Brazil will declare Iranian proxy group Hezbollah a terrorist organization “soon,” Brazilian federal deputy Eduardo Bolsonaro told Al Arabiya English.
The move by Brazil follows Argentina’s decision to designate Hezbollah a terrorist organization in July 2019, following in the footsteps of the United States, the Arab League, the European Union, Canada, the United Kingdom, and several other countries.
“Inside the government, we are debating about the ways to stop terrorist groups from coming to Brazil. Argentina recognized [Hezbollah] because they had two terrorist attacks in ‘92 and ‘94,” the son of Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro said.
#Brazil will declare Iranian proxy group #Hezbollah a terrorist organization “soon,” Brazilian Federal Deputy for São Paulo Eduardo Bolsonaro @BolsonaroSP tells Al Arabiya English.https://t.co/O2I8EWEVzD pic.twitter.com/VtzSSP8zZZ— Al Arabiya English (@AlArabiya_Eng) February 29, 2020
“I can tell you that soon we are going to do the same, we are going to follow Argentina, declaring that Hezbollah is a terrorist group.”
Brazil is also considering a harsher stance on militant group Hamas, al-Qaeda, and Boko Haram, Bolsonaro said.
Hezbollah has a number of active cells in South America, including several in Venezuela.
The group also has close ties to President Nicolas Maduro, the Venezuelan opposition ambassador to the UK revealed in an exclusive interview with Al Arabiya English in 2019.
Venezuela’s relationship with Hezbollah and its backer Iran “comes straight from the top,” according to Vanessa Neumann.
“Nicolas Maduro has direct relations with Hezbollah. Maduro’s foreign minister Jorge Arreaza visits Hassan Nasrallah directly,” said Neumann.
In the western region of Venezuela, the group has for decades led a drug trafficking organization, Neumann added.