Country Reports on Terrorism
Governments in the Western Hemisphere took modest steps to improve their counterterrorism capabilities and tighten border security. The primary impediments to effective action in some countries included corruption, weak governmental institutions, insufficient interagency cooperation, weak or non-existent legislation, and a lack of resources. Most countries made efforts to investigate possible connections between transnational criminal organizations and terrorist organizations.
Iran continued to try to expand its presence and bilateral relationships within the Western Hemisphere. Iranian President Ahmadinejad visited Cuba, Ecuador, Nicaragua, and Venezuela in 2012. The United States continued to monitor such initiatives.
The United States collaborated with both Canada and Mexico to protect our shared borders through regular exchanges of intelligence and other information.
In 2012, the majority of terrorist attacks within the Western Hemisphere were committed by the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia. The threat of a transnational terrorist attack remained low for most countries in the Western Hemisphere.
There were no known operational cells of either al-Qa'ida or Hizballah in the hemisphere, although ideological sympathizers in South America and the Caribbean continued to provide financial and ideological support to those and other terrorist groups in the Middle East and South Asia. The Tri-Border area of Argentina, Brazil, and Paraguay continued to be an important regional nexus of arms, narcotics, and human smuggling, counterfeiting, pirated goods, and money laundering – all potential funding sources for terrorist organizations.
Overview: Argentina continued to focus on the challenges of policing its remote northern and northeastern borders – including the Tri-Border Area (TBA), where Argentina, Brazil, and Paraguay meet – against such threats as illicit drug and human trafficking, contraband smuggling, and other forms of transnational crime. Law enforcement and security cooperation with Argentina was significantly curtailed in February 2011 after Argentine authorities seized sensitive U.S. equipment intended to support an approved bilateral training exercise with the Argentine Federal Police's counterterrorism unit. Bilateral cooperation now continues at the operational level but is more modest than in the past, and is focused primarily on information sharing, training, and other forms of bilateral law enforcement cooperation.
2012 Terrorist Incidents: On May 23, a homemade explosive device was found in the ceiling of the Rex Theater in Buenos Aires. An investigation revealed that the device was set to go off that day during an event that former Colombian president Alvaro Uribe was scheduled to attend. The investigation has produced neither leads nor arrests.
On December 30, a homemade explosive device was detonated in front of the Department of Corrections Headquarters in Buenos Aires. There were no injuries and only minor damage to the headquarters; no one claimed responsibility.
Legislation, Law Enforcement, and Border Security: The Argentine government implemented an identification security system (similar to the Automated Fingerprint Identification System, or AFIS) that uses a fingerprint database created via the implementation of a new national identity card (DNI). The Argentine government is now able to compare the fingerprints of DNI applicants with those existing in the Federal Police, Gendarmeria, Coast Guard, and Airport Security Police databases. The new system will also allow Argentine provinces to compare the DNI fingerprint data base with unidentified prints that were taken at provincial crime scenes, thus facilitating the identification of criminals. This AFIS-type system was deployed at all Argentine international airports, along with a program that requires the taking of photos and fingerprints of all travelers upon arrival and departure. The Ministry of Interior started issuing new e-passports in June that include a new passport book numbering system that facilitates the reporting of lost and stolen passports to Interpol.
The Argentine government continued its efforts to bring to justice those suspected in the July 18, 1994 terrorist bombing of the Argentine-Jewish Mutual Association (AMIA) community center in Buenos Aires that killed 85 and injured more than 150 people. In a marked policy shift, President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner announced at the September 2011 UN General Assembly that Argentina had accepted Iran’s offer to have the two nations’ foreign ministers meet to explore ways to move forward on a case for which several senior Iranian officials, including Iran’s current Defense Minister, have outstanding Interpol arrest warrants. Foreign Minister Hector Timerman met with his Iranian counterpart and agreed to launch a dialogue designed to clarify Iran’s alleged role in the bombing. Two subsequent rounds of negotiations took place in Switzerland. Argentine Jewish community and other opinion leaders publicly opposed the bilateral dialogue, especially in light of Argentina’s continuing judicial investigation, and criticized the government for failing to share information about the talks.
On December 10, security forces arrested Peruvian national Rolando Echarri Pareja, a member of the Movement for Amnesty and Fundamental Rights, an organization with strong links to the Shining Path, a designated Foreign Terrorist Organization based in Peru. Echarri was reportedly subject to an Interpol Red Notice for terrorism-related charges in Peru.
Countering Terrorist Finance: Argentina is a member of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) and the Financial Action Task Force on Money Laundering in South America, a FATF-style regional body. A new law passed in 2011 broadened the definition of terrorism and increased monetary fines and prison sentences for crimes linked to terrorist financing. It closed several loopholes in previous legislation and empowered the Argentine Financial Intelligence Unit to freeze assets, and criminalized the financing of terrorist organizations, individuals, and acts. To date this law has been applied only to human rights cases dating back to Argentina’s military dictatorship of thirty-plus years ago.
UNSCRs 1267 and 1373 have not been used to prosecute terrorist finance cases. For further information on money laundering and financial crimes, we refer you to the 2013 International Narcotics Control Strategy Report (INCSR), Volume 2, Money Laundering and Financial Crimes: http://www.state.gov/j/inl/rls/nrcrpt/index.htm.
Regional and International Cooperation: Argentina participated in meetings of the OAS Inter-American Committee Against Terrorism and the Southern Common Market Special Forum on Terrorism. Argentina, Brazil, and Paraguay coordinated law enforcement efforts in the Tri-Border Area via their “Trilateral Tri-Border Area Command.”
Overview: The Brazilian government continued to support counterterrorism-related activities, including investigating potential terrorist financing and document forgery networks. Operationally, security forces of the Brazilian government worked with U.S. law enforcement and financial agencies regarding terrorist suspects. Brazil’s security services have sought to address concerns that terrorists could exploit Brazilian territory to support and facilitate terrorist attacks, whether domestically or abroad, focusing their efforts in the areas of Sao Paulo; the tri-border areas (TBAs) of Brazil, Argentina, and Paraguay; Brazil, Peru, and Colombia; and the Colombian and Venezuelan borders. In preparation for hosting the 2014 World Cup and 2016 Olympic Games, the Government of Brazil created the Special Secretariat for Security for Great Events.
Legislation, Law Enforcement, and Border Security: In 2012, the Chamber of Deputies considered two counterterrorism bills pending in committee; one would deny visas to persons convicted or accused of a terrorist act in another country, and the other would provide the ability to prevent, investigate, and prosecute terrorist organizations. Since 2009, Brazilian authorities have worked with other concerned nations, particularly the United States, in combating document fraud. Since 2009, multiple regional and international joint operations with U.S. authorities successfully disrupted a number of document vendors and facilitators.
The work of the U.S.-Brazil Container Security Initiative (CSI) in Santos continued throughout 2012, as it has since its inception in 2005. The CSI was created to promote secure containerized cargo to the United States by co-locating CBP personnel overseas to work with a foreign customs administration to detect high risk cargo.
The Brazilian government continued to invest in border and law enforcement infrastructure and has worked to undertake new initiatives to control the flow of goods – legal and illegal – through the TBA of Brazil, Argentina, and Paraguay.
In light of Brazil’s plans to host the upcoming 2014 World Cup and the 2016 Olympic Games, a key focus for the Department of State’s 2012 Antiterrorism Assistance program in Brazil was major event security management. Additional strategic objectives for the program were to help Brazil build law enforcement capacity to secure land, air, and maritime borders, and to conduct terrorism-related investigations.
Countering Terrorist Finance: Brazil is a member of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) and is also a member of the Grupo de Acción Financiera de Sudamérica (FSRB), a FATF-style regional body. Brazil gives FATF recommendations high priority and has created a working group chaired by the Ministry of Justice to incorporate these recommendations into legislation and regulation. Brazil sought to play an active leadership role in the FSRB and has offered technical assistance to Argentina to implement FATF recommendations.
Brazil monitored domestic financial operations and effectively used its Financial Intelligence Unit, the COAF, to identify possible funding sources for terrorist groups. Terrorist financing is not an autonomous offense in Brazil, but it is a predicate offense to money laundering. COAF does not have the authority to unilaterally freeze assets without a court order. The FATF has recommended that COAF create a standard operating procedure for freezing funds, which COAF has prioritized but not yet completed.
Through COAF, which is a largely independent entity within the Finance Ministry (Fazenda), Brazil has carried out name checks for persons and entities on the UNSC 1267/1989 and 1988 Sanctions Committees’ consolidated lists, but it has so far not reported any assets, accounts, or property in the names of persons or entities on the UN lists. The Brazilian government has generally responded to U.S. efforts to identify and block terrorist-related funds. For further information on money laundering and financial crimes, we refer you to the 2013 International Narcotics Control Strategy Report (INCSR), Volume 2, Money Laundering and Financial Crimes: http://www.state.gov/j/inl/rls/nrcrpt/index.htm.
Regional and International Cooperation: Brazil’s intelligence and law enforcement forces work with regional and international partners. Brazil participates in regional counterterrorism fora such as the OAS Inter-American Committee Against Terrorism. Brazil is involved in the Union of South American Nations and Mercosur’s working group on terrorism and the sub-working group on financial issues, the latter of which discusses terrorist financing and money laundering among the Mercosur countries.
Overview: Canada is an indispensable counterterrorism partner. Canada and the United States cooperated bilaterally through the Cross Border Crime Forum sub-group on counterterrorism and the Bilateral Consultative Group on Counterterrorism. In addition to close bilateral cooperation, as embodied in the Beyond the Border Agreement and numerous cooperative law enforcement and homeland security programs, the U.S. and Canada work together in crucial multilateral settings such as the Global Counterterrorism Forum (GCTF). Canadian diplomats played a key role in international efforts to counter terrorist threats, and the Government of Canada consistently worked to strengthen the rule of law in other countries. Canadian contributions to the Australia Group and the Missile Technology Control Regime help to prevent terrorist organizations from gaining access to weapons of mass destruction.
Legislation, Law Enforcement, and Border Security: In February 2012, Canada’s Ministry of Public Safety announced Canada's first official Counterterrorism Strategy. The Strategy includes a terrorism threat analysis and a summary of federal priorities and actions to combat domestic and international terrorism. The Canadian government passed two counterterrorism-related bills in 2012 and introduced three others that were under consideration at year’s end. The Safe Streets and Communities Act, C-10, received Royal Assent on March 13. The Act rolled together nine draft crime and national security bills from the 40th Parliament into one omnibus crime bill. It included the former S-7, An Act to Deter Terrorism and Amend the State Immunity, to allow terrorism victims to sue terrorists and terrorist entities (and in some cases foreign states that have supported terrorist entities) for loss or damage suffered as a result of their acts. These provisions entered into force on receipt of Royal Assent.
On June 29, legislation implementing the Framework Agreement on Integrated Cross-Border Maritime Law Enforcement Operations [Ship Rider] between Canada and the United States received Royal Assent, enabling this bilateral agreement to enter into force in October 2012. The legislation was included in budget legislation, Bill C-38.
Law enforcement actions:
• On April 25, the Federal Court of Appeal ordered a new hearing of the reasonableness of an immigration security certificate against Ottawa resident Mohamed Harkat which the Federal Court had upheld in 2010 on the basis that Harkat constituted a threat to national security. Authorities alleged that Harkat was an al-Qa’ida sleeper agent. The Appeal Court ruled that the withholding of sensitive information against Harkat violated his right to a fair defense, ordered the exclusion of the evidence to which he was not privy, and referred his case back to the Federal Court for reassessment. The appeal stayed a deportation order against Harkat. On November 22, the Supreme Court granted leave to appeal the Federal Court ruling and the constitutionality of the security certificate process. At year’s end, the Supreme Court had not set a date for the hearing.
• On December 14, the Supreme Court dismissed an appeal by former Ottawa resident Momin Khawaja of his terrorist conviction under the anti-terrorism law and his challenge to the constitutionality of the legislation. Khawaja was convicted in 2008 and sentenced to 15 years for financing and facilitating a British bomb plot minus credit for time served, for an effective sentence of 10.5 years. The Ontario Court of Appeal increased this sentence to life in prison in 2010 with no eligibility for parole for 10 years. The Supreme Court upheld Khawaja's life sentence as appropriate to the gravity of his offense.
• Also on December 14, the Supreme Court unanimously dismissed an appeal of an extradition order to the United States of Piratheepan Nadarajah and Suresh Sriskandarajah, to stand trial on charges of attempting to purchase surface-to-air missiles and other weaponry in the United States for the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam. The court ordered the men surrendered to U.S. authorities. Delivered in conjunction with the ruling in the Khawaja case, the court rejected the appellants' arguments that the definition of terrorist activity in the 2001 Anti-terrorism Act was overly broad.
• As of December 2012, three men arrested and charged in August 2010 in an alleged conspiracy to bomb targets in Ottawa, and participate in and facilitate terrorist activity continued to await trial. In 2011 authorities released Misbahuddin Ahmed and Khurram Sher on bail. The third member of the group, Hiva Alizadeh, remained in custody.
• During the year, two other Federal Court reviews continued to determine the reasonableness of security certificates against alleged terrorist suspects Mahmoud Jaballah and Mohamed Zeki Mahjoub.
Cooperation sought during the previous five years in the investigation or prosecution of an act of international terrorism against U.S. citizens or interests included:
• In January 2011, Canadian authorities arrested Canadian-Iraqi citizen Faruq Khalil Muhammad in response to U.S. charges that he helped coordinate Tunisian violent extremists believed responsible for separate suicide attacks in Iraq in 2009 that killed five American soldiers outside a U.S. base and seven people at an Iraqi police complex. The Alberta provincial court ruled in October 2012 there was sufficient evidence to extradite Faruq to the United States; Faruq continued to appeal his extradition.
Authorities use biometric systems at Canadian ports of entry. Canada plans to introduce e-passports containing electronic chips with biometric information and radio frequency identification technology used to authenticate the identity of travelers. Canada has required fingerprints from refugee claimants, detainees, and individuals ordered to be deported from Canada since 1993. The Canada Border Services Agency has been collecting fingerprints from detainees and people under removal order from Canada from the same year. On December 13, 2012, the Canada-U.S. Visa and Immigration Information Sharing Agreement was signed. Once it enters into force after Canadian ratification, and implementing arrangements have been concluded, it is expected that both countries will share biographic and biometric information to assist in decision making in cases where third-country nationals are applying for visas, admission, asylum, or other immigration benefits and in immigration enforcement proceedings.
Canada continued to exchange a limited number of fingerprint records with the United States in an effort to counter fraud and reduce the abuse of respective immigration programs as part of the High Value Data Sharing Protocol signed in 2009 with the United States, the UK, Australia, and New Zealand. Canada also works with international partner countries through the Five Country Conference forum on biometric information sharing.
Countering Terrorist Finance: Canada is a member of the Financial Action Task Force, the Egmont Group, the Asia/Pacific Group on Money Laundering, and is a supporting nation of the Caribbean Financial Action Task Force. Canada is also an observer in the Council of Europe’s Select Committee of Experts on the Evaluation of Anti-Money Laundering Measures and the Financial Action Task Force of South America against Money Laundering.
Canada has a rigorous detection and monitoring process in place to identify money laundering and terrorist financing activities. The Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada (FINTRAC) is Canada's Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) and is responsible for detecting, preventing and deterring money laundering and financing of terrorist activities. Established in 2000, FINTRAC is an independent agency reporting to the Minister of Finance. It was established by and operates within the parameters of the Proceeds of Crime (Money Laundering) and Terrorist Financing Act (PCMLTFA). According to its 2011-2012 Annual Report, FINTRAC continued to aggressively investigate instances of potential money laundering and terrorist finance activities.
FINTRAC signed seven new bilateral agreements in 2011-2012 with foreign FIUs and now cooperates with 80 FIU’s globally. These bilateral agreements allow for the exchange of information related to money laundering and terrorist financing. During 2012 FINTRAC prepared three Trends and Typologies reports which provided insight into the latest money laundering and terrorist financing patterns. These reports used sophisticated text mining techniques to analyze the content of suspicious transaction reports allowing for more effective detection of the latest trends in suspicious transactions.
For further information on money laundering and financial crimes, we refer you to the 2013 International Narcotics Control Strategy Report (INCSR), Volume 2, Money Laundering and Financial Crimes: http://www.state.gov/j/inl/rls/nrcrpt/index.htm.
Regional and International Cooperation: Canada prioritizes collaboration with international partners to counter terrorism and international crime and regularly seeks opportunities to lead. Canada is a founding member of the GCTF and was also active in fora dealing with counterterrorism, including the OSCE, UN, G-8, APEC, ASEAN and the ASEAN Regional Forum, Commonwealth, International Civil Aviation Organization, International Maritime Organization, and the OAS. Canada co-sponsored the ASEAN Intersessional Meeting on Counterterrorism and Transnational Crime in 2012 and co-chaired the GCTF’s Sahel Regional Capacity Building Group.
Canada’s Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade created the Counterterrorism Capacity Building Program in 2005 as a key part of Canada's international terrorism prevention efforts. The Program provided training, funding, equipment, and technical and legal assistance to states to enable them to prevent and respond to terrorist activity in seven areas: border security; transportation security; legislative, regulatory and legal policy development, legislative drafting, and human rights and counterterrorism training; law enforcement, security, military and intelligence training; chemical/biological/radiological/nuclear and explosives terrorism prevention, mitigation, preparedness, response and recovery; combating the financing of terrorism; and cyber security and protecting critical infrastructure.
Countering Radicalization and Violent Extremism: The Royal Canadian Mounted Police's National Security Community Outreach program promoted interaction and relationship-building with at-risk communities. The Department of Public Safety’s Cross-Cultural Roundtable on Security fostered dialogue on national security issues between the government and community leaders. Both of these initiatives are encapsulated in Canada’s aforementioned 2012 Counterterrorism Strategy, which seeks specifically to reduce the risk of individuals succumbing to violent extremism and radicalization, challenge violent extremist ideology by producing effective counter-narratives, and increase the resilience of communities to violent extremism. The government continued to work with non-governmental partners and concerned communities to deter violent extremism through preventative programming and community outreach.
Overview: Despite significant successes in its campaign against the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) and the beginning of peace talks, Colombia experienced a year of increased terrorist activity in 2012. As was the case in 2011, the number of total terrorist incidents, casualties caused by acts of terrorism, and economic losses due to terrorism increased in 2012, albeit with a significant drop in attacks during the second half of the year. Unlike 2011, however, the number of members of the FARC and National Liberation Army (ELN) killed or captured in combat went up by 11 percent and 53 percent, respectively. The implementation of a new counterinsurgency plan in June and the announcement in September of peace talks between the government and the FARC, along with a FARC temporary unilateral ceasefire, may have contributed to this increase.
2012 Terrorist Incidents: Until the declaration of a unilateral cease-fire by the FARC in November, terrorist attacks were an almost daily occurrence in Colombia. The FARC’s declaration of a unilateral ceasefire for the period November 20 to January 20 did not completely stop FARC attacks, and had no impact on the activities of the ELN. The most common forms of terrorist activity were the launching of mortars at police stations or the military, explosive devices placed near roads or paths, sniper attacks, and ambushes. There was an increase in infrastructure attacks, particularly on oil and gas pipelines and equipment, by both the FARC and the ELN. Security forces and government buildings were the most common targets, though civilian casualties occurred throughout the year. Attacks were most common along the Venezuelan border in the departments of Arauca and Norte de Santander, in the southwest region of the country in the departments of Narino and Cauca, and in the northwestern department of Antioquia.
As of October 31, Colombian government statistics showed a 52 percent increase in attacks over 2011, with 716 terrorist attacks around the country compared to 472 attacks over the same period in the previous year. There was a 173 percent increase in the number of attacks on oil pipelines. Among the over 700 terrorist attacks recorded in the first 10 months of the year, several were notable for their severity or significant press coverage:
• A January 20 attack by an estimated 100 FARC guerrillas against a radar station outside the village of El Tambo, Cauca Department, took the lives of two members of the Colombian National Police (CNP) and disrupted air traffic control service for flights into the nearby city of Cali.
• On February 1, a motorcycle bomb targeting the local police station exploded in the port town of Tumaco, Narino Department. The explosion killed seven and wounded more than 20. The explosion was the culmination of a period of violence in the region, and sparked a number of protests against the FARC and criticism of the government for its failure to provide security.
• On March 17, FARC forces ambushed a Colombian army patrol in the department of Arauca, killing 11 soldiers and wounding two others.
• On April 27, in a complex attack in the area of Puerto Rico, Caqueta Department, four soldiers and one police sergeant were killed in an ambush. In a separate attack on the police station in Puerto Rico, two civilian adults and their baby were killed when one of five improvised mortars fell short and landed in their house.
Legislation, Law Enforcement, and Border Security: Law enforcement cooperation between Colombia and the United States remained outstanding. Colombia extradited 183 individuals to the United States. Evidence sharing and joint law enforcement operations occurred in a fluid and efficient manner, with information gathered in Colombia contributing to hundreds of prosecutions of U.S.-based criminals and organizations.
In June, the Colombian Congress passed and President Santos signed the Legal Framework for Peace, a groundbreaking piece of legislation meant to lay the groundwork for future legislation on transitional justice. The legislation, which was facing a challenge in the country’s constitutional court, will allow the Colombian justice system to prioritize the prosecution of key terrorist leaders.
Colombian border security remained an area of vulnerability. The CNP does not have uniform policies for vehicle or passenger inspection at land border crossings. Biometric and biographic screening is conducted only at international airports. Improved relations with neighboring Ecuador and Venezuela have led to increased cooperation from those countries on law enforcement issues. Colombia also continued cooperation and information sharing with the Panamanian National Border Service. The CNP does not currently utilize advance passenger name records, but was in the process of designing and procuring a system that will allow it to do so.
Colombian authorities arrested several important FARC members in 2012. Ruben Pena Santacoloma, alias “Ancizar,” was arrested for his role in FARC takeovers of several small towns and his cruel treatment of kidnapping victims in his custody. In September, FARC member Angelo “Piloso” Caceres was sentenced to 40 years in prison for his role in the murder of three American citizen indigenous rights advocates in 1999.
Kidnappings as a whole have declined in recent years. In 2010, Colombia saw a 93 percent reduction in kidnappings from 2000. The CNP Anti-Kidnapping and Anti-Extortion Directorate (DIASE, also referred to as GAULA) has formed a four-man international kidnapping unit to address any kidnappings involving foreign nationals. This team primarily exists to investigate kidnapping and extortion matters involving U.S. citizens and entities. Additionally, the FBI and GAULA are working together to form a formal vetted team, consisting of 10 to 12 members, that will focus on kidnapping, extortion, and other terrorism-related matters of interest to the U.S. and Colombia.
Colombia continued to participate in the Department of State’s Antiterrorism Assistance (ATA) program. ATA provided Colombia with instructor development and crisis response team training to enable it to expand its role both as a regional provider of counterterrorism training to other countries in the Western Hemisphere, and as a senior participant in joint trainings with other ATA partner nations.
Countering Terrorist Finance: Colombia is a member of the Financial Action Task Force of South America against Money Laundering, a Financial Action Task Force (FATF)-style regional body. Colombia stands out as a regional leader in the fight against terrorist financing and has become a key part of a regional Financial Intelligence Unit initiative aimed at strengthening information sharing among Latin American countries.
In September, the Ministries of Foreign Affairs, Justice, and Finance signed an interagency memorandum of understanding (MOU), which gives legal authority to the Prosecutor General’s Office to implement the necessary seizure orders under existing Colombian asset forfeiture law against the assets of individuals and entities on the UNSC 1267/1989 and 1988 Sanctions Committees’ consolidated list, as well as to adhere to FATF recommendations to freeze the funds of designated terrorists, terrorist financiers, and terrorist groups. The Government of Colombia worked extensively with U.S. law enforcement agencies to identify, target, and prosecute groups and individuals engaged in financial crimes.
In November, the Prosecutor General’s Office took steps to seize the property of retired General Mauricio Santoyo, head of security for former President Alvaro Uribe (2002-2010), due to his ties to the Self-Defense Forces of Colombia (AUC). The Prosecutor General’s Office seized property including nine farms, five vehicles, a commercial establishment, and a factory. The Prosecutor General’s Office Justice and Peace Division developed a special asset forfeiture unit in May 2011 to identify and seize assets belonging to armed illegal groups, such as the AUC and the FARC (both U.S.-designated terrorist organizations). In 2012, this specialized unit of prosecutors seized 130 assets valued at approximately US $50 million; the money will be used for victim reparations in Colombia.
For further information on money laundering and financial crimes, we refer you to the 2013 International Narcotics Control Strategy Report (INCSR), Volume 2, Money Laundering and Financial Crimes: http://www.state.gov/j/inl/rls/nrcrpt/index.htm.
Regional and International Cooperation: Colombia is actively involved in the UN, the OAS, the Pacific Alliance, the Union of South American Nations, and is a founding member of the Global Counterterrorism Forum. The Colombian government frequently integrates the recommendations of the UN and OAS into its security and human rights decisions. Colombia’s term as a non-permanent member of the UNSC ended on December 31. The CNP operates an Interpol office of approximately 70 analysts, agents, and support staff. Colombia also led the creation of Ameripol, the American Police Community, and CNP Director General Jose Roberto Leon served as Ameripol’s secretary-general in 2012. Colombia also maintained strong bilateral relations with the UK, Canada, and Spain, and coordinated arrests and deportations with those countries on a regular basis.
Colombia is becoming a key leader in providing security training and assistance to countries from around the world. It provided judicial training to judges and prosecutors in handling drug trafficking and terrorism cases, basic and advanced helicopter training to pilots from countries throughout Latin America, and frequently opened up its elite “Lancero” and “Jungla” special forces courses to students from other countries. In 2012, Colombia expanded its assistance to the instruction of better methods of strategic communications and civil-military relations. Officers from Brazil, Mexico, and Ecuador were invited to attend a training course in radio station and loudspeaker operations and community interaction. Colombia also dispatched a subject matter expert to Peru to provide instruction on the capabilities of the “radio-in-a-box,” used to disseminate positive radio messages encouraging defections over guerrilla frequencies. Mexico remained the biggest recipient of Colombian counternarcotics and counterterrorism training.
Countering Radicalization and Violent Extremism: Colombia employed a robust and modern multi-agency approach to countering radicalization and violent extremism, with a focus on encouraging members and entire units of the FARC and ELN to demobilize and reintegrate with society. In October, with U.S. assistance, Colombia hosted a conference on ways to better counter FARC and ELN ideology and better focus demobilization efforts. The demobilization program provides medical care, psychological counseling, education benefits, job placement assistance, and periodic checks on demobilized former members of the FARC and ELN. Recidivism rates were low to moderate.
The Colombian armed forces and police employed a number of fixed and mobile radio transmitters to broadcast strategic messaging to potential deserters. Such messaging was also seen in print, television, and alternative media. The Colombian military employed the same media to counter FARC recruitment efforts.
Overview: The Mexican government remained vigilant against domestic and international terrorist threats. International terrorist organizations do not have a known operational presence in Mexico, and no terrorist group targeted U.S. citizens in or from Mexican territory. The Government of Mexico continued to strengthen its law enforcement institutions and to disrupt and dismantle criminal organizations responsible for drug trafficking-related violence. There was no evidence that these criminal organizations had political or ideological motivations, aside from seeking to maintain the impunity with which they conduct their criminal activities.
Legislation, Law Enforcement, and Border Security: The Mexican government continued to improve the abilities of its security forces to counter terrorism. The United States supported these efforts by providing training and equipment to Mexican law enforcement and security agencies, sharing information, and promoting interagency law enforcement cooperation. The United States also supported Mexican efforts to address border security challenges along its southern and northern borders and its ports. The Mexican and U.S. governments shared information and jointly analyzed transnational threats; promoted information and intelligence sharing; deployed enhanced cargo screening technologies; and strengthened passenger information sharing. Mexican and U.S. officials also continued coordinated efforts to prevent the transit of third country nationals who may raise terrorism concerns. On the Mexico-U.S. border, officials increased coordination of patrols and inspections and improved communications across the border. On the Mexico-Guatemala-Belize border, Mexico deployed additional security forces and implemented biometric controls. Mexico remained an important partner nation in the Department of State’s Antiterrorism Assistance program, which continued its overall shift in focus from protection of national leadership training to border security, preventing terrorist safe havens, and protecting critical infrastructure.
In support of U.S. efforts to identify and interdict illegitimate travel and travelers, consular Fraud Prevention Units and Regional Security Office investigators throughout Mexico provided training on recognition of fraudulent U.S. and Mexican identity and travel documents to local, state, and federal officials; and bank investigators.
Countering Terrorist Finance: Mexico is a member of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) and the Financial Action Task Force of South America against Money Laundering, a FATF-style regional body. Mexico’s Congress approved long-awaited anti-money laundering legislation in late 2012, and at year’s end the law was on track for full implementation in 2013. Through this legislation, records of transactions that would otherwise be undetectable because they are made solely in cash must now be reported to the federal government. This represents a significant advance over previous years that could help track some forms of potential terrorist financing. For further information on money laundering and financial crimes, we refer you to the 2013 International Narcotics Control Strategy Report (INCSR), Volume 2, Money Laundering and Financial Crimes: http://www.state.gov/j/inl/rls/nrcrpt/index.htm.
Regional and International Cooperation: Mexico entered into an agreement with the OAS’ Inter-American Committee Against Terrorism (CICTE) in 2012. CICTE is implementing a two-year work plan in Mexico to address specific weaknesses in legislation, licensing, investigations and prosecution of proliferation violations, and interdiction of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) and their components in an effort to prevent possible WMD terrorism.
Overview: The most direct terrorism threat in Panama was the persistent presence of a small unit of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), which used remote areas of the Darien Region as a safe haven. The Panamanian National Border Service (SENAFRONT) undertook several operations against the FARC in 2012, further degrading the FARC’s capabilities in Panama. Panama continued its close cooperation with Colombia and Costa Rica to secure its borders. Additionally, the Panama Canal Authority’s vigilance, along with international support, contributed to the canal’s security.
Panama's Darien Region is a significant pathway for human smuggling with counterterrorism implications. In an average month, 270 smuggled aliens enter Panama. While the majority of these are Cubans, the Panamanian National Border Service reported a consistent flow of African, Middle Eastern, and South Asian smuggled aliens, including from Syria, Iran, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Somalia, Eritrea, Bangladesh, and Ethiopia. Further, some smuggling in the Darien was facilitated by FARC elements operating on both sides of the border. Representatives of DHS-Homeland Security Investigations and the Federal Bureau of Investigation worked with Panamanian authorities to identify smuggled aliens with potential terrorism ties.
Legislation, Law Enforcement, and Border Security: The Government of Panama continued its efforts to enforce its sovereignty in the Darien through more aggressive patrolling by security forces. In January, SENAFRONT and FARC members exchanged fire near Alto Tuira, in the Darien. In March, a FARC camp that could support more than two dozen personnel was destroyed. In May, SENAFRONT uncovered a FARC camp near the Colombian border. In early November, SENAFRONT seized arms and ammunition aboard a boat near the town of Barriales. Later in November, SENAFRONT killed one FARC member, arrested eight Colombians, and seized rifles, pistols, and 391 kilograms of cocaine near Mogue in the Darien.
Executive Decree 448 of December 28, 2011 created a Coordination Council Against International Terrorism to review compliance with international terrorism conventions, strategize the implementation of UNSCRs on terrorism, compile information about public institution measures against terrorism, report on actions taken, and recommend new measures. The Coordination Council, which includes one representative each from 16 government agencies, is presided over by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. In March, the Council formally met for the first time, pledging stronger actions to prevent money laundering and announcing a new cyber security initiative. In July, under the Council’s auspices, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs hosted a day-long seminar on international terrorism which focused on UNSCRs and the experiences of other countries, such as Israel and Colombia, in fighting international terrorism.
The United States and Panama continued to plan for incidents that could potentially shut down transit through the Panama Canal. In August, Panama co-hosted the annual PANAMAX exercise, a multinational security training exercise initiated in 2003 that focuses on canal security. The exercise replicated real-world threats and included specific scenarios designed to counter terrorist attacks. Several U.S. government agencies, as well as 17 partner nations, participated.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) linked the Panamanian Advance Passenger Information System (APIS) at Tocumen International Airport to its data systems. Through the Joint Security Program, CBP and DHS investigations targeted potentially dangerous and criminal/terrorist-affiliated passengers on all flights in and out of Tocumen. The system became fully operational in 2012 and has already led to the identification of multiple individuals affiliated with terrorism, several fugitive arrests, and the denial of entry into or transit through Panama by many high-risk passengers. Mobile security teams at the airport, with U.S. support have interdicted alien smuggling, narcotics, and illicit bulk cash.
Panama continued its participation in the Container Security Initiative Program at Balboa and Manzanillo, and the Evergreen Colon Container Terminal. Panama Customs officials received Wisconsin Risk Reduction Project instruction and Commodity Identification Training in November.
The U.S. Southern Command (SOUTHCOM) sponsored conferences and training for Panamanian Public Forces, and the relationship between the Government of Panama and the Missouri National Guard under the State Partnership Program continued to expand. The Embassy Office of Defense Cooperation maintained a strong program to help Panama develop and refine its civil affairs and information operations capacity through SOUTHCOM’s Civil Affairs and Military Information Support Teams as part of its overall strategy to counter FARC influence in the Darien.
Panama was the recipient of Department of State Antiterrorism Assistance courses in airport security management, crisis negotiations, vital infrastructure security, protection of national leadership, first responder to terrorist incidents, critical incident management and hospital-based management of mass casualty incidents. The program focused on building Panamanian law enforcement capacity to secure borders and vital infrastructure from terrorist threats, and on preventing terrorist safe havens in Panama.
Countering Terrorist Finance: Panama is a member of the Financial Action Task Force of South America against Money Laundering, a Financial Action Task Force-style regional body. The legal and regulatory frameworks that address counterterrorist financing in Panama also address money laundering. Executive Decree 55 of February 1, 2012 expanded the list of regulatory entities and therefore the number of entities covered by terrorist financing laws and regulations. Uneven enforcement of existing anti-money laundering and terrorist finance controls coupled with the weak judicial system remained a problem. Moreover, the Colon Free Zone, the second largest free zone in the world, continued to be vulnerable to exploitation for illicit financial activities, due primarily to weak customs, trade, and financial transactions oversight. For further information on money laundering and financial crimes, we refer you to the 2011 International Narcotics Control Strategy Report (INCSR), Volume 2, Money Laundering and Financial Crimes: http://www.state.gov/j/inl/rls/nrcrpt/index.htm.
Regional and International Cooperation: Panama participated in UN and regional security initiatives, such as the OAS Inter-American Committee Against Terrorism.
Countering Radicalization and Violent Extremism: The United States and Panama worked together to create opportunities for the residents of the Darien Region to deter local FARC recruitment. Local youth received vocational and technical training to better prepare them to find jobs or start their own businesses, while indigenous entrepreneurs obtained assistance to improve marketing of their crafts. The Embassy worked closely with NGO partners and the Panamanian government to help local Darien farmers better market their produce in Panama City. Four youth centers were constructed to give more options for young people to constructively use their time and energy. In addition, community facilities have been constructed along with sports fields to give residents space for activities.
Overview: Since June 22, when President Fernando Lugo was impeached and Federico Franco took office, the Government of Paraguay has more aggressively charged and arrested individuals under counterterrorism laws created in 2010 and 2011; however, successful prosecutions remained elusive. Paraguay continued to be hampered by ineffective immigration, customs, and law enforcement controls along its porous borders, particularly the Tri-Border Area (TBA) with Argentina and Brazil. Limited resources, sporadic interagency cooperation, and corruption within customs, the police, the public ministry, and the judicial sector impeded Paraguay's law enforcement initiatives throughout the country. Paraguay faced continued activity by an internal insurgent group, which resulted in public demands for governmental response and kept terrorism in the policy forefront throughout the year.
The United States provided training to improve law enforcement counterterrorism capabilities through the Department of State's Antiterrorism Assistance program. In addition, through much of 2012, DHS officers were seconded to Paraguay to enhance Paraguay’s border controls.
2012 Terrorist Incidents: Since 2008, the leftist Paraguayan People’s Army (EPP) has been active in the northern departments of Paraguay abutting the Brazilian border. The EPP proclaims itself as dedicated to a socialist revolution in Paraguay and may have tenuous links to the Revolutionary Armed Forces in Colombia. Membership statistics for the EPP are difficult to establish, but it is believed to be a small, decentralized group operating mainly in Concepción Department. Estimates of membership range from 20-100 members. It engaged in kidnappings, placement of explosive devices, and multiple shootouts with the police and military. The following activities are believed to have been perpetrated by the EPP in 2012:
• On March 4 and 8, two private estates were attacked and burned in Concepcion Department. A guard was injured in the March 4 attack.
• On May 17, the 19 year-old son of a Brazilian politician from a border town near Capitan Bado was the victim of an attempted kidnapping. The man and his security guard escaped.
• On July 30, in Yby Yau, three armed men attacked a ranch, shot the water tank and the power transformer, and left behind a threatening note that identified them as members of the EPP.
• On August 31, in Paso Tuja and Kuruzu de Hierro, Concepción Department, alleged EPP members burned two soy plantations and left behind a threatening note.
• On September 5, in Azotey, an alleged group of EPP members shot and killed the aunt of an EPP member and then exploded a device inside her mouth. The same day and approximately one kilometer away, another group of men shot at a police post from a moving vehicle, wounding two police officers. One police officer died of his wounds days later.
• On October 4, two people identified as EPP members attacked a private radio station with two explosive devices in Horqueta. Two radio station operators were unharmed; however, the media facilities sustained damage.
• On October 12 in the vicinity of Horqueta, alleged EPP members unsuccessfully attempted to bring down an electrical high-tension power line with improvised explosive devices placed at the bottom of the tower.
Legislation, Law Enforcement, and Border Security: Limited steps were undertaken specifically to address border security issues, particularly with respect to the large and generally unprotected borders with Argentina and Brazil. There were upgrades made at the Silvio Pettirossi Airport in Asuncion to improve immigration controls. The Franco government more aggressively countered EPP threats.
Following the September 5 killing of an alleged police informant, the Public Ministry issued two arrest warrants for the perpetrators and charged them under the 2010 counterterrorism laws, the first time Paraguay used this law.
Countering Terrorist Finance: Paraguay is a member of the Financial Action Task Force of South America against Money Laundering, a Financial Action Task Force-type regional body. In 2012, there were four arrests under the terrorist financing law. In October, the National Police arrested Ruben Dario Lopez Fernandez, who is believed to be an EPP logistician. Lopez also had an outstanding arrest warrant for his arrest on charges of terrorist financing. As of year’s end, there were no convictions for terrorist financing cases. For further information on money laundering and financial crimes, we refer you to the 2013 International Narcotics Control Strategy Report (INCSR), Volume 2, Money Laundering and Financial Crimes: http://www.state.gov/j/inl/rls/nrcrpt/index.htm.
Regional and International Cooperation: Brazil is Paraguay's strongest regional partner in counterterrorism and law enforcement activities, and the two countries cooperated on security initiatives. Paraguay also collaborated with Mercosur and Union of South American Nations partners in border protection initiatives, regional exchanges, and discussions on counterterrorism and law enforcement projects. While bilateral and multilateral relations between Paraguay and its neighbors stalled following Lugo’s impeachment, counterterrorism efforts continued.
Overview: Peru’s primary counterterrorism concern remained the Shining Path (Sendero Luminoso or SL). Although Peru nearly eliminated SL in the 1990s, the organization is well-entwined with coca cultivation and narcotics trafficking and remained a threat to Peru’s internal security. In February, Peruvian security forces captured Florindo Flores Hala (alias "Comrade Artemio"), the leader of the Upper Huallaga Valley (UHV) faction of SL. Prosecutors charged Flores with aggravated terrorism, drug trafficking, and money laundering. Because of SL’s hierarchy, the capture led to a collapse in SL-UHV’s structure and capabilities. While SL still operated in the UHV, it has been severely limited in scope.
A much larger and stronger SL faction occupies the government-designated emergency zone (an area in which the government has suspended certain civil rights due to an “exceptional situation”) known as the Apurimac, Ene, and Mantaro River Valleys (VRAEM). The emergency zone expanded in 2012 to include additional territory near the Mantaro River due to the concentration of SL leadership in close proximity to this tributary. In June, Peruvian authorities also expanded the VRAEM emergency zone to include portions of the La Convencion Province in the Region of Cusco, which has seen significant expansion of SL activity over the past year. In 2012, SL-VRAEM had several hundred armed members while the number of its supporters in the urban areas was unknown. Although SL-VRAEM’s leaders claimed to have split with SL founder Abimael Guzman, the faction continued to use Maoist philosophy to justify its illegal activities. Involvement in drug production, narcotics trafficking, and extortion in the form of “revolutionary taxes” provided SL with funding to conduct operations. The organization’s involvement with drug trafficking also allowed SL-VRAEM to improve relations with coca-growing communities in remote areas.
Government efforts to improve interagency cooperation and to strengthen prosecutorial capacity were somewhat successful. Police units specializing in counterterrorism and counternarcotics conducted several operations with the Peruvian Armed Forces. Peru continued talks with its neighbors to strengthen counterterrorism cooperation.
In January, the Movement for Amnesty and Fundamental Rights (MOVADEF), a front organization of the Shining Path founded by Abimael Guzman’s lawyers, attempted to register as a political party. The National Election Board denied the registration application, citing the group’s links to terrorism. MOVADEF claimed to reject armed violence, but the National Election Board found its link to SL to be clear. It was reported that MOVADEF gained further support throughout the year in trade unions and rural communities. MOVADEF also increased its international presence, staging protests in Argentina, Chile, and Mexico. They reportedly have additional chapters in Bolivia, France, Spain, Sweden, and Uruguay.
The Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) continued to use remote areas along the Colombian-Peruvian border to regroup and make arms purchases. Peruvian government experts believed the FARC continued to fund coca cultivation and cocaine production among the Peruvian population in border areas. The Government of Peru sought to cooperate with the Government of Colombia on ways to combat the FARC’s presence in under-governed areas of the border region.
2012 Terrorist Incidents: SL carried out 87 terrorist acts that killed one civilian, 13 members of the military, and five police officers. The attacks included:
• On April 9, an SL-VRAEM group kidnapped 36 workers from the Camisea natural gas pipeline just outside the VRAEM emergency zone. In several failed rescue attempts, a total of eight security personnel were killed, 10 others were wounded, and a U.S.-owned helicopter operated by the police was destroyed. On April 14, all 36 workers were released unharmed. Some analysts claimed the Government of Peru or the pipeline operator paid a US $5 million ransom, an assertion strongly refuted by both.
• On June 6, SL-VRAEM members briefly seized 18 Camisea pipeline workers from an area six kilometers away from the April kidnapping incident. SL spray-painted revolutionary slogans on the workers' helicopters, delivered a communiqué, and released the hostages unharmed.
• On August 15, SL ambushed a 32-man Peruvian army patrol in a remote part of the VRAEM near the counterterrorism base of Mazangaro. The attackers killed five soldiers and wounded six others in the deadliest single attack since 2009.
• On September 7, SL terrorists used explosives to damage an above-ground valve on the Camisea gas pipeline near Kepashiato. When a Peruvian Army helicopter approached the valve site to verify the level of damage, ground-based snipers shot and killed a soldier aboard the helicopter.
• On October 6, members of SL-VRAEM blew up three commercial helicopters subcontracted by the Camisea natural gas pipeline operator. The helicopters were located in Echarate, a district in the region of Cusco. The SL combatants delivered a communiqué stating the pipeline operators had failed to pay a "war tax."
Legislation, Law Enforcement, and Border Security: Peru’s Congress passed a bill in January banning convicted terrorists on parole from traveling abroad. President Humala continued reauthorizing 60-day states of emergency in parts of seven regions where SL operated, giving the armed forces and police additional authority to maintain public order.
Immigration authorities collected no biometric information from visitors. Citizens of neighboring countries were allowed to travel to Peru by land using national identification cards in lieu of passports. There was no visa requirement for citizens of most countries in Western, Central, and Eastern Europe and the visa requirement for Mexican nationals was abolished. Peruvian immigration used a database called “Movimiento Migratorio” at five points of entry to track entries and exits of travelers, but the database was limited to Interpol and a local database that tracks outstanding warrants. Peruvian immigration did not have access to Passenger Name Record data or a terrorist watch list.
Police detained 233 suspected terrorists during the year. Besides the February capture of “Comrade Artemio,” significant law enforcement action included:
• On July 5, security forces rescued 11 children from an SL camp in the VRAEM. The children, called "little pioneers," were allegedly being indoctrinated into the Shining Path. Eleven SL terrorists were also captured.
• On September 5, Peruvian security forces killed the second-most-senior military commander of the SL-VRAEM faction, Victor Hugo Castro Ramirez alias "Comrade William." President Humala characterized his death as a "major blow" against SL.
SL founder and leader Abimael Guzman and key accomplices remained in prison serving life sentences stemming from crimes committed in the 1980s and 1990s. About 600 people remained in prison on terrorism charges or convictions.
Peru continued to participate in the Department of State’s Antiterrorism Assistance program, which provided several courses designed to build capacity in border security, terrorism-related investigations, and the role of police leadership in counterterrorism efforts.
Countering Terrorist Finance: Peru is a member of the Financial Action Task Force of South America against Money Laundering, a Financial Action Task Force-style regional body. In October, Peru’s Congress passed law 25.475, making terrorist financing a separate crime punishable by up to 35 years in prison. The Government of Peru took several additional steps to implement the May 2011 “National Plan to Combat Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing.” This included two pieces of legislation revamping asset forfeiture and anti-money laundering laws, both containing terrorist finance components. The passage of these two legislative decrees achieved the majority of the legislative reform benchmarks set in the National Plan.
Legislative Decree 1106, “Legislation to Fight against Money Laundering and other crimes linked with Illegal Mining and Organized Crime,” empowers the Financial Intelligence Unit and the Superintendent of Banks, Insurance, and Pension Funds to freeze bank accounts in cases linked to money laundering or terrorist financing within 24 hours after a judge’s approval.
The U.S. Financial Crimes Enforcement Network continued to suspend cooperation with the FIU, because of a leak of sensitive information published by the Peruvian press in April 2011.
For further information on money laundering and financial crimes, we refer you to the 2013 International Narcotics Control Strategy Report (INCSR), Volume 2, Money Laundering and Financial Crimes: http://www.state.gov/j/inl/rls/nrcrpt/index.htm.
Regional and International Cooperation: Peru was an active member of the OAS and participated in the OAS Inter-American Committee Against Terrorism training and other events. Peru held the rotating presidency of the Union of South American Nations beginning June 29.
Countering Radicalization and Violent Extremism: Peru has a stated goal of increasing state presence in emergency zones with the hope that such presence will be a deterrent to radicalization. The official position of the National Penitentiary Institute is that prison is meant to rehabilitate and reintegrate prisoners, especially terrorists. A psychological evaluation is required of incarcerated terrorists before parole can be granted. Many observers have expressed concern that the program is ineffective and that many convicted terrorists are not rehabilitated, but instead choose to rejoin SL upon release.
In May, for the seventh consecutive year, the U.S. Department of State determined, pursuant to section 40A of the Arms Export Control Act, that Venezuela was not cooperating fully with U.S. antiterrorism efforts. The Venezuelan government took no action against senior Venezuelan government officials who have been designated as Foreign Narcotics Kingpins by the U.S. Department of the Treasury for directly supporting the narcotics and arms trafficking activities of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC).
Venezuela and Colombia continued their dialogue on security and border issues. On several occasions during the year, President Chávez said, in reference to the FARC and the Colombian group the National Liberation Army (ELN), that the Venezuelan government would not permit the presence of illegal armed groups in Venezuelan territory. Venezuela captured two FARC members during the year; one died following his capture and the other is still in Venezuelan custody.
Venezuela maintained its economic, financial, and diplomatic cooperation with Iran. Iranian President Ahmadinejad visited Venezuela in January, and following his meeting with Chávez, the leaders announced the signing of agreements in the areas of housing materials, construction, agriculture, and shipping. In June, Chávez unveiled an unarmed, unmanned-aerial vehicle that he claimed Venezuela had produced domestically with Iranian technology. The Banco Internacional de Desarrollo, a subsidiary of the Banco de Desarrollo y Exportacion de Iran, continued to operate in Venezuela despite its designation in 2008 by the U.S. Treasury Department under E.O. 13382 (“Blocking Property of Weapons of Mass Destruction Proliferators and their Supporters”).
There were credible reports that Hizballah engaged in fundraising and support activity in Venezuela.
Legislation, Law Enforcement, and Border Security: Venezuela captured two FARC members during the year; one died following his capture and the other was in Venezuelan custody at year’s end.
Countering Terrorist Finance: Venezuela is a member of the Caribbean Financial Action Task Force, a Financial Action Task Force-style regional body; the Inter-American Drug Abuse Control Commission Anti-Money Laundering Group; and the Egmont Group.
Venezuela enacted an organic law against organized crime and the financing of terrorism (Gazette No. 39.912, April 2012), as well as joint resolution 122 (Gazette No. 39.945, June 2012) and joint resolution 158 (Gazette No. 39.986, August 2012) to address deficiencies in its anti-money laundering/combating the financing of terrorism regime. The organic law criminalized terrorism in a manner consistent with international norms and extended due diligence requirements beyond banks to include securities, insurance, and other financial institutions. The organic law also obligated financial institutions to notify Venezuela’s financial intelligence unit of any transactions that might be related to terrorist acts, terrorist financing, money laundering, or organized crime, even when the funds in question come from licit sources. Joint resolution 122 and joint resolution 158 created a mechanism for implementing UNSC resolutions 1267 and 1373, respectively.
Venezuela had six terrorist finance cases pending as of September, brought under the organized crime legislation in place before the April 2012 organic law. The Venezuelan government indicted nine people on terrorism charges in these six cases. By year’s end, two of the cases were under investigation, one was in an intermediate stage, two were in trial, and one had resulted in the conviction of two people. For further information on money laundering and financial crimes, we refer you to the 2013 International Narcotics Control Strategy Report (INCSR), Volume 2, Money Laundering and Financial Crimes: http://www.state.gov/j/inl/rls/nrcrpt/index.htm.
Regional and International Cooperation: In September, Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos announced that Venezuela, along with Norway, would serve as official observers to the Colombian government’s peace negotiations with the FARC. Venezuela designated its Ambassador to the OAS, Roy Chaderton, as its emissary to the negotiations, which are being held in Oslo and Havana.