PBS (2012)

In the case of Venezuela, Hezb’allah is allowed to control an island in the Caribbean.

The holiday island of Isla de Margarita, situated in the Caribbean Sea, has one of the most beautiful beaches of Venezuela and breathtaking scenery. It is here, on the island of exquisite hotels and a glamorous nightlife, that the US military's Southern Command has reported the presence of Hezbollah's support and logistics cells -- one of the most important centers of "terrorist gathering" and "money laundering activities" for Hezb’allah. -- Gatestone Institute

Venezuela and Hezb’allah? (2017)

Now to be sure, neither Iran nor Saudi Arabia expected Islam to take over South America. Even the Arabs in Latin America are mostly Christian -- usually over 90% among the Arab demographic. The anti-Israel Palestinians in Chile are an astounding 99% Christian. Moreover, Latin culture is too centered on wine, women, and dance for Islam to have made serious inroads. But with that notable and powerful Arab population, South America could be persuaded to support Arab and anti-Zionist causes, apart from Islam. And Hezb’allah has also taken advantage of another sad Latin tradition to make money from drug trafficking.

While Jewish groups are known in South America, they have nowhere near the influence they have in the United States. There is no equivalent of AIPAC looming large over Latin politics. Rather it is Palestinian politicians who hold clout in South America, especially in Chile.

Erekat applauds Chile for standing by Palestinian rights -- MEMO (2018)

The Chilean congress approved this week a resolution calling for its government to boycott Israeli settlements in any future agreement with Israel and to reexamine past agreements.

The resolution passed with 99 congressmen voting in its favor, seven voting against it and 30 abstaining. -- Haaretz

The Chilean boycott resolution, however, may run into legal issues over discrimination, according to the Chilean National Comptroller; but still the lopsided vote shows who has influence in Chile.

Yet, now with Maduro’s impending collapse, Iranian influence may soon be gone. So what happened? How did Venezuela, Hezb’allah, and Iran screw this up?

Venezuela’s self-declared leader Juan Guaido he was working to restore ties with Israel that Caracas cut off a decade ago in solidarity with the Palestinians. -- Reuters

Guaidó adviser: Israel can help us remove Hezb’allah, Iran -- Israel Hayom

The unsung hero in all of this is not American or Israeli preparations. Indeed, America dropped the ball during the Obama Administration. Even Israel was largely remiss.

Today, most of South America, except Bolivia, seems united against Venezuela. Brazil seems on the verge of intervening.

Brazil’s far-right President Jair Bolsonaro said on Thursday he would do all he could to “to re-establish order and democracy” in Venezuela, while his foreign minister met with Venezuelan opposition leaders. -- Reuters

The drop in the price of oil due to American fracking certainly helped. It bankrupted Venezuela and caused economic disruption in Saudi Arabia and Iran. But that is not sufficient to explain what we see in South America, where the Latin countries have historically rallied around any anti-American regime. Now, many of them are leading the charge against Venezuela.

Rather, the real hero is the Evangelical Revival that has taken South America by storm.  Chile is now about 14% Evangelical. Argentina is about 9%, and Brazil is roughly one quarter Evangelical and growing. Indeed, Evangelicals are expected to outnumber Catholics in Brazil by 2030.

Catholics [are] projected to become a religious minority [in Brazil] by 2030... -- The Atlantic

The Evangelicals in South America are strongly Zionist and have already had a massive influence on the politics of Brazil. The present president of Brazil, Jair Bolsonaro, has a wife and son who converted to Evangelicalism.

And even though Bolsonaro hasn’t renounced his Catholicism -- he calls himself a Catholic who, for 10 years, attended the Baptist church -- evangelical leaders like Silas Malafaia are ready to offer him their support as someone who can put the country back on track. Bolsonaro’s wife and son are evangelical, which so far has given him just enough credibility to navigate the evangelical community. -- The Atlantic

Like Trump, Bolsonaro has a deep state which is working against him and his pro-Israel policies. But even though the Brazil’s vice-president has contradicted him...

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro [is] likely to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital during his visit -- Jewish News Syndicate

While America and Israel were dropping the ball, another agency was maintaining watch over developments. It seems that even in South America, “He that keepeth Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep.” Psalms 121:4

Mike Konrad is the pen name of an American who wishes he had availed himself more fully of the opportunity to learn Spanish better in high school, lo those many decades ago.  He runs a website, Latin Arabia, about the Christian Arab community in South America.

A conservative website, TruNews, had a commentator ridicule Mike Pompeo for claiming the Hezeb’allah was in Venezuela.

So Mike Pompeo, the other day -- I don’t know if you guys caught this. I had heard it, but it registered today -- that He said that Hezb’allah is making inroads into Venezuela -- TruNews on YouTube  (4:18 -- set to right time)

Though Christian and Conservative, TruNews is critical of Zionism; and it seemed absurd to the speaker that Arab terrorists could be infiltrating South America. For those unaware, it might indeed seem crazy that Hezb’allah would be moving into South America. The culture, the religion, and the history are seemingly quite foreign to Islamic interests.

However, as I have shown on my website, LatinArabia.com, Arab influence is quite enormous in Latin America, and has been around for roughly a century. As early as 1947, the Palestinians in Chile were politically powerful enough to dissuade a pro-Zionist Chilean government from voting for a partition of the British mandate, allowing for a Jewish state.

Instead, Chile abstained.

Today, Honduras, El Salvador, and Chile all have sizable and powerful Palestinian populations.  In Chile’s case, their influence has distorted the politics of the country.

The Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement (BDS), an initiative that seeks to eliminate Israel as a Jewish state, is more solidly anchored in Chile than anywhere else in Latin America. The fact that there are 400,000 Chilean citizens of Palestinian descent whose numbers and economic, political, and media power are growing only begins to explain the ongoing problem. --- AJC, Global Jewish Advocay

Of course, we must also remember that Brazil is about 7% Arabic, while 9% of Argentines have some Arab ancestry. Venezuela may be 5% Arab by blood. (Click Here).  In fact, the numbers given by AJC, in the quote above, are probably low. I estimate 500,000 Chileans have some measure of Palestinian descent, while 300,000 more Chileans have other Arab ancestries. Other countries have similar numbers.

For those still unaware of how far this had gone:

In 2016, Hezb’allah registered as a political party in Peru.

During the Obama Administration, Saudi Arabia (at that time) and Iran (by means of HispanTV) were spreading their influence all over Latin America.  HispanTV was launched with a welcome from Hugo Chavez.

[Iran's] primary goal is to form a united ideological and political front with Venezuela against what the two countries perceive to be American unilateralism." Milani, who testified before Congress in 2009 about Iran-Venezuela relations, adds that "Iran wants to have a visible presence in America's own backyard." --  PBS (2012)

In the case of Venezuela, Hezb’allah is allowed to control an island in the Caribbean.

The holiday island of Isla de Margarita, situated in the Caribbean Sea, has one of the most beautiful beaches of Venezuela and breathtaking scenery. It is here, on the island of exquisite hotels and a glamorous nightlife, that the US military's Southern Command has reported the presence of Hezbollah's support and logistics cells -- one of the most important centers of "terrorist gathering" and "money laundering activities" for Hezb’allah. -- Gatestone Institute

Venezuela and Hezb’allah? (2017)

Now to be sure, neither Iran nor Saudi Arabia expected Islam to take over South America. Even the Arabs in Latin America are mostly Christian -- usually over 90% among the Arab demographic. The anti-Israel Palestinians in Chile are an astounding 99% Christian. Moreover, Latin culture is too centered on wine, women, and dance for Islam to have made serious inroads. But with that notable and powerful Arab population, South America could be persuaded to support Arab and anti-Zionist causes, apart from Islam. And Hezb’allah has also taken advantage of another sad Latin tradition to make money from drug trafficking.

While Jewish groups are known in South America, they have nowhere near the influence they have in the United States. There is no equivalent of AIPAC looming large over Latin politics. Rather it is Palestinian politicians who hold clout in South America, especially in Chile.

Erekat applauds Chile for standing by Palestinian rights -- MEMO (2018)

The Chilean congress approved this week a resolution calling for its government to boycott Israeli settlements in any future agreement with Israel and to reexamine past agreements.

The resolution passed with 99 congressmen voting in its favor, seven voting against it and 30 abstaining. -- Haaretz

The Chilean boycott resolution, however, may run into legal issues over discrimination, according to the Chilean National Comptroller; but still the lopsided vote shows who has influence in Chile.

Yet, now with Maduro’s impending collapse, Iranian influence may soon be gone. So what happened? How did Venezuela, Hezb’allah, and Iran screw this up?

Venezuela’s self-declared leader Juan Guaido he was working to restore ties with Israel that Caracas cut off a decade ago in solidarity with the Palestinians. -- Reuters

Guaidó adviser: Israel can help us remove Hezb’allah, Iran -- Israel Hayom

The unsung hero in all of this is not American or Israeli preparations. Indeed, America dropped the ball during the Obama Administration. Even Israel was largely remiss.

Today, most of South America, except Bolivia, seems united against Venezuela. Brazil seems on the verge of intervening.

Brazil’s far-right President Jair Bolsonaro said on Thursday he would do all he could to “to re-establish order and democracy” in Venezuela, while his foreign minister met with Venezuelan opposition leaders. -- Reuters

The drop in the price of oil due to American fracking certainly helped. It bankrupted Venezuela and caused economic disruption in Saudi Arabia and Iran. But that is not sufficient to explain what we see in South America, where the Latin countries have historically rallied around any anti-American regime. Now, many of them are leading the charge against Venezuela.

Rather, the real hero is the Evangelical Revival that has taken South America by storm.  Chile is now about 14% Evangelical. Argentina is about 9%, and Brazil is roughly one quarter Evangelical and growing. Indeed, Evangelicals are expected to outnumber Catholics in Brazil by 2030.

Catholics [are] projected to become a religious minority [in Brazil] by 2030... -- The Atlantic

The Evangelicals in South America are strongly Zionist and have already had a massive influence on the politics of Brazil. The present president of Brazil, Jair Bolsonaro, has a wife and son who converted to Evangelicalism.

And even though Bolsonaro hasn’t renounced his Catholicism -- he calls himself a Catholic who, for 10 years, attended the Baptist church -- evangelical leaders like Silas Malafaia are ready to offer him their support as someone who can put the country back on track. Bolsonaro’s wife and son are evangelical, which so far has given him just enough credibility to navigate the evangelical community. -- The Atlantic

Like Trump, Bolsonaro has a deep state which is working against him and his pro-Israel policies. But even though the Brazil’s vice-president has contradicted him...

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro [is] likely to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital during his visit -- Jewish News Syndicate

While America and Israel were dropping the ball, another agency was maintaining watch over developments. It seems that even in South America, “He that keepeth Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep.” Psalms 121:4

Mike Konrad is the pen name of an American who wishes he had availed himself more fully of the opportunity to learn Spanish better in high school, lo those many decades ago.  He runs a website, Latin Arabia, about the Christian Arab community in South America.