Overview: In May, for the tenth 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.
The International Development Bank, a subsidiary of the Development and Export Bank of Iran, continued to operate in Venezuela despite its designation in 2008 by the U.S. Treasury Department under E.O. 13382 ("Blocking Property of Weapons of Mass Destruction Proliferators and their Supporters").
There were credible reports that Venezuela maintained a permissive environment that allowed for support of activities that benefited known terrorist groups. Individuals linked to the FARC, National Liberation Army, and Basque Fatherland and Liberty (ETA) were present in Venezuela, as well as Hizballah supporters and sympathizers.
Legislation, Law Enforcement, and Border Security: The Venezuelan criminal code and additional Venezuelan laws explicitly criminalize terrorism and dictate procedures for prosecuting individuals engaged in terrorist activity. The government routinely levies accusations of "terrorism" against its political opponents. Following a wave of anti-government protests early in 2014, the Venezuelan government introduced a series of counterterrorism laws likely intended to suppress future public demonstrations.
Venezuelan military and civilian agencies perform counterterrorism functions. Within the Venezuelan armed forces, the General Directorate of Military Counterintelligence and the Command Actions Group of the National Guard have primary counterterrorism duty. The Bolivarian National Intelligence Service and the Division of Counterterrorism Investigations in the Bureau of Scientific, Penal, and Criminal Investigative Corps within the Ministry of Interior, Justice, and Peace have primary civilian counterterrorism responsibilities. The degree of interagency cooperation and information sharing among agencies is unknown due to a lack of government transparency.
Border security at ports of entry is vulnerable and susceptible to corruption. The Venezuelan government routinely did not perform biographic or biometric screening at ports of entry or exit. There was no automated system to collect advance Passenger Name Records on commercial flights or to cross-check flight manifests with passenger disembarkation data.
In August, Venezuelan authorities closed multiple border crossings between Colombia and the western states of Tachira and Zulia as part of the "states of exception" declaration seeking to curb smuggling and paramilitary activity in the border region.
Venezuela did not respond to a request from the Spanish government to extradite former ETA member José Ignacio de Juana Chaos, wanted in Spain since 2010 for the alleged killing of 25 people in acts of terrorism.
Countering the Financing of Terrorism: Venezuela is a member of the Caribbean Financial Action Task Force (CFATF), a Financial Action Task Force (FATF)-style regional body, and the Inter-American Drug Abuse Control Commission Anti-Money Laundering Group. Its financial intelligence unit, Unidad Nacional de Inteligencia Financiera, is a member of the Egmont Group. In 2014, the CFATF determined that Venezuela had made sufficient progress on the recommendations in Venezuela's FATF action plan to warrant moving the country from the standard follow-up process once every six months to periodic review once every two years. CFATF noted Venezuela still needed to improve its compliance with several recommendations as well as its implementation of various anti-money laundering/ counterterrorism financing (AML/CFT) laws and regulations. Venezuela's existing AML/CFT legal and regulatory framework criminalizes the financing of terrorism. There was no publicly available information regarding the confiscation of terrorist assets. For further information on money laundering and financial crimes, see the 2016 International Narcotics Control Strategy Report (INCSR), Volume II, Money Laundering and Financial Crimes: http://www.state.gov/j/inl/rls/nrcrpt/index.htm.
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