June 6 2014 image description
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Report: Venezuela, Cuba Providing Easy Access For Islamists to US and Canada

The study warns that both countries “offer Islamist extremists facilities that pose a threat to security in North America,” according to Argentine news outlet Infobae. The Venezuelan government, in particular, provided at least 173 passports, visas, and permits to migrants from the Middle East between April 2008 and November 2012. It was during this wave that Suleiman Ghani Abdul Waked, known as a right-hand man to Hassan Nasrallah, head of Hezbollah, received his Venezuelan papers.

The paper notes that the relative ease with which migrants moving West into Latin America can receive credentials is a cause for alarm for the United States and Canada. While Canada ended its diplomatic ties with Iran and closed down the embassies of respective countries, Latin America was the largest prior embarkation region for Iranian migrants without the proper paperwork to receive refugee status in Canada between 2009 and 2011. From Latin America, they then moved north into Canada. Caracas, the capital of Venezuela, was among the most trafficked migrant intermediate points from the Middle East.


June 4 2014 image description
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Canada On Guard: Assessing the Immigration Security Threat of Iran, Venezuela and Cuba

SFS Policy report No. 1, Canada On Guard: Assessing the Immigration Security Threat of Iran, Venezuela and Cuba, delves into an emerging threat to North American immigration security building on a theme discussed on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on October 2012 and at the Albany Club, Toronto on November 2013 as part of our annual Future of North America Forum.

The report is co-authored by SFS Executive Director Joseph M. Humire, Senior Fellow Fernando D. Menéndez and ISEA’s Managing Director Victoria L. Henderson, and uses several fact-finding trips to Latin America and two declassified Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) intelligence reports to provide specific data on Iran’s exploitation of cracks in Canada’s immigration system. The report also examines Venezuela’s role as a “bridge” for Iranian covert access to Canada, reviews the use of cultural exchange and other soft power strategies to win support for state sponsors of terrorism, and presents preliminary policy recommendations for strengthening Canada’s immigration and national security system.

Download the Full Report (PDF)