A Relationship of Convenience: Examining the Connection Between Latin American Drug Traffickers and Hizballah

By Tracey Knott

Abstract: Recent reports of growing Hezbollah involvement in Latin America have the sparked concern of some American security analysts and policy makers. In particular, some fear that Hezbollah is working with local drug trafficking organizations (DTOs) to threaten American national security. This article explores the extent of the Latin American DTO- Hezbollah collaboration by answering the following questions: Who is involved? Where does the collaboration take place? How do the organizations cooperate? What are the threats such collaboration poses? Finally, what is being done and what more can be done to tackle these threats? In order to address these questions, this paper will examine several related case studies. The evidence provided by such cases suggests that there is an illicit connection between Latin American DTOs and Middle Eastern terrorist organizations. Although these relationships may not pose a direct security threat to the U.S., they nevertheless result in dangerous regional destabilization and the financing of terrorist groups.

About the Author: Tracey Knott is a Master’s candidate in Security Policy Studies at the Elliott School of International Affairs at the George Washington University. She specializes in transnational organized crime, particularly in Latin America and Africa. She received her B.A. in history from Oberlin College. All views expressed are her own and not necessarily those of the U.S. Department of State or the U.S. Government.

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