Paraguay designates Hezbollah, Hamas terror orgs. as Brazil considers similar move

Des partisans du Hezbollah devant un écran géant retransmettant un discours du chef du mouvement chiite libanais Hassan Nasrallah, le 20 septembre 2018

i24NEWS August 19, 2019, 11:38 AM – latest revision August 19, 2019, 03:11 PM

The designation, however, may face a number of complex hurdles before coming policy

The government of Paraguay announced on Monday that it has designated Hezbollah and Hamas as terror organizations. 

Israeli Foreign Minister Israel Katz praised President Mario Abdo Benítez’s administration for what he described as the «struggle against Iranian-sponsored» terrorism. 

“This decision contributes to the international struggle against Iranian-sponsored Hamas and Hezbollah terror,” Katz said.

“I call on other states to join Paraguay and recognize these groups as terrorist organizations. We will continue to work everywhere to see that these organizations are recognized as terrorist groups. The entire world must unite to fight against the terror that Iran and its proxies are spreading.»

Meanwhile, Bloomberg news reported Monday that Brazil is currently in talks over a similar move that would see the terror designating slapped on the Lebanese militant organization Hezbollah.

Senior officials in Brazilia are looking to advance the idea but reportedly lack across the board support for such a move following concerns over the government’s relationship with Iran, a direct patron of the Shi’ite paramilitary outfit. 

Tehran currently imports $2.5 billion of Brazilian products a year, which could be significantly impacted if the designation is implemented. Brazilian law also presents numerous difficulties, including not having a standardize definition of terrorism. 

“Brazil’s legal definition of terrorism is narrow; foreign and national concepts on this topic tend to clash,” legal scholar and expert in anti-terror Brazilian laws Rogerio Sanches Cunha told Bloomberg.

“There can be serious consequences, for example creating friction with Iran and other countries with a relevant number of Shiites, such as Lebanon,” he added. 

Brazil considers as terrorists only those groups already labeled as such by the UN Security Council, including al-Qaeda and the Islamic State, according to Bloomberg. 

Brazilian President Jair Bolsanaro is said to be in favor of the designation as he seeks to align his foreign policy goals with the United States and build stronger ties with the Trump administration.

Paraguay joins Argentina as the only Latin American countries to have designated Hezbollah a terrorist organization, with the latter blaming them for the bombing of a Jewish community center that killed 85 people in 1994.