Respond to the 2 below posts either in agreement or with a counter argument
– each response must be 250 words and have 1 source.
Respond to post 1 :
“””Last week, we got to hear Richard Dobrich speak on ELN and Venezuela shortly and we were able to continue that conversation with former DEA SAC Derek Maltz this week. He worked within the Special Operations Division which gives him a more global insight to narcotrafficking as he worked to incorporate information from different agencies to give a big picture look at narcoterrorism (Module Seven Lecture). 9/11 inspired unity within the interagency (Maltz). Islamic terrorists are coming together and narcoterrorism became one in Venezuela. Hezbollah acts as a massive drug cartel and makes Al-Qaeda look like the minor leagues (Maltz). Hezbollah is technical and capable with a global presence (Maltz). Cocaine was being shipped to Africa for global distribution and proved less dangerous to be extradited (Maltz).
Venezuela is a Narco State. Their relationship with Hezbollah and ELN is complicated. There are Venezuelan military attacks against the ELN, and yet the ELN still flourishes in the country. ELN preys on the disenfranchised there and recruits them into their organization (Module Seven Lecture). Hezbollah and ELN continue to operate in Venezuela, and this causes a huge problem for the USG because of proximity (Module Seven Lecture). Hezbollah set up a money laundering operation organization through what appeared to be a used car business (Maltz). Massive quantities of cocaine could get into Venezuela without any problems. In Hezbollah, there were command and control inside Venezuela for the distribution of the drugs and they created an expansive stronghold in the country (Maltz). USG did not have the same transparency in Venezuela as in Colombia (Maltz). Under the regime of former president Hugo Chavez in Venezuela, Hezbollah offered sanctuary to Venezuela based Hezbollah members (Clarke). With regime change in Venezuela on the horizon, it was implied that that the Hezbollah members would be treated more harshly, and they are combatting Hezbollah’s influence, but their expansive history in the country makes it hard (Clarke). Corruption is rampant among the low-ranking positions and they are quick to take bribes (Clarke).
Hezbollah and ELN are both narcotrafficking organizations. Hezbollah started in Lebanon and got a foothold in Venezuela when they reached out to the Lebanese community there (Module Seven Lecture). After being sanctioned at home, Hezbollah started trafficking to make money (Maltz). ELN started in Colombia and after refusing to cooperate, were cut out of the peace accord that was eventually agreed to in Colombia (Module Seven Lecture). Violent acts against the Venezuelan military and inside of Colombia have increased by the ELN since the peace accord. This includes a car bombing as recent as January 2019 that was a revenge attack when the rebels declared a ceasefire over Christmas and the government did not bend to it (Module Seven Lecture). “””
Respond to post 2 :
“””The Government of Venezuela’s relationship with Hezbollah and the ELN is one with deep roots. Both organizations operate within Venezuela and as SAC Maltz stated “when narco terrorist and Islamic terrorist join” it is an extremely dangerous and alarming combination (Tulane University, HSLM 7100, Module 7 SAC Derek Maltz). Venezuela is the perfect country for the ELN and Hezbollah to operate out of. It is a country that is in political turmoil as it is divided on who the President is and is dealing with extremely high rates of poverty. The United States and most allied countries view Guaido as the President of Venezuela, however, other countries, such as Iran back Maduro. “Iran has voiced support for Maduro and criticized U.S. sanctions against his government. Earlier this month, a delegation visited the country to discuss opening a new flight route at a time when many airlines have stopped flying to Venezuela” (Reuters). The fact that Iran backs Maduro, who has been described as a dictator is alarming. It also supports the claim that Iran is backing Hezbollah within Venezuela.
The combination of despair among the Venezuelan people and the presence of Hezbollah and the ELN leads many to turn and join either group. Venezuela is currently seeing a mass exodus of citizens and the proximity to the United States makes this issue even more concerning. Hezbollah already has a strong pool of “applicants” to recruit from because there is a large Lebanese population within Venezuela, add in despair and poverty and recruitment becomes that much easier. The United States is concerned about Hezbollah because we have seen firsthand what they are capable of, the Beirut bombing in 1983 that killed 241 Marines and Sailors is a tragedy that will never be forgotten. One article sums up Hezbollah’s reach in Venezuela as “The Lebanese movement has been accused of owning large swaths of land and leading drug trafficking and illegal gold efforts in the country. According to its critics, Margarita Island is a “Hezbollah safe haven,” which has helped turned Venezuela into “a center of global terrorism” (Middle East Eye.com).
The ELN has a strong foothold in Venezuela and utilize their exhortation techniques to strongarm locals. Their presence among locals who are living in poverty and have limited help from the government in form of law enforcement makes the ELN almost untouchable. The ELN has taken advantage of the FARC peace deal by taking over territory once held by the FARC and dealing in narco terrorism. They are a violent organization and without U.S. intervention it will be hard for Venezuela to regain control of their country.””””
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