Yesterday in Washington, D.C, I encountered a Bolivian immigrant named David who had just returned from a trip to La Paz in order to verify that Evo Morales was not in the process of expropriating his house in his absence and who informed me that other world leaders were taking advantage of Morales’ minimal education level to fill in the gaps with their own ideologies. It turned out that the list of usual culprits had been expanded to consist not only of the presidents of Venezuela and Ecuador but that of Iran, as well, whose first ambassador to Bolivia met with Morales this week.
The opening of Iranian diplomatic offices in South America has been of special concern in recent years to the Israeli Foreign Ministry and the U.S. State Department, prompting them to produce such things as “secret reports” about Iranian acquisition of regional uranium and to alert Jewish travelers to their potential kidnapping at the Caracas airport as part of a joint Hezbollah-Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps scheme to transport hostages to Lebanon via the weekly Caracas-Tehran flight on IranAir. (Despite the seeming logistical simplicity of the scheme, it is apparently more difficult to carry out than, for example, assassinations of Hamas leaders in their Dubai hotels.)
My companion David noted that he was not so much concerned by the possibility of reaching Tehran by air from La Paz with only one connection in Damascus but rather by the accumulation of U.S. enemies as Bolivian allies when the country had already been sufficiently incapable of defending itself prior to being taken over by legions of uneducated farmers. A 2009 Jerusalem Post article entitled “The ‘other’ America: A perfect terror breeding-ground”, which takes care to mention the postwar flight of many Nazis to Central and South America, meanwhile explains that “[d]isenfranchised and marginalized regions are prime targets for fundamentalists and fanatics of all kinds” in their recruitment and training endeavors but fails to mention past Israeli training of regional paramilitaries.
As for past cooperation between Iran and South America, Israeli and U.S. claims of Iranian involvement in the 1994 bombing of the AMIA Jewish community center in Buenos Aires as revenge for Argentina’s cancellation of nuclear technology contracts have been countered by journalists attentive to details such as that Argentine-Iranian negotiations to resume cooperation in fact continued even after the bombing, which suggests that revenge may have instead been the priority of a non-Iranian party.