2008: Iran's growing commercial ties
with Venezuela are bringing with it Iranian intelligence operatives and Hezbollah
members seeking to expand Islamic radical operations in South America.
Hezbollah has long had a foothold in several local Arab immigrant communities
in South America. But Venezuela gives them a secure local base of operations. It
is feared that Hezbollah and Iran will seek to carry out terror attacks against
Israeli and Jewish targets in South America, using these new Venezuelan bases. Iran
has done this in the past, but backed off when local police came down hard, and
the diplomatic fall out proved to be too intense.
2008: Two bombs went off in supermarkets
in the capital, but there were no injuries. This may not even be a FARC attack,
but merely a commercial dispute (the stores are French operated, and providing
stiff competition for locals, and a large target for criminal gangs seeking
extortion opportunities.) Such tactics are a side-effect of over half a century
of civil disorder and civil war. The rule of law has been trampled on for so
long, it's taking a while to restore a civil society.
2008: The economy continues to grow,
with oil production up ten percent (to nearly 600,000 barrels a day) in the
last year, and natural gas production up nearly 20 percent. FARC and ELN efforts
to sabotage energy production have not succeeded. These two leftist organizations are still
slipping further towards complete destruction. Leftist supporters in North America
and Europe have been unable to get the police and military pressure off FARC and ELN, especially with so many damning
documents, and former terrorists, showing up and providing endless accounts of
leftist atrocities. The violence was pretty bad all around, but most Colombians
just want it all to stop. However, too many of the leftist rebels know no other
life, or are intoxicated with the wealth available from the cocaine trade. The
fighting is going to continue for a while, perhaps 5-10 more years.
2008: A bomb went off in the
northwestern town of Ituango, during a festival, killing seven and wounding
over fifty (mostly children). FARC was suspected, because the leftist rebels
have been terrorizing the region for a while, and such bombings are
increasingly popular with FARC (which no longer has the manpower to attempt a
takeover of a disputed town.) This is the worst FARC terror attack so far this