Nicaragua: no comment on reports of Hezbollah activity

Israeli media reports of alleged Hezbollah training camps in Nicaragua are unsubstantiated but sparking concern in Managua

The Nicaragua Army is not commenting on a series of articles published today by the Israeli press alleging that Iran and Hezbollah have set up a training camp inside Nicaraguan territory.

“I don’t know those reports, or in what media that is being reported in,” Nicaragua Army spokesman lieutenant colonel Orlando Palacios told The Nicaragua Dispatch in a phone interview. “I would have to see (the reports) to give an opinion on them, but for the moment I don’t have any opinion.”

Asked if the army could categorically deny the existence of Hezbollah training camps in Nicaragua without reading the articles, Palacios repeated that the army has no comment.

“I repeat, I don’t know the articles and I can’t opine on something I haven’t read. Neither the army nor I have any opinion about this at this time,” Palacios said.

According to Israeli media reports, which are wildly unsubstantiated, Hezbollah is training terrorists in a secret location in northern Nicaragua, near the Honduran border.

“Approximately 30 members of the terrorist organization reside inside the area, which is closed to locals,” reports the Times of Israel, citing only Israel Radio as its source. “The Hezbollah men reportedly receive all their supplies from Tehran.”

Other Israeli media outlets picked up the suspicious report, citing only “local media” in Nicaragua as the source of information. In Nicaragua, however, no local media is reporting that Hezbollah has a training camp here.

U.S. Southern Command, which presumably would be very interested in any such terrorist activity in Nicaragua, also says they have no idea where such reports are coming from. Jose Ruíz, spokesman for U.S. Southern Command in Florida, says he has never heard of any Hezbollah activity in Nicaragua.

“We are aware of (Iran’s) growing diplomatic and economic presence in the region, we are not aware of a military presence,” Ruiz told The Nicaragua Dispatch. “This is definitely the first time I have heard of any Iranian presence in Nicaragua of this nature.”

Father Miguel d’Escoto ( photo/ Tim Rogers)

Miguel d’Escoto, one of President Daniel Ortega’s closest advisors on foreign policy, says the accusations made by the Israeli media amounts to “absurd craziness.”

“You smear as much as you can on the wall and some will stick,” d’Escoto, who still holds the honorary rank of foreign minister, told The Nicaragua Dispatch in a phone interview this afternoon. “It’s like Al Capone accusing someone of being a thief; that’s the amount credibility that the Zionists have.”

D’Escoto, the Sandinistas’ foreign minister in the 1980s who later served as President of the United Nations General Assembly from 2008-2009, said he doesn’t know what would motivate Israeli media to launch such an unsubstantiated accusation against Nicaragua, but says he doesn’t expect anything less from Israel or the United States.

“The only ones who train terrorists in this world— that I know of—is the United States in the first place, and in second place the Zionists,” d’Escoto said.

As unsubstantiated as the concerns about Hezbollah activity in Nicaragua may be, they are not new.

Last March, U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), Chairwoman of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, alleged that Nicaragua could be as platform by Iran and Hezbollah “to carry out attacks against our homeland.”

Those concerns, though never backed with any proof, have been repeated with increasing frequency, notes Roberto Orozco, a Nicaraguan security expert at the Managua-based Institute for Strategic Studies and Public Policy (IEEPP).

“We don’t have any information at all that this is going on,” Orozco said in response to the Israeli media reports published today. “We don’t know if this is fantasy, but we don’t have any concrete information about any such activity.”

Orozco says that since Ortega’s return to power in 2007, there have been a wide range of media rumors of Iranian and Hezbollah activity in Nicaragua published and broadcast in Costa Rica, U.S., Israel and Europe. Orozco says the concerns were further perpetuated by WikiLeaks cables that made Nicaragua seem like “the tip of the spear for Iranian activity in Central America.”

More recently, there has also been speculation about what Nicaragua is offering Iran in exchange for the Iranian government’s debt forgiveness plus a $250 million loan for unspecified “development” projects.

But so far, Iran’s presence in Nicaragua has been more rhetorical than substantive. Since 2007, the only project that has come to fruition is a $1.5 million health clinic donated by Iran. None of the other projects—including an alleged mega-embassy— even made it beyond the rumor stage.

Iranian Ambassador Akbar Esmaeil Pour—head of a three-man diplomatic mission here, which he calls “the smallest in Latin America”—describes his country’s relationship with Nicaragua as “win-win.”

“We have not come here against anybody,” Pour told me in April 2010, in his first—and, as it turns out, only—comments to western journalists. “We have come to demonstrate our collaboration and solidarity with countries such as Nicaragua.”

Other than conjecture and political fear-mongering, there is no credible evidence to back any of the claims that Iran is now up to no good here, Orozco says. IEEPP, he says, is “evaluating” the most recent Israeli media reports to “see what is behind all this.”

Nicaragua’s unwelcome press

What is apparent, Orozco says, is that Nicaragua is getting mentioned with increased frequency in foreign-language media stories related to terrorism. IEEPP, which monitors foreign media on issues related to defense and security, has noticed a recent uptick in bad press for Nicaragua.

“Nicaragua is starting to reappear in international media in respects to terrorism and international movement of terrorists—and that’s the truth,” Orozco told The Nicaragua Dispatch.

But even then, Latin American analysts in the U.S. are scratching their heads over the latest reports from Israeli media.
Latin America analyst Samuel Logan, director of the Southern Pulse research and analysis firm in the United States, notes that “Geopolitical proximity to Tehran doesn’t directly translate into leniency of Hezbollah activity inside your country.”

Hezbollah, he says, probably doesn’t have a reason to set up a training camp in Nicaragua. And Nicaragua—a country that is building a nascent economy on foreign investment and tourism, much of which comes from the U.S.—definitely doesn’t have a good reason to allow Hezbollah into the country.

“I wouldn’t put it past Ortega to make a bad call, but I don’t know if he is going to make that bad of a call to give implicit or explicit permission for Hezbollah to train in Nicaraguan territory,” Logan says.

reporting for this story sponsored by a grant from the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting.

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  • http://GemmaDesignCorporationBWW Gloria H Mallorca Von Kremer

    I never understand why America or The United States of America is so naive in Military and foreign existence of terrosims in Nicaragua nd any other Country in the World,why is it they knowingly that this Ortega Saavedra Government is a double talk/bias/and PSEUDO-DEMOCRATIC GOVERNMENT FOR THE WORLD FOR AMERICA GRABBING INVESTORSWITH MILLIONS OF DOLLARS SO THEY CAN COME INVEST IN TOURISM CAN OPEN PLACES OF BEAUTY FOR EUROPEANS AND AMERICANS ,of course they know but they are trying it to ignore it.According to Presidential Candidate in liason with Candidate Fabio Gadea explicitely explained in an interview with La Prensa and the World Press HOW Terrorists acquired Foreign NICARAGUAN PASSPORTS FOR THE Detonation of September 11 in New York,a declaration PERHAPS taken lightly by many,but the truth is that Camps of Training Terrorist Camps are also in the borders of the Venezuelan Borders and not from yesterday or a couple of months , BUT many years ago there are even photos of those camps which Former President Bush made aware to the World but many perhaps thought President Bush was exagerating they took these matters lightly,its like 25 years before 1979 Cuba was arming all of the guerillas in the Mountains ,no one believed it only the leftist knew it !Cuba came freely in front of everyone with armament and tanks and heavy artillery through Costa Rica in front of America, and all the eyes of the world there are numerous photos in History of him and then him coming directly with Ortega and the others including young Mrs Violeta Chamorro at that time.saying speech to the new Victory and Revolution !After 1979 many logistics and armamement has been transferred ,and missiles entered by same Iranians just recently and are in secreet places one of them are aligned against America in the same latitude and longitude from Nicaragua to Texas ,they hate former President Bush because he detect them !many terrorists and espionage came into the Iranian Embassies in groups of 25 every night ,and relocated all through different camps of training .When I read these type of news I found it so ridiculous or naive,that America is naive in Military Foreign Affaires knowingly by facts that they allready have all the information via satellite ,and want to confirm it !and or perhaps they are justs naive to see little Nicaragua ,becoming such a strong enemy of America.Its like I allways Isay America undermines the strategic political astute intelligence of Ortega Cuba and the Head of the Army high Rank mentioned here in this Article.Of course they will never ever tell America the truth if they did he will end in the jails of Cuba dying and his Family too !THE higher Ranking Army of Nicaragua will never tell the Press or an American Representative of a Government :you !here are the camps take photos ,they are just training to eventually cross the borders of America.of course this will neverhappen THEY are trained to be mute !!! America knows they are allready organized even inside America the Beautiful America Land of the Free . Israel will never be lying ,and or inventing such reality.Just couple of months ago another one PART OF the military intervention of IRan in Nicaragua ARRIVED !SILENTLY WHILE AMERICA IS SILENT TOO !.Sometimes I even reflect that Nicaragua will eventually become a Moslem State ,and then this will be hard on Ortega accustomed to be a Cuban Nicaraguan dual Citizenship. This Government of Ortega has brought missiles in parts from Iran and not only this but thousands of Hezbollah men are allready in the camps training just as many Nicaraguans trained in their own camps ,this love-affaire had never ended !just as they did in Lybia,in Syria and even in Germany but America did nothing They left Ortega go on and on ! He is so clever that he smiles to both fronts USA CUBA and IRAN being the last ones and the secodn one their true friends ! while when the Americans leave the scenario,Ortega starts the Speech of Marxist theme again to the Nation and the ruling of such !, and the speech of the Marxist Revolution of Revolution again to all the Nation the moment the Waiver is given by the President.and he leaves !Its all recorded at la Prensa ! This is the reasons Ambassadors and many others even Presidents must know many languages ,and be fluent in them ,like the Europeans that speak even 7 languages !as not to be taken in a naive way before the World. Its so funny that Cubans called American Intervention , Terrorist ,and Terrorist camps like those of Hezbollah are just called by Nicaraguans Visitors,and by America Terrorist when they know the truth !both know the truth !they are terrorist of Hezbollah trained in training camps allready !Until one day America see the truth and thye see theminthe borders of America !,they will then say Oh! they had advance !As in Nicaragua where Fidel ltook over in front of all the world !and then by that time they will reflect and say Oh my God we were naive in the Nicaraguans affaires,what a mistake ! ! wake up America left and right Democrats and Republicans , all have ignore it ! They say No he is not a threat he is just a funny man he poses no threat for America ! and for others seeing Fidel is just like seeing a movie star everyone is smiling but what they ignore is the threat it poses to America .One must understand that by Cuba governing thorugh Ortega Nicaragua he has overtaken the Americas ! This is where Americans are naive and if I am explaining this to the world they will say NO its not possible !!!we need evidence! evidence!,but hide yourself inside the Iranian Embassy and you will find out ! and there are so many photos allready in the same internet and in secreet places. I have nothing against Arabs as matter of fact I like their food, their discipline,specially those that do not smoke or drink ,the way they respect Allah but internationally Terrorism advances indifferent forms ….Americas has no friends maybe only England Israel the rest are just allieds,not enemies not friends allieds !!!!!!!!! Yes if your Satellite and technology goes through every region of the Nicaraguan Map you will be able to detect them tell the Pentagon to do it ,and you will find evidence.and a lot of it !America needs to be alert smart 24 hours ! Go into the the Iranian Ambassadors House you will be able to trace a lot. Iran is in every deal or maybe when you arrived all documentation will be burned or transfer !and perhaps it has help Nicaragua Economically and are good allieds with Nicaragua but check it all ! If he is a friend of leftist Nicaragua double standard Government he is not friend with America. America stands alone in the World .Search and Research you will find the evidence you want as I tell you many Iranians Military trained Terrorist have entered with special passports and slept at the same Iranian Embassy. and then have been relocated in silence so that the American Embassy is not aware of its happennings.!They have a one world war ,Nicaragau is just a step of them all !include in their plans !of course they the free world thinks and they are expecting America to take over again Nicaragua like in the times of Roosvelt but the real question is will it ever happen??????????????Do not take these words as something funny or ridiculous look at the Minister Escoto what he says, his rhetoric ,his statements are of a true Marxist ,he will allways be the same !a Marxist !One day in the future you will see Hezbollah in the borders of Mexico too ,and Canada they move swuiftly fast ,in silence,they deposit millions in Canada , New York and elsewhere for the supplies of Armament for Terrorism but you should freeze all these accounts until you find out all !This is exactly what you should do with Iran .Ortega ,Fidel ,freeze all his accounts and Rosarios accounts until you get to the bottom of it all !but in silence Their only objective is to destroy America ,the Land of the Free ! But when will America wake up????????????when????????????/If you are in doubt tell former young President Bush to give you an interview the missiles they wanted to send from Nicaragua were calculated to destroy also Bushs House You made me laugh but Nicaraguans Army do not laugh !They are astute discipline silent ,reserve is their strategy .silence !they are covering up Terrorist -Iranians They are at least one million of them allready living in Nicaraguas soil,Lybians,their families which are innocent of their wrong doing ,I suppose . and all the total amount of population of Nicaragua does not cover exactly, and only Nicaraguans but Terrorists that help in 1979 and post terrorist that are in those training camps !remeber during the War of Irak,that Nations was advancing over Kuwait, and many other Nations, when in your Radars you had allready checked the Irakis entering Kuwait at the time of the War of Kuwait even the amount of soldiers !but you did not do anything only afterward ! Iranians are highly intelligent individuals subtle they move in silence, and in disguise !!!!!!!!!!There are many individuals allready connected ,and following their instructions even inside America but America is the last one to find out !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!If Nicaragua wants to be part of the World as a civilized Nation and not like Irak taking over every Nation in the planet check it out with your radar inspect from the air you have technocly airplanes special ones that fly very low advance radars You can go to space why not Nicaragua!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!You know how clever they are that Radio Sandino was behind the Commanding Post of Esteli behind in the Mountain Central near Regions it operated as an underground Radio until the end when they all died in the War when all of the National Guard was slaughtered ! they found out oh its the Radio it was there behind us we could not detetect it they were not trained to detect! This is how clever they are !It was there for years and years !

    • truth@toyou.idiot

      I am sorry to tell you that you wrote to much just to prove that you are a poor ignorant..
      go get educated in some history..

  • truth@toyou.idiot

    Simple!!

    This allegation is just an strategic spread of alertness to study certain reactions to put together pieces of a puzzles they are either have in scope for a plan or some sort of investigation… and that does not take Einstein to figure out..

    hey if someone wants to hire me to do intelligence work for them I am available… “out of work right now cause of a prejudice Canadian”

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