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Country Reports on Terrorism 2011 - Venezuela

Publisher United States Department of State
Publication Date 31 July 2012
Cite as United States Department of State, Country Reports on Terrorism 2011 - Venezuela, 31 July 2012, available at: [accessed 24 May 2016]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.

Overview: In May, for the sixth consecutive year, the U.S. Department of State determined, pursuant to section 40A of the Arms Export Control Act, that Venezuela was not cooperating fully with U.S. antiterrorism efforts. On September 8, pursuant to the Foreign Narcotics Kingpin Designation Act, the U.S. Department of Treasury designated four senior Venezuelan officials as acting for or on behalf of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), in direct support of the group's narcotics and arms trafficking activities.

Venezuela and Colombia continued the dialogue they began in 2010 on security and border issues. On several occasions during the year, President Chavez said, in reference to the FARC and National Liberation Army (ELN), that the government would not permit the presence of illegal armed groups in Venezuelan territory. Venezuela captured and returned four lower-level FARC and ELN members to Colombia in 2011.

Venezuela maintained its economic, financial, and diplomatic cooperation with Iran as well as limited military related agreements. On May 24, the U.S. Department of State announced sanctions against Venezuela's state-owned petroleum company (PDVSA) for delivering at least two cargoes of reformate (the product of a hydrocarbon reforming process; an intermediate in the production of fuels such as gasoline) to Iran worth approximately $50 million in violation of the Iran Sanctions Act, as amended. On May 23, the U.S. Department of State re-imposed sanctions against the Venezuela Military Industries Company under the Iran, North Korea, and Syria Non-Proliferation Act because of credible information that it had transferred to or acquired from Iran, North Korea, or Syria, equipment and technology listed on multilateral export control lists. The Banco Internacional de Desarrollo C.A., a subsidiary of the Banco de Desarrollo y Exportacion de Iran, continued to operate in Venezuela despite its designation in 2008 by the U.S. Treasury Department under Executive Order 13382 ("Blocking Property of Weapons of Mass Destruction Proliferators and their Supporters").

There were credible reports that Hizballah sympathizers and supporters engaged in fundraising and support activity in Venezuela.

Legislation and Law Enforcement: In October, Venezuela installed biometric equipment to register photos and fingerprints of all those entering Margarita Island. The Venezuelan government said the equipment was intended to help authorities detect criminals or wanted suspects.

Venezuela did not respond to a second request from the Spanish government for the extradition of Arturo Cubillas Fontan, a naturalized Venezuelan citizen and employee of the Venezuelan government, who was wanted in connection with an ongoing investigation regarding alleged links between the FARC and Basque Fatherland and Liberty (ETA). The second request included the additional charge that Fontan was an ETA member and leader. Spanish security forces and Spain's judicial system continued investigations into allegations of ETA training camps in Venezuela. In January, in a joint operation with French police, the Civil Guard arrested an ETA information technology specialist who had previously traveled to Venezuela to train ETA and Colombian Revolutionary Armed Forces (FARC) members. On June 17, Inaki Dominguez Atxalandabaso was arrested in France, under a National Court arrest warrant for allegedly training FARC members in Venezuela.

Countering Terrorist Finance: Venezuela is a member of the Caribbean Financial Action Task Force, a Financial Action Task Force-style regional body; the Inter-American Drug Abuse Control Commission Anti-Money Laundering Group; and the Egmont Group. In 2011, Venezuela passed a series of counterterrorist financing regulations affecting insurance companies, securities brokerages, notaries, public registration offices, and operators of casinos, bingo halls, and slot machines. The regulations required these entities to adopt measures to assess money laundering and terrorist financing risks and to implement more rigorous controls for high-risk customers. Venezuela created a special office in the Public Ministry to prosecute money laundering, financial, and economic crimes. There is no information available regarding the enforcement of the new regulations or any prosecutions, convictions, or asset seizures related to terrorist financing. The Venezuelan Constitution prohibits the automatic freezing of assets and requires a legal process before such action can be taken.

For further information on money laundering and financial crimes, we refer you to the 2011 International Narcotics Control Strategy Report (INCSR), Volume 2, Money Laundering and Financial Crimes:

Regional and International Cooperation: Venezuela is a member of the Organization of American States. On December 2-3, Venezuela hosted the inaugural summit of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States.

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