Until now, the United States certainly has had a concern over Iranian penetration in South America, and not just in Venezuela. One reason why Donald Trump adopted the “maximum pressure” campaign against Iran was to curtail its global ambitions against the West, especially in energy-rich areas. Most of the attention from the media fell on the immediate region around Iran, such as the “land bridge” strategy through Syria to the Mediterranean and the encirclement strategy against the Saudis with Hezbollah and the Houthis.
However, Iran has long tried a similar diplomatic/economic/political encirclement strategy against the US in South America. They conducted a terrorist attack against Jews in Argentina and penetrated the Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner government to cover it up, for instance. And their attempts to boost the Chavez-Maduro regime have been known well enough, including a recent attempt to ship refined gasoline to the collapsed socialist state. But a Venezuelan bishop sends out a warning that Iran’s military is attempting something else entirely:
According to one Venezuelan bishop, the world should be concerned by the growing military presence of Iran in his country.
This presence, Bishop Mario Moronta of San Cristobal argued, is not based on an interest in the Venezuela’s mineral resources but is part of an effort to establish a geopolitical base.
In a letter published earlier this week, Moronta warns that, “far from what many think, the Iranians are not as interested – as other nations are – in Venezuelan resources (certainly there is an interest here);” instead, what encouraged this Middle Eastern country to do business with this South American nation is the possibility of “penetrating” Venezuela to “establish a strategic base, geopolitical in nature.”
The prelate begins his letter by saying that he’s made this warning to the Venezuelan bishops’ conference, but thus far, he’s been mostly ignored by bishops and experts alike, who are more worried about the presence of Cuban intelligence agents in the country.
“I pointed out the same thing in various forums and meetings and almost no one paid any attention to me,” he writes. “Only one professor and sociologist known to many heeded this, warning at the same time of the risk of allowing the presence of a process of ‘Islamization’ in the nation to be easily overlooked.”