Guatemala Designates Hezbollah as Terrorist Organization

Guatemala Designates Hezbollah as Terrorist Organization

By Lorena Baires/Diálogo
November 06, 2020

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The Islamic group Hezbollah is now considered a terrorist organization in Guatemala, joining Argentina, Colombia, Honduras, and Paraguay to become the fifth country in Latin America, since July of  2019,  to make this declaration in the fight against the impact and advance of transnational criminal groups in the region. Guatemalan President Alejandro Giammattei made the announcement during the presentation of a new regulatory framework to combat money laundering and terrorist financing, on October 12, 2020.

“At the Technical Security Council, we have just declared Hezbollah as a terrorist group, but not only do we need to designate it as a terrorist group, which already has a presence in Latin America, but we also need a regulatory framework that ensures that there won’t be any money for them to finance themselves from this country so as to harm other countries,” the president said at a press conference. “Consequently, its prevention and repression are justified.”

“The United States continues to call on its partners to designate Hezbollah in its entirety, and to recognize that there is no distinction between its so-called ‘military’ and ‘political’ wings,” U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a press release on October 24. “We urge all countries to take whatever action they can to prevent Hezbollah operatives, recruiters, and financiers from operating in their territories. This important step will help cut off Hezbollah’s ability to plot terrorist attacks and to raise money around the world, including in the Western Hemisphere.”

Joseph Humire, executive director at the Center for a Secure Free Society, a Washington-based nongovernmental organization that promotes peace, free enterprise, and global security, told Diálogo that the Guatemalan designation “is an important step, because Hezbollah sees communities as targets for infiltrating tools for money laundering […] in addition to its connection to transnational organized crime […], the greatest continental threat; like in Central America, where drug cartels manage many resources that are distorting their countries’ politics and corrupting the systems and institutions.”