An opinion article published today by the prestigious Israeli newspaper The Jerusalem Post formulates strong questions about the management of Mario Abdo Benítez and his government’s relationship with terrorist groups.
Source: The Nation
The columnist mentions that “during the last five years, Paraguay, under the irresponsible leadership of President Mario Abdo Benítez, has become the main center of large financial operations in support of terrorist organizations in the Middle East. Notably, in September 2018, just three weeks after Abdo Benítez became president, Paraguay moved its embassy in Israel out of Jerusalem and back to Tel Aviv. The embassy’s tenure in Jerusalem lasted only several months, making the change a particularly perplexing diplomatic decision.”
The article signed by Peter Markus Tase maintains that “Abdo Benítez, of Lebanese descent, has made sure to embolden money laundering activities in support of Hezbollah and other international terrorist groups.”
In another part of the analysis, it mentions that “the illegal trade in basic products plotted by various commercial companies is carried out by foreign citizens in the tri-border area of Ciudad del Este and other parts of the country, with strong ties to the political elite.” and superior judiciary of Asunción, thus violating the policies established by the Department of the Treasury of the United States. These activities involve the circulation of large amounts of funds in support of terrorist operations in the Middle East, directly affecting the national security of Israel, as well as that of its allies in Europe and the Caucasus.”
Abdo, his vice, Federico González and relatives
In addition to mentioning the Minister of the Court Antonio Fretes and the data of his supposed collaboration in the case of Kassem Mohamad Hijazi, a Brazilian citizen of Lebanese origin, the commentator points directly to the Minister of the Interior of Abdo, Federico Alberto González Franco, about whom he mentions that it “took special care to remove all criminal records of the Hijazi clan from the classified database of the IT Department of the Paraguayan National Police.”
Recall then that Hijazi allegedly agreed to launder drug proceeds and for years operated an illegal money transfer business, the proceeds of which were further laundered to and from the US. And he points out that between 2018 and 2020, Hijazi orchestrated a money laundering operation that benefited terrorist organizations that have constantly threatened Israel.
Hijazi’s sister and Abdo’s brother
The review explains that “Hijazi’s penetration into the highest levels of the Paraguayan government is also illustrated by the unbridled bravery of his sister, Dr. Najat Ali Hijazi” who notes that she traveled with a doctor brother of Abdo Benítez to a Congress of the European Society of Rheumatology in September 2022, in the Czech Republic.
Vice President and Emtrasur
After mentioning that “the high levels of corruption in this remote and underdeveloped nation translate into direct security concerns in the Middle East. Paraguay, a failed state in South America, is largely allowing terrorist organizations to obtain logistical and financial resources that are undoubtedly an unquestionable threat to Israel’s national security and integrity.”
The analysis published by The Jerusalem Post adds that the Vice President of the Government, Hugo Velázquez, held meetings with the crew of the Venezuelan freighter Emtrasur.
“The Venezuelan Emtrasur Boeing cargo plane, with connections in Iran, landed in Ciudad del Este twice in 2022, another problematic pattern that should sound an alarm among Israel’s security establishment. The cargo plane was flown by a crew of seven Iranians and 11 Venezuelans. His reasons for disembarking and spending a few days in Paraguay are unknown; However, it has been confirmed by local news reports that Vice President Hugo Adalberto Velázquez Moreno held a meeting with the Iranian Emtrasur crew,” he says verbatim.
Finally, the analyst warns Israeli leader Benjamin Netanyahu that “he should use more resources in the areas of human intelligence and signals intelligence, with a special focus on criminal networks in South America that support terrorist operations, groups that attack both the territory of Israel and its national interests abroad.”
Let us remember that an immediate action following Mario Abdo Benítez’s seizure of power was the withdrawal of the Paraguayan embassy from Jerusalem, a fact that, according to various sources, was directly related to his interest in launching a message of alliance with the Islamic world.