U.S. Treasury Designates Two Venezuelan Men as Hezbollah Supporters
Posted: June 24, 2008
The U.S. Treasury has designated two Venezuelans as Specially Designated Global Terrorists (SDGTs) for allegedly supporting Hezbollah.
The Lebanese born men – Ghazi Nasr al Din and Fawzi Kan'an – were designated on June 18, 2008. Any assets they may have in the U.S. will be frozen and it is forbidden for Americans to do business with them as a result of the designation.
Nasr al Din, 45, a former diplomat at the Venezuelan Embassy in Syria, currently serves as the Director of Political Aspects at the Venezuelan Embassy in Lebanon. He has used his position as an ambassador to provide Hezbollah donors with information on bank accounts where deposits would go directly to Hezbollah, according to the U.S. Treasury Department. Nasr al Din has met with senior Hezbollah officials in Lebanon and has also facilitated the travel of Hezbollah members to and from Venezuela. In January 2006, Nasr al Din brought Hezbollah representatives to the Lebanese Parliament to Venezuela to solicit donations for the terrorist group and announce the opening of a Hezbollah-sponsored community center and office in Venezuela.
Kan'an, 65, has allegedly sent money that was raised in Venezuela to Hezbollah officials in Lebanon. He has also met with senior Hezbollah officials in Lebanon to discuss operational issues, including possible kidnappings and terrorist attacks, according to the U.S. Treasury Department. In addition, Kan'an traveled with other Hezbollah members to Iran for training. Kan’an has denied accusations that he funds Hezbollah.
The U.S. Treasury Department also designated two Venezuelan-based travel agencies, owned and controlled by Kan’an. The organizations – Biblos Travel Agency and Hilal Travel Agency – have allegedly been used to courier funds to Lebanon.
A group called Hezbollah Latin America, based in Venezuela, has a Web site offering its full ideological support to Hezbollah in Lebanon, although they claim not be directly affiliated or financed by their Lebanese counterparts. The group has called for a “jihad in Latin America” against Israeli and U.S. institutions. The leader of the group, Teordoro Darnott, was jailed in October 2006 after a failed attempt by his group to detonate low grade bombs near the American Embassy in Caracas.
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez and Venezuela's foreign minister Nicolas Maduro both rejected the U.S. government’s accusations that a Venezuelan diplomat and others helped finance Hezbollah.