Citing "overwhelming" evidence and recent federal reports that confirm growing ties between Venezuela and international drug trafficking networks, Republican members of Congress have this week asked the Obama administration to put the oil-producing country on the list of nations that require monitoring because they pose a security risk.
In separate statements, Florida's Reps. Connie Mack and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen cited, among other reasons, the relationship between Caracas and the Islamic regime in Iran and with the FARC rebels in Colombia, both considered by the United States as entities that sponsor global terrorism.
Mack, who represents a district in Fort Myers, said that "the evidence that links Venezuela with some of the most dangerous terrorist organizations is overwhelming." He cited the refusal of the government of President Hugo Chávez to implement in Venezuelan airports the measures demanded by the Transportation Security Administration.
He also said that evidence exists that agents from FARC, Hamas and Hezbollah "operate with few restrictions in Venezuela" and that many of those agents use Venezuelan passports to travel abroad.
"There is no doubt that the potential threat to [U.S.] security from Venezuela is extremely high," Mack stated, at the same time he demanded that the Obama administration include Venezuela on the list of terrorist-sponsoring nations "without delay."
This is not the first time that Mack has promoted this type of initiative. On Oct. 28, 2009, he introduced a resolution in Congress, together with his fellow congressman from Florida Ron Klein, to include Venezuela on the list of terrorism sponsors. That proposal had gone nowhere, until now.
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