September 08, 2003

IT'S FROM LAST WEEK, but this UPI report on terrorists and Venezuela is worth noting:

Intelligence agencies are investigating links between Islamic terrorist networks and the Venezuelan government. While U.S. counter terrorist efforts in Latin America have until now tended to concentrate on the "tri border area" of Brazil, Paraguay and Argentina, it's believed that al-Qaida suicide bombers could also be hiding in Venezuela.

Investigators name two Venezuelan based al-Qaida suspects: Hakim Mamad Al Diab Fatah who was deported from the U.S. on suspicion of involvement with the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks and Rahaman Hazil Mohammed Alan who is jailed in the U.K. for smuggling an explosive device onto a British Airways flight. American and British officials complain that their investigations are stymied because the government of President Hugo Chavez has dismantled U.S.-trained intelligence units which tracked terrorist connections among the half-million strong Venezuelan Arab community.

Chavez has instead brought in Cuban and Libyan advisors to run his security services according to American, British and other European diplomatic officials in Caracas.

That's comforting.