January 17, 2020

Paraguay Designates Hezbollah, Hamas As Terror Groups

People watch Lebanon's Hezbollah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah as he appears on a screen during a live broadcast on May 25. Photo by Hassan Abdallah/Reuters

Paraguay announced on Aug. 19 that they have designated Hamas and Hezbollah as international terror groups becoming the second Latin American country since July to do so.

Paraguayan President Mario Abdo Benitez issued the designation on Aug. 9. Israeli Foreign Minister Israel Katz praised the move in a tweet.

This decision contributes to the global battle against these Iranian proxies,” Katz wrote.We will continue working to get more countries to designate these orgs as terrorist orgs.”

American Jewish Committee CEO David Harris tweeted that Paraguay’s move is “important” because it “ups pressure on Hezbollah” in the area and “highlights weakness of [the European Union] only listing Hezbollah’s ‘military’ wing.”

Foundation for the Defense of Democracies Senior Fellow Emanuele Ottolenghi noted that Hezbollah “built extensive infrastructure in the Tri-Border Area (TBA) of Argentina, Brazil, and Paraguay” because all three have “weak border controls and well-established smuggling routes have contributed to a thriving illicit economy.”

He also pointed out that Argentina designated Hezbollah’s military wing a terror group in July, citing “Hezbollah’s responsibility for terror attacks against an Israeli embassy and a Jewish community center on Argentinian soil in 1992 and 1994, respectively.” Ottolenghi argued that Brazil should follow suit “because Hezbollah’s TBA operations rely heavily on Brazil’s financial system to move money in and out of the area.”

However, the Jerusalem Post notes that in order for Brazil to designate Hezbollah as a terror organization, they will have come up with a broader definition of terrorism and risk their trade relations with Iran, which funds both Hezbollah and Hamas.

For more on Hezbollah, read the Journal’s coverage on the terror group here.