For some years now, the Iranian government has sought to develop new ties with potential allies in Latin America — aided and abetted by Venezuelan strongman Hugo Chavez — particularly with Bolivia, Ecuador, and Nicaragua. Lately, with Chavez’s health in question, Iran has sought another beachhead into Latin America by strengthening its ties to Argentina.
Alongside its anti-U.S. strategic partnerships, Argentina’s Kirchner administration has drawn sharp criticism for its financial recklessness, violation of trade agreements, and abuses of the free press. Most recently, Rep. Connie Mack (R-FL) drafted an amendment to the Foreign Relations Authorization Act for 2012 that would prohibit State Department funds from being used to benefit countries such as Argentina, Venezuela, Nicaragua, and Bolivia that thwart U.S. interests.
Where is Latin America going politically? Will Argentina be Iran’s new route into Latin America with Chavez in decline? Is it time for the United States to reconsider its relationships with nations in Latin America that pose a challenge to U.S. and hemispheric security?