For the first time, the United States government is offering a multi-million dollar reward for those who provide accurate information about the finances and activities of the Hezbollah terrorist group; a tempting offer for some Venezuelans with classified information.
The amount offered by the State Department is up to USD $10 million for information that helps interrupt Hezbollah financing anywhere in the world. The Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, said that Hezbollah has active cells in Venezuela and South America.
“When it operates, Hezbollah leaves a trail of documents. What we are offering here, for the first time, is a reward for information about these documents,” said Undersecretary of the Treasury, Marshall Billingslea.
“Hezbollah earns almost one billion dollars a year through direct economic support from Iran, international business and investment, donor networks, corruption, and money laundering activities. The group uses these funds to support their malicious activities around the world,” added Billingslea.
According to the investigations, the regime of Nicolás Maduro in Venezuela is directly linked to Iran, Hezbollah, and its financing.
On April 22, Colombian Foreign Minister Carlos Holmes referred to Venezuela as “a threat to international security,” while last March the Brazilian Foreign Minister, Ernesto Araújo, also affirmed that there is a “concern” with “the presence of terrorist elements in Venezuela.”
Everything indicates that Venezuelans linked to Maduro could take advantage of the offer if they present to the United States valuable information helping to put an end to the terrorist group.
Nueva Esparta and Bolívar: Hezbollah Power Bases in Venezuela
It was in 2017 when the news website Notiespartano, revealed that the renowned island of Margarita, “is very fertile ground for Islamic penetration.”
“It has been repeatedly documented, even with photographic evidence, that Margarita Island contains training camps, specifically in Macanao, a remote area outside of the populated centers, where military training is provided to the most outstanding students, who attend Islamic indoctrination centers,” says the website.
But in addition to the island of Margarita, last January it came to light that Hezbollah was exploiting gold mines in Venezuela, under the complacent gaze of the authorities.
Américo de Grazia, deputy for the Bolívar state, denounced that Hezbollah controls its own mines in Venezuela.
“Hezbollah exploits [the zone] for its terrorist operations, mining gold for the benefit of the regime, and to serve the interests of transnational companies,” de Grazia said.
“For their purposes, it’s a win-win game. They win from the economic and strategic point of view, because the alliance was made directly with the government. They earn from the point of view of refuge: here they are offered frankincense, gold, and myrrh. The intention, then, is to strengthen Maduro and themselves,” he said.
The information offered by the deputy coincides with the testimony of a deserter lieutenant of the Armed Forces of Venezuela, according to a report by the journalist Maibort Petit.
According to the testimony of Lieutenant Daniel Archer Chirinos, the groups acts in collaboration with members of the Venezuelan Armed Forces and Colombian guerrillas.
Archer said that they created fictitious companies “like the Mining Arc to negotiate with terrorist cells like Hezbollah.” He stated that “they sell coltan and all kinds of strategic minerals.”
Hezbollah, which translates to “the party of God” in Arabic, is an organization that was born in Lebanon in 1982 after the Israeli occupation, which has a political arm and a military wing, and works with the support of Iran and the Syrian government of Bashar Al-Assad, current close allies and friends of the Maduro regime.
In the book Búmeran Chávez it is revealed, according to testimony of Rafael Isea – then vice minister of Finance and president of the Bank of Economic and Social Development (Bandes), who was present at a meeting held in Damascus in 2007 between Maduro – then Minister of Foreign Affairs – and Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah, leader of the terrorist group, that they signed a pact that covered drug trafficking, money laundering, arms trafficking, and delivery of passports, as well as the deployment of cells of the radical Shiite organization in Venezuela.
But there is further evidence that Chavez has decided to ally with the terrorist group. A report in the Spanish newspaper ABC revealed, in May of this year, that between 2008 and 2012, approximately 173 individuals from Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq, and Iran registered as Venezuelan citizens to facilitate their participation in the drug trafficking business and help in the transportation of product.
In 2015, an official of the Scientific, Legal and Criminal Investigation Corps (CICPC), identified as Misael López Soto, who supposedly was a counselor of the Venezuelan embassy in Iraq, confessed that he witnessed the Venezuelan government delivering diplomatic documents to terrorists from the Middle East.