Iran's Strategic Penetration of Latin America

By da Cruz, Jose de Arimateia | Parameters, Spring 2016 | Go to article overview

Iran's Strategic Penetration of Latin America


da Cruz, Jose de Arimateia, Parameters


Iran's Strategic Penetration of Latin America

Edited by Joseph M. Humire and Ilan Berman

Lanham, MD: Lexington

Books, 2014

142 pages

$75.00

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

Iran's influence in Latin America and its national security implications have finally caught the attention of US policy makers in Washington. This greater interaction would go unnoticed were it not for the partnerships established between Iran and some of the Latin American countries. Ahmadinejad's political goal was to establish a policy toward Latin America that was anti-American. As he has publicly stated, "Tehran is pursuing a strategy that promotes its own ideology and influence in Latin America at Washington's expense." This foreign policy posture creates what the late Hugo Chavez referred to as "the axis of unity" foreign policy against the United States' "imperialist" foreign policy. In one of Ahmadinejad's many trips to Latin America in 2009, Chavez referred to him as a "gladiator of anti-imperialist struggles." In Iran's Strategic 'Penetration of Patin America, Joseph M. Humire and Ilan Berman call our attention to what they consider to be the most complex security challenge in the Western Hemisphere today, which is how deeply the Islamic Republic of Iran has penetrated the internal affairs of Latin America and what it means from a foreign policy perspective to the United States.

The book is divided into fourteen chapters, each addressing Iran's relations with a specific country in Latin America. Within the book the authors focus on the organization known as the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America (ALBA) founded by the late Hugo Chavez. Humire and Berman argue Iran's expansion into areas not traditionally associated with its sphere of influence requires a global response since it represents an imminent threat to the rest of the world. America should play particular attention to Iran's expanding influence since most of Iran's diplomatic meddling is taking place in the US's backyard.

Iran's Latin American partners are part of the so-called "pink tide" that came to power between the years of 1998 and 2009. The "pink tide" nations are united by their strong contempt of Washington's policies and anti-American sentiment. Despite the fact that the "pink tide" did not have a clear-cut ideology, they were united in opposition to the Washington Consensus, a laundry list of demands imposed by the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and its economic policy toward the region. An alliance between the "pink tide" nations of Latin American and Iran represents an alternative to the United States and its intrusive foreign policy dictates. The book highlights how Venezuela, Ecuador, Bolivia, Nicaragua, Cuba, and Colombia have become pawns in the Iranian chess game in its attempt to find an alternative to its economic and diplomatic isolation imposed by the United States resulting from the passage of the Countering Iran in the Western Hemisphere Act of 2012. Berman argues in the chapter "What Iran Wants in the Americas," Iran's goal in Latin America is to build support in the Americas for its diplomatic isolation as a rogue nation by establishing a presence in Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Cuba, Ecuador, Mexico, Nicaragua, Uruguay, and Venezuela. …

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