181
12
The Terrorist Threat in Latin America
1
While the United States considers the threat from Middle Eastern organizations and is vigilant
against this threat, there are other threats against not only the American homeland, but against
Americans worldwide. is threat originates from some of the neighbors of the United States to
the south. e United States has seen attacks from Puerto Rican nationals, anti-Castro organiza-
tions, and other groups. is chapter looks at organizations that have been involved in terrorist
activities in the Americas in the past. e State Department reports that “[t]he threat of a major
terrorist attack remains low for most countries in the hemisphere. Overall, governments took
modest steps to improve their counterterrorism (CT) capabilities and tighten border security, but
corruption, weak government institutions, ineective or lack of interagency cooperation, weak or
nonexistent legislation, and reluctance to allocate sucient resources limited progress.
2
In a news story published on March 31, 2008, Admiral James Stavridis, then commander of
the United States Southern Command and current commander of the US European Command
and NATO’s supreme allied commander of Europe, stated, “[e United States] consider[s]
Latin America and the Caribbean to be potential bases for future terrorist threats to the United
States and others in the Americas.
3
Part of the reason for this threat is the outlaw nature found
in this hemisphere. ere is extreme poverty, economic systems that rely on no ocial markets,
and government and law enforcement corruption. is permits terrorist organizations to thrive
and establish bases within Latin America.
Foreign terrorism is not new to the United States. In 1950, two members of the Puerto Rican
Nationalist Party attempted to assassinate President Truman. Several years later, four Puerto
Ricans entered the visitor’s gallery of the House of Representatives ring numerous shots, injur-
ing several members of Congress.
4
Another Puerto Rican organization, the Fuerzas Armadas
de Liberación Nacional (FALN), has claimed responsibility for more than 120 bombings of
1
Information for this chapter was drawn from the following titles: (1) J. A. Bacigalupi, Terrorist reats South of
the Border. In D. L. June (ed.), Terrorism and Homeland Security: Perspectives, oughts, and Opinions, CRC Press,
2010. (2) A. D’Avila, Mexico Violence at reatens Our Southern Border: Ripening Conditions for Escalated
Terrorism Domestically and Internationally Immediately South of the United States. In D. L. June (ed.), Terrorism
and Homeland Security: Perspectives, oughts, and Opinions, CRC Press, 2010. (3) J. L. Hesterman, e Terrorist-
Criminal Nexus: An Alliance of International Drug Cartels, Organized Crime, and Terror Groups, CRC Press, 2013.
2
Oce of the Coordinator for Counterterrorism, US Department of State. Country Reports on Terrorism. Western
Hemisphere Overview, April 30, 2007, Chapter 2. Available at http://www.state.gov/s/ct/rls/crt/2006/82735.htm.
3
US Admiral Says Caribbean Possible Terrorist reat. Available at http://www.caribbean360.com/news/caribbean/
Stories/ 2008/03/31/newS0000005643.html.
4
M. Roig-Franzia. A Terrorist in the House. e Washington Post Magazine, February 22, 2004, p. w12. Available at
http://www.latinamericanstudies.org/puertorico/lolita-house.htm.

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