In the Senate Armed Services Committee this week, U.S. Senator George LeMieux (R-FL) raised concerns about international connections being formed between Venezuela and Iran, saying it is important for the U.S. to be proactive rather than reactive to potential terrorist threats coming from unstable, non-democratic areas in Latin America.
"With everything else going on in the world, we have fallen behind on preventing the potential gathering storm of terrorist activity from growing in unstable parts of Latin America," LeMieux said. "The hemisphere is important to us not only from a trade perspective, but also from an emerging democracy perspective. The presence of these terrorist organizations gives me great cause for concern and more focus should be put on preventing those areas from becoming a hot-bed for terrorist activity".
Dr. William Perry, former Secretary of Defense and now Defense Review Panel co-chair, agreed with Senator LeMieux's comments about Latin America. "We have substantial security interests in Latin America, and I strongly urge that we strengthen our focus on those areas," Perry said.
Senator LeMieux, who was last in Latin America in February, has used his position as a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee to focus on security issues related to the Western Hemisphere.