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Appearing before The Orthodox Union Presidential Forum in a Boca Raton, FL synagogue on Monday, January 30, 2012, former Senator Rick Santorum (R-PA) stated that, “When President Ahmadinejad recently toured the capitals of Venezuela, Cuba, Nicaragua and Ecuador, it was not a form of cultural diplomacy; it was primarily to increase the tempo of preparations for the war against America.” He then added, “It is long past time for us to respond, but instead our president declares imminent victory.”
While Ahmadinejad is the visible figurehead representing the Iranian regime, it is Hezbollah, Iran’s terrorist sub-contractor, which is creating cells throughout Latin America and, inside the U.S. as well. Shortly after the Second Lebanon war between Israel and Hezbollah, the U.S. House Foreign Affairs Committee held hearings on the Global Reach of Hezbollah’s cells. The Committee heard testimony regarding the capabilities of Hezbollah to attack the U.S. and other western targets. The protocol from the hearing clearly established Hezbollah’s “wide reaches” under the military leadership of Imad Mugniyah, who was assassinated in February 2008 in Damascus, Syria.
U.S. Representative Ed Royce, Chairman of the International Terrorism and Nonproliferation Subcommittee, had this to say during the hearings: “Hezbollah isn’t just a menace to Israel, Lebanon and the region. According to the State Department terrorism report, Hezbollah has ‘established cells in Europe, Africa, South America, North America, and Asia.’ “One witness,” Rep. Royce continued, “will tell us that Hezbollah’s organizational and logistic network exists in over 40 countries; this includes a significant presence in our own hemisphere, in the tri-border region of Paraguay, Argentina and Brazil. The network operates in West Africa, where Hezbollah has been active trading ‘blood diamonds,’ an issue the Africa Subcommittee explored when I chaired it.
Rep. Royce added, “Many Americans may be surprised to learn that Hezbollah’s global reach includes significant activities on U.S. soil.” Royce characterized Hezbollah as posing a “grave threat” and, he repeated a statement made by a former Deputy Secretary of State in 2002 that, “Hezbollah may be the A-team of terrorists and maybe al-Qaeda is actually the B-team.” He added, “Hezbollah’s lethality is magnified by the support it receives from state sponsors of terrorism, primarily Iran.”
U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State on Terrorism Frank Urbanchik testified at the same hearings that the U.S. is particularly concerned over the close ties between Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez and Iran’s terrorist tool – the Hezbollah.
Addressing retirees at The Villages in FL on January 29, 2012, Republican presidential contender Newt Gingrich referred to President Obama saying, “He lives in a fantasy world where there are no enemies” and, he characterized the president’s perception of Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez as “just misguided people with whom he has not yet had coffee.” Gingrich went on to say, “We watched him go see Hugo Chavez and we watched him smile and be friendly while Chavez deliberately, cynically and insultingly gave him an anti-American book and Obama didn’t have a clue he’d been insulted. You know, Ahmadinejad, the dictator of Iran, says that he wants to wipe out Israel and drive America out of the Middle East. Now, as a historian, I have a pretty good sense of what that means. It means he wants to wipe out Israel, and drive America out of the Middle East. But if I were a left-wing Harvard Law graduate surrounded by really clever left-wing academics, I would know that this is actually a sign that Ahmadinejad probably had a bad childhood…”
The Associated Press reported on Tuesday, January 31, 2012 that “Iran’s president lauded his country’s newly launched Spanish-language satellite TV channel, saying it would deal a blow to “dominance seekers” — remarks that were an apparent jab at the U.S. and the West.”
The launch is Tehran’s latest effort to reach out to Iran-friendly governments in Latin America and comes on the heels of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s four-nation tour of the region earlier in January, which included stops in Cuba and visits to Venezuela, Nicaragua and Ecuador.
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