U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton late last week urged Latin American countries to “think twice” about establishing links with Iran, which she said is the world’s leading promoter and exporter of terrorism.
Clinton also expressed concern about democratically-elected leaders in Latin America who later move to undermine democratic institutions.
Clinton's remarks warning about Iran came at a State Department public policy forum on Latin America and were some of the strongest by an Obama administration official to date about increasing Iranian activity in the region.
(Ed. Note: Clinton made no mention of terrorism exported by President George W. Bush in the guise of U.S. national defense: CIA terrorists have already been tried and convicted in Italy for torture and kidnapping charges and trials are being considered in several other European states.
(Nor did Clinton mention Bush’s effort to undermine U.S. democratic institutions by radically expanding the scope of presidential authority by legitimatizing torture and forced disappearances, and by limiting judicial oversight of presidential actions. Nor did Clinton explain U.S. President Barack Obama is unwilling to prosecute Bush-era torturers, as required by U.S. and international law.)
Iran has been establishing close political, trade and other relationships with several Latin American governments, underlined by recent visits by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to Brazil, Venezuela and Bolivia.
In a question and answer session with participants in the event, Clinton said the United States has "no problem" with non-Western Hemisphere countries like China having legitimate business and investment activities in Latin America.
But she said US officials are concerned about what she said was Iran's "interest in promoting itself" in countries like Venezuela and Bolivia and said allowing Iranian influence to take root is, in her words, "a very bad idea for the countries involved."
"We hope that there will be recognition that this is the major supporter, promoter and exporter of terrorism in the world today," she said. "The Revolutionary Guard of Iran is increasing its control over the country because of the elections, which were a stark example of the abuse of human rights in action. The Guard is deeply involved in the economy as well as the security issues of Iran.
(Ed. Note: Clinton did not explain why her State Department ratified the June, 2009 coup in Honduras by sanctioning the recent election there – even though most “co-equal” Latin states considered the election a fraud. The coup was led by Honduran oligarchs unhappy with the political leanings of its democratically elected president.)
“And I think that if people want to flirt with Iran, they should take a look at what the consequences might well be for them. And we hope that they will think twice and we're going to support them if they do."
There have been similar expressions of concern from Pentagon officials including Defense Secretary Robert Gates who in Senate testimony earlier this year said he was concerned about Iranian "meddling" in Latin America.
U.S. officials have accused Iran of supporting activities in Latin America of the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah, and Tehran is accused of involvement in the 1990s bomb attacks on a Jewish center and the Israeli embassy in Buenos Aires.
In the policy forum, Clinton also reiterated US "worry" about countries in Latin America where leaders who, after being democratically elected, move to undermine constitutional rule, citing in particular Venezuela and Nicaragua.
"We need to make it absolutely an article of faith that any leader elected must not just further his own position, and his power base, but respect the right of the people who elected him and build up the democracy so that democratic development and economic development can go hand in had," she said.
Clinton said she hoped to see "in the not-too-distant future" a democratic Cuba, which she said would be extraordinarily positive for the Hemisphere.
IDK how I feel. On one hand, it's Iran and Iran sucks, but on the other, it's the US dictating to LA what they can and cannot do, which isn't cool either because LA can and should do whatever the fuck it wants. Interesting article nonetheless.