receives funding from individuals, primarily within the large Lebanese
population in the region and especially those in the tri-border area
between Brazil, Paraguay and Argentina, who support the group, providing
a large portion of its extra-state financing.
- Of note on this matter is that according to the State Department, this has been occurring since the mid 1980s. However, Iran is Hezbollah’s primary funding source, donating at least $200 million in 2008, with income from criminal enterprises in general only representing a sliver of the group's financing.
Individuals who support Hezbollah are involved with criminal networks and illicit activities.
- An important note to this point is that while the cases of individuals arrested for drug trafficking and human smuggling highlighted in the report were linked to Hezbollah, the document did not identify any of them as actual members of the group.
- Iran has increased its cultural and political presence in the hemisphere and now has 11 embassies in the region.
- Iran has been able to circumvent sanctions because of its economic partnership with a few countries in the region, most notably Venezuela. It is either economically involved or looking to become economically involved with several countries in Latin America.
Iran has strengthened ties with Venezuela, with which it is ideologically aligned. According to testimony from analyst Douglas Farah, a 2011 Univision documentary showed Hezbollah training Venezuelan troops.
- A testimony from Ambassador Roger Noriega, visiting fellow from the American Enterprise Institute, claims Hezbollah cells and Sinaloa cartel members are operating together in Venezuela, but cites unnamed sources and fails to footnote this part of the testimony.
- In 2011 Iran attempted to hire an alleged member of the Mexican Zeta cartel to assassinate the Saudi ambassador to the United States in Washington D.C. for a fee of $1.5 million. The Zeta operative turned out to be a DEA informant and the plot was foiled.