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Venezuela And Terrorism

U.S. State Department officials testifying before a U.S. congressional committee, say Venezuela is not cooperating fully in the fight against terrorism. Charles Shapiro, the Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs, says:

"Over the past three years, the U.S. embassy in Caracas has submitted roughly one-hundred-thirty written requests for different types of biographical or immigrant-related information on potential terrorist suspects, and to date has not received one single substantive response."

Frank Urbancic, the State Department's Principal Deputy Coordinator for Counter-terrorism, told the congressional committee, "On all fronts, the behavior of the Venezuelan government is wanting":

"Most worrisome, Venezuelan government officials direct the issuance of documents to ineligible individuals to advance political and foreign policy agendas. As a result we are detaining at our borders increasing numbers of third country aliens carrying falsified documents or fraudulently-issued Venezuelan documents."

Mr. Urbancic says that Venezuela refuses to condemn Colombia's narco-terrorist organizations. The Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia and the National Liberation Army continue to use Venezuelan territory as a refuge. "The Venezuelan government's efforts to pursue and deny safe haven to these terrorists," says Mr. Urbancic, "are, at best, anemic."

Mr. Urbancic says, that rather than cooperating with the U.S. and others, to combat terrorism, Venezuela is forging ties with state sponsors of terrorism, including Cuba and Iran. Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez announced plans to travel to Syria. U.S. State Department terrorist expert Frank Urbancic says, "It is clear that in the case of Chavez’s Venezuela, the old adage 'Tell me who your friends are, and I will tell you who you are' is one we would be wise to heed."

The preceding was an editorial reflecting the views of the United States Government.